28 September, 15 October, 23 October, 11 December: Central Enrolment Authority
The CEA includes: directors and parent representatives from the four schools; staff committee and future parents reps; representatives of the Commission and Belgian government; the Secretary General; and members of the European Schools enrolment unit. The results of last year’s policy were analysed at the 28 September meeting. Over the month of October the CEA worked to produce Enrolment Guidelines to be approved by the Board of Governors and used as the basis for the Enrolment Policy 2019-2020. The guidelines are set in the context of a significant number of children attending the European schools in Brussels, up from approximately 10000 in 2012 to approximately 13000 this year. The number of pupils in the French sections is growing in particular. With all four schools operating at or above capacity, the only Brussels site with space remains Berkendael.
Thus, next year’s policy (like this year’s) envisages a further increase of student numbers at Berkendael. Parent representatives were concerned that Berkendael would not be left with enough spare capacity to accommodate classes already in place as they move up to P5. There were also concerns that the Berkendael infrastructure is not yet prepared for a full capacity of 1000 students, with one building still in need of extensive renovations. Thus several safeguards were put in place to limit the creation of new classes at Berkendael to those opening in the levels below the existing satellite classes. The school can currently accommodate M1-P5 classes for FR, LV and SK-though several of these will not be filled and M1-P4 in DE, M1-P1 in EL, EN and IT, and M1-M2 in ES. Other classes may still be opened up, but it is not expected. Berkendael P5 pupils and their siblings will retain priority transfer rights over new students to a school of their choice. In 2018, every transfer applicant from Berkendael received his/her first choice; this is not likely to continue in the longer term.
The class structure at Uccle will remain largely the same, though there is an increase in PL class groups moving up and a decrease in EN class groups. There are 3 FR classes for most primary levels and 4 FR classes for most secondary levels. Nursery classes have been limited again to one class per section with the exception of the FR section. All primary classes have been given a threshold of 20 students, over which only priority candidates will be let in. This is a mechanism used to control the Uccle population and send new families to Berkendael.
After a review of the pilot voluntary “transfer bourse” that was trialled last year, members of the CEA decided that funds would be better spent elsewhere. They have requested instead that a more sophisticated ICT platform be developed through which the entire enrolment process can be mechanised and streamlined and families better matched with their choices. The project for an updated system is being considered dating app in Washington.
The application calendar has again been moved forward with more families being obliged to apply not only in the first phase but also earlier in the second phase. Late applications and non-accepted places have led in recent years to considerable chaos during the opening weeks of school, particularly affecting secondary timetables.
4 October: APEEE Board Meeting
Agenda items discussed: proposal for financial procedure to award funding on school projects; proposal for modifications to the APEEE statutes to include Berkendael and SWALS; proposal to increase the proportion of representation from the French section; funding requests for S7 student trip to Cuba and teacher appreciation drinks; preliminary financial results of school fete; data protection update from APEEE Services.