Report of the Secretary-General to the Board of Governors of the European Schools for the year 2014
Presented to the Board of Governors of the European Schools at its meeting of 15, 16 and 17 April 2015, in Prague
The most important achievement of the year was the historic agreement on Cost Sharing reached amongst all the members of the Board of Governors in June 2014. A compromise solution was finally found after several years of negotiation. At the same time the procedures for creating, discontinuing and replacing seconded staff members’ posts were revised.
Comprehensive revision of the Financial Regulation in December 2014 was another milestone achievement. The ‘Financial Regulation’ Working Group took on board the recommendations of the Internal Audit Service (IAS) and the Court of Auditors which were still outstanding. The new Financial Regulation entered in force on 1 January 2015.
The change to the Financial Regulation was accompanied by a change to the accountancy software. For the management teams and accounts departments the year 2014 was extremely difficult, as a result of the very ambitious project to implement the new SAP software within a very short timeframe. Thanks to the extraordinary commitment of the SAP teams, the objective was achieved and GO LIVE took place on 1 January 2015 – albeit not entirely without complications.
The total pupil population increased by 838 pupils (3%) in 2014. This growth in pupil numbers was due to a 5% (946 pupils) increase in the Category I pupil population. This in turn gave rise to two major infrastructure difficulties. As a result of the creation of the Single Supervisory Mechanism in Frankfurt, the pupil population increased significantly in a very short period. The Frankfurt School was therefore obliged to organise schooling for nursery pupils in Parents’ Association temporary prefabs. The German delegation took a decision to extend the school and whilst awaiting the extension, the German delegation and the European Central Bank agreed on the temporary infrastructure arrangement.
The second complicated situation arose in Brussels, where the entire nursery and primary infrastructure of the four schools is bursting at the seams, resulting in severe overcrowding. The annual population growth is between 400 and 500 additional pupils. The Board of Governors failed, in December 2014, to reach agreement on the creation of a new nursery and primary school on the Berkendael site. The negotiations with the Belgian authorities concerning the future infrastructure are going well.
The number of European Baccalaureate students grew by 16% in 2014. The increase is attributable to general growth in the pupil population and to the fact that there are more and more Accredited European Schools with Baccalaureate level students. The students of the Accredited European School of Strasbourg were awarded their first Baccalaureate certificates in summer 2014.
In August 2014 H.K.H. Princess Marie inaugurated the Accredited European School in Copenhagen and Europa School UK started officially as an Accredited European School in Culham, Oxfordshire. In addition, the secondary cycle of the Accredited Europese School Den Haag was opened and some months later the new building complex for Europäische Schule RheinMain was inaugurated, a cause for great celebration.
In the pedagogical area a great deal of syllabus development work was done. On the basis of the new assessment policy, the new primary school reports were approved and implemented. The proposals for a new marking/grading scale in the secondary cycle were discussed by several boards and committees.
A lively discussion about the future organisation of secondary studies took place throughout the school year. The Board of Governors’ decisions pertaining to changes to secondary years 1-3 entered into force on 1 September 2014.
As regards the proposals pertaining to secondary years 4-7, a request for an external evaluation conducted by a university centre was made by the ‘Reorganisation of secondary studies’ Working Group. The contract was awarded to the Institute of Education, University College London.
This report also contains information about the action taken on the recommendations made in the internal audit report
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