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09/10/2015 | EUROPEAN SCHOOLS: REGROUPING OF SIBLINGS

European schools

WE HAVE WON HALF THE BATTLE, BUT THE FIGHT GOES ON!

Dear colleagues,

We have taken a first step towards the reestablishment of the principle of regrouping siblings within the European Schools. By its decisions adopted at the end of August (only decision 15/23 has been published to date), the European Schools’ Complaints Board upheld the appeals introduced by parents (some with the FFPE’s support).

The 2015-2016 enrolment policy for the Brussels schools provided for the regrouping of siblings only when they were in the same school cycle (i.e., nursery/primary or secondary). As a result, having a brother or sister in secondary school was not taken into account when examining requests for enrolments in nursery or primary classes.

The Complaints Board judged that the new rule was an undue restriction to the established principle of the regrouping of siblings and that its consequences were disproportionate compared to the stated aims. It therefore declared it illegal.

It consequently annulled the contested enrolment decisions and instructed the central enrolment authority to examine the requests again without taking account of the illegal rule. That resulted in the young children concerned being enrolled in the same schools as their elder brothers or sisters.

That is wonderful news, but in the short term it is only of benefit to the small number of families who appealed. We will therefore need to keep up the pressure if we want the principle to apply to all families concerned next year.

If you haven’t yet done so we encourage you to support those efforts by signing the petition launched before the summer holidays: https://15968.lapetition.be. The petition remains relevant despite the Complaint Board’s positive decisions.

The European Schools’ Governing Board will have to take account of the Complaint Board’s decisions when adopting the enrolment policy for the 2016-2017 school year. Nevertheless, it could be tempted to try to place limits on the regrouping of siblings again, using the opening of a fifth European School in Brussels next year (initially on the provisional Berkendael site) as a pretext.

Let’s not forget that each time that a new school has been opened restrictions have been placed on parents’ choices so as to fill it. The opening of a fifth school to address the overcrowding in the existing schools is marvellous news, but it in no way justifies an exception to the principle of the regrouping of siblings.

We will therefore need to remain vigilant if we wish to ensure that the enrolment policy for future years respects the Complaints Board’s decisions and allows the regrouping of all siblings.

FFPE-Commission

FFPE-Council

FFPE-E.P.

FFPE-EESC-CoR

FFPE-EEAS

Signed

Signed

Signed

Signed

Signed

Pierre-Ph. Bacri

S. Coates

G. Marcopoulos

A. Kutasi

J. Lux

FFPE
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