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Thursday, 03. December 2020

Communication from the Secretary General 23.03.2020

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A communication from the Secretary General of the European Schools, Mr. Marcheggiano, with 2 accompanying documents.

It is now one week that it was decided to suspend the obligatory regular attendance of pupils (Article 30 of the General Rules of the European Schools – Ref. 2014-03-D-14) and to suspend lessons in situ in all European Schools starting as from 16 March 2020. The European Schools in Varese and Munich had been forced to apply the same measures even as of 24 February and 9 March 2020 respectively.

We are aware that this decision has a major impact on the schools, namely our pupils, you as their parents and also on our teaching staff.

With this message we would like to inform you which measures the Office of the Secretary- General has taken and will take to support the schools in their efforts to go on providing teaching and learning under these particular circumstances.

Moreover, we would like to address questions you may have with respect to the pedagogical continuity in the coming weeks.

Recommendations on distance learning

On 12 March the Pedagogical Development Unit produced and disseminated among schools a set of recommendations on distance learning (Document 2020-03-D-11-en-2 – “Distance learning recommendations for course continuity during temporary suspension of obligatory regular attendance of pupils at school”).

This document contains recommendations that are mainly proposed to the management, subject and ICT coordinators of the European Schools in order to ensure pedagogical continuity during a temporary suspension of obligatory regular attendance of pupils. We suggested that these recommendations should be adapted to the specific context and

needs, making it possible for schools and teachers to develop their own strategies. This document is dynamic and will be updated whenever necessary.

Recommendations to Parents on how to Support Learning at Home during suspension of obligatory regular attendance of pupils’

The present recommendations (2020-03-D-21-en) are intended to help you, the parents, but can also convey useful information to teachers to take into consideration when planning their teaching and learning activities. The specific context of the schools and the particular classes and pupils should be considered, therefore, if needed, these recommendations could be adapted to the concrete situation.

This is a dynamic document to be regularly updated, based on the experiences and different forms of feedback during the coming period.

“Helpdesk” and networks organised by the PDU

In order to facilitate business continuity in the pedagogical area, the Pedagogical Development Unit grants support for schools in case guidance is needed to launch the new set-up for distance learning. We are ready to answer questions from the schools. If needed, we consult the members of the Digital Learning and Teaching team, a network of experienced and dedicated teachers and coordinators, operating under the auspices of the IT-PEDA Working Group.

Collecting feedback and sharing good practices

Most of the schools have launched or are in the process of launching surveys to different stakeholders (teaching staff and/or parents and/or pupils) to get a feedback where the schools could improve the remote teaching and learning. We will analyse this feedback on system level in order to learn from each other and to get better where necessary.

Educational Support

A particular emphasis will have to be given to Educational Support as pupils with particular educational needs might need even more tailor made support under the current circumstances.

As already stated, we are aware that the system may have to take decisions on the pedagogical continuity and in particular concerning the BAC session June 2020 in near future. Currently, we are analysing the different scenarios and the different measures to be taken linked to those scenarios.

Therefore, proposals will be prepared for the Meeting of the Board of Governors at the beginning of April 2020. In parallel we will closely follow via our national inspectors the approach in the different EU Member States in order to ensure that we align potential

decisions of the Board of Governors with the approach envisaged by the different Member States with respect to their national Baccalaureate examinations. This will ensure that our students will not face a dis-favourable treatment in comparison to the majority of pupils in the Member States systems.

For the time being, we continue preparing the BAC session as foreseen in the General Rules and the Arrangements, and within the agreed calendar. But we are aware that we need to be prepared for a different scenario.

We are aware that the current situation is a particular situation of distress and we would like to ensure you that the schools and the Office of the Secretary-General are doing their utmost to support you and your children in this challenging time.

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Aim of the European Schools

Educated side by side, untroubled from infancy by divisive prejudices, acquainted with all that is great and good in the different cultures, it will be borne in upon them as they mature that they belong together. Without ceasing to look to their own lands with love and pride, they will become in mind Europeans, schooled and ready to complete and consolidate the work of their fathers before them, to bring into being a united and thriving Europe.

Marcel Decombis, Head of European School, Luxembourg between 1953 and 1960