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Friday, 23. October 2020

European Schools: Regrouping of Siblings

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We have taken a first step towards the re-establishment 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.

The 2015-2016 enrollment 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 (URL disabled since petition is no longer available). 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.

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.

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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