In 1953, when a European Union was not even dreamed of, a number of parents set themselves up to create educational establishments where children of different European backgrounds could be taught side by side in their respective mother tongues, learning from each other while broadening their horizons. This experiment was subsequently taken up by the European Commission and its institutions. There are now several EU schools across Europe based on this concept. Uniquely, European Schools offer a common Baccalaureate which gives access to all higher education institutions in the Union.
Our strategic outlook
We first set ourselves up as a group of stakeholders in order to support and pursue those activities that the Parents Association (CESPA) was unable to follow through because of their constitution and their focus, which is predominantly on day to day matters related to the good running of the now closed Culham European School.
Our initial aim was to support the establishment of schools in England and Wales offering multilingual European education, similar in concept to current fully accredited European Schools. The last school of its kind in England, in Culham (Oxfordshire) closed in 2017 and ETEE was instrumental in drafting an initial development plan for a future school that led to the inception of a new charitable company, called CLASS headed by a former Patron, Lord Jay of Ewelme. This new charitable trust (independent from ETEE) attempted to create a "European Languages and Science Academy" by transforming the current school. However, their plans failed and this task was taken up by another group, leading to the opening of a new Free School in September 2012.
The new Free School, called Europa School UK, has succesfully started with an intake of primary children, teaching for now French and Germany (in addition of course to English) and has achieved high accolades in recent inspections. Our main concern as a Trust for multilingual European Education is that the availability of other European languages remains a priority in the new school, as well as any other schools of this kind that may open in the interim.
Our role as facilitators and mediators encompasses all the recently formed type 2 and 3 European Schools (Associate European Schools) and we have been instrumental in the setting up of a recently formed network of these schools, as well as contributing to the mapping out of the new vision of European Schools. We will continue to suppor the activities of the AES group and monitor their activities closely.
It is important to understand that the concept of European Schools predates the creation of the European Union, stemming from a practical concern from parents across a number of European countries to provide the means to enable an easier transfer of pedagogical experiences when children were travelling from one country to another. Its conceptual roots are strongly predicated on cultural and educational values, not political ones. The subsequent adoption of the model by the then EC created opportunities, as well as challenges but the concept at the heart of their mission remains to these days sound and therefore bears little or no relation with the direction of travel of each of the countries that make up the geographical entity we refer to as Europe.
The Objectives of the ETEE
Excerpt from the Trust's Deeds of Incorporation:
"The objects of the Trust are to advance education for the public benefit in multilingual education a) by supporting the establishment and development of schools and curricular programmes in England that will advance such education; b) by advancing the education of persons working in schools or any other institutions or services, or working otherwise in the field of education, to advance multilingual education; c) by promoting good practice in the training and education of teachers for multilingual education; d) by disseminating information and recommendations on good practice in the above field."