Feedback from Luxembourg 1 Admin Board attended by APEEEL1 President Helen Valentine and VP Admin and Finance Greg Acha.
The Admin board was chaired for the first time by Andreas Beckmann in his new role as Secretary General for the European Schools.
The Secretary General gave an oral update in which he confirmed that the European school network continues to expand with new accredited schools being opened this September in Mersch and in Saarbrücken.
The Secretary General gave a summary of the taskforce guidelines sent to each school from Central Office and confirmed that each school must see what guidelines are most relevant for their school, especially as the pandemic has had a variable impact on the students. He made reference to the intent of the school system to run the 2022 BAC as normal. He also discussed the whole school survey launched to collect feedback from pupils, parents and teachers.
The Director presented a detailed and comprehensive report to the Admin board which contained some key statistics for our school, an update on the pandemic and expressed the hope that this school year will achieve a certain normality compared with previous 2 academic years. Regarding the taskforce recommendations, he confirmed that the school were taking these very seriously and this had been presented to teachers during the preparatory day ahead of the start of the new academic year. There will be a follow up during the pedagogical day on Monday 4th October. The details of this report will be shared with the School Advisory Board when it meets on 25th October.
The director confirmed that a new temporary psychologist had been employed to support the two current psychologists and was qualified to work across both primary and secondary ages.
FAMES was due to be hosted by Luxembourg in 2020 is now tentatively scheduled for 2023. The proposed school calendar for 2022/23 has been aligned with Lux II but central office will aim to consult with European Parliament and have the final approval by written procedure.
Regarding school infrastructure: the Deputy Director for Finance and Administration noted that due to the age of the school that there was some infrastructure work that will be needed. There is an ongoing project to look at options for temporary booths for the primary school, as well as canteen and primary sports infrastructure.
Parent questions and responses:
- What is the status of the implementation of the taskforce guidelines
Broadly the guidelines have been welcomed as many are in line with the school’s own initiatives. Regarding the secondary pastoral care guidelines, there is an established counselling team which perhaps should be advertised more. Parents have been informed about a new Catholic church chaplaincy pastoral care initiative which is open to all pupils.
Wellbeing initiatives for secondary will be developed in more detail at the pedagogical day on Monday. The counselling services will be advertised more to the pupils.
- What is the status of Teacher Turnover?
School management expressed their concerns about teacher retention and look forward to the results of a review of terms and conditions by Central Office.
- To what extent are Teacher absences having a material impact on continuity of teaching in our secondary school?
Due to the pandemic, there were more absences last year and it was harder to find replacement teachers to cover these absences. However, vulnerable teachers were permitted and able to deliver classes online. The rule was that a teacher should be replaced if absent for more than 1 week. Not seeing any systematic problem this academic year.
- Are there any issues with our pupils applying to study at the University of Luxembourg?
The school has heard about the non-recognition of the European BAC with a fee of EUR75 to have it recognised in Luxembourg. The representative from ministry of education confirmed there is an initiative in progress that will remove the payment and clarify the situation. The Deputy Director Secondary is happy to be contacted with examples of any issues in our pupils applying to Luxembourg university.
- Are our School buildings in both primary and secondary adequate to support the size and changing demographics of our school community?
Key issue discussed was canteen. Deputy director primary confirmed that 30 minute lunch was part of the curriculum and speed that pupils could eat at depends on the popularity of food in front of them.
- What measures are being taken or are envisaged to enhance the wellbeing of the school community?
Work in progress. Primary advancing well and a trial program should be published before mid-term break. Secondary under discussion. More activities underway.
- Re language certification and background of non-native language teachers – parents raising concerns that not all non-native teachers meet the C2 language requirements.
All non-native locally recruited teachers have to present language certificates as part of recruitment process. Relevant native language teacher also involved in recruitment process. Member states are responsible for ensuring compliance for seconded teachers.
- Are there opportunities to provide language streaming for bilingual pupils?
The school management confirmed that differentiated teaching continues to be their approach for mixed ability classes and remain unconvinced about the pedagogical value in streaming. (NB parents have also submitted a paper on this topic to Central Office).