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Volume 651: debated on Thursday 20 December 2018


Thursday 20 December 2018



European Baccalaureate Qualification

The petition of teachers at, parents of pupils at, or friends of the Europa School Culham, Oxfordshire,

Declares that in relation to the Europa School, the school currently offers children who attend the school a final qualification of the European Baccalaureate (EB). The ability of the school to offer this qualification has been extended by the Department of Education to 2021. However, uncertainty over the school’s ability to offer the qualification after 20121 is causing difficulties for students and much uncertainty.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons to ask the Department of Education to allow the Europa School in Culham, Oxfordshire, to offer to its students from 2021 the European Baccalaureate as an equivalent to A levels regardless of the status of the UK in respect of its membership of the European Union.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by John Howell, Official Report, 24 October 2018; Vol. 648, c. 400 .]


Observations from the Minister for School Standards (Nick Gibb):

We recognise that Europa School UK is currently facing a period of uncertainty in light of ongoing discussions with the European Schools Board of Governors about the ability of the school to offer the European Baccalaureate once the UK leaves the EU in March 2019. We thank Europa School for continuing to support its students through this time and were very pleased to hear of the 100% pass rate for students who completed the European Baccalaureate in 2018.

Officials from the Regional Schools Commissioner’s Office, International Education Division and Education and Skills Funding Agency are working with the school to support their future planning.

The Government were successful in securing a provision in the Withdrawal Agreement, as agreed by the EU Member States on 25 November, that allows for Europa School’s continued accreditation as a European School until the end of August 2021. This is subject to renewal of accreditation by the European Schools Board of Governors. We recognise that Europa’s preference would be to continue to deliver the European Baccalaureate post 2021.

Beyond the terms set out in the Withdrawal Agreement, accreditation to deliver the European Baccalaureate is only available to schools located in an EU Member State. The Government are, therefore, not in a position to allow Europa School to offer to its students, from 2021, the European Baccalaureate as an equivalent to A levels, regardless of the status of the UK in respect of its membership of the EU. This would be dependent on a decision by the European Union Member States and Commission, through the European Schools Board of Governors, to change their rules on accredited schools. At present that seems highly unlikely.

As a responsible Government, we urge the school to put in place plans to implement an alternative curriculum. We welcome the fact that the school has put in an application be able to deliver the International Baccalaureate qualification from September 2020. This qualification would allow the school to retain its advanced language teaching and a unique offer of education to pupils.

We appreciate the difficult position the school finds itself in and the Department is committed to ensuring it will support the school with their plans by maintaining regular contact and by continuing to work with the school.