Official Opening Ceremony Europa School UK
Providing multilingual, multicultural European education
Opened on 21st September, 2012 by Lord Hill of Oareford, CBE John Howell, OBE MP
Farewell message from Peter Ashbourne
Cimitero Tedesco del Passo della Futa
École européenne de Luxembourg I
Today marks my last as Principal of Europa School UK. For once I spent some of it away from e-mail, visiting the Passo della Futa in Tuscany, site of a cemetery for thirty thousand German soldiers from the Second World War. It prompted me to reflect on the words of René Mayer, former Prime Minister of France, at the opening of the first European School: "May the Europe of the European schools definitively take the place of the Europe of the war cemeteries.”
At the heart of our school is the belief that we should be “acquainted with all that is great and good in the different cultures”. This has a direct impact on the pedagogical model with a conviction that no one national system holds the single best model, particularly when the population of the school is so diverse. Rather there is respect for the professional training and experience of each teacher and a belief, borne out in practice that the cross fertilisation of pedagogical approaches will produce a rich and vibrant learning experience.
Every pupil in our school is destined to be fluent in a language other than their original dominant language. But more is involved: the highly effective method of immersion, and learning so much through the language, supports not only fluency, but also cultural understanding and empathy. I am proud of the linguistic and academic prowess of our school, but while accepting that we are not perfect, I gain greater delight from the reputation we have as a friendly and welcoming place. Without having done any statistical survey, I would be prepared to bet that there are far more smiles per head of population in our school than is found generally in society!
A school brings pupils together to learn and our school promotes a shared responsibility for learning, so that pupils engage and rejoice not only in their own success, but also that of their peers. We have pioneered a new approach to language learning in the primary school and provided a unique UK model for rounded baccalaureate education through to 18. While our school is certainly experimental, it is also academically rigorous. Our approach, set in place and overseen by our founders, is guided by over 60 years experience built up by the European Schools and our success is measured against UK national tests, the European Baccalaureate and double inspection regimes of OFSTED and the European Schools. In every case we have emerged shining through six years of rapid growth.
So much for reflection. There are fresh challenges ahead and nothing is easy about developing such a dynamic school, but there is ability, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm and sheer hard work in abundance from all parts of our community. A remarkable school that has only just begun its journey and one I leave now in the very capable hands of our new Principal, Mrs Lynn Wood.
Founding Principal 2012-2018
Europa School UK