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The European School system
How does the European School system compare to other school systems?
The European School Copenhagen is an Accredited European School (AES). Accredited European Schools follow the pedagogical and curricular requirements laid down for the European Schools but within their national school frameworks. Students who successfully complete the final year exams at a European School are awarded the European Baccalaureate (EB), which is an educational diploma recognised in all member states of the European Union as well as in many other countries in the world. Please see the attached guide for a comparison of the European Schools system with other school systems. You can read more about Accredited European Schools on the website of the Office of the Secretary-General of the European Schools.
Where can I read more about the European Schools system and curriculum?
You can read more about the European Schools on the website https://www.eursc.eu/. Please click here for information about the curriculum and syllabuses in the European School system.
What languages do you offer and which language section should I apply for?
In the European Schools system, there is a very strong emphasis on language learning. The European School Copenhagen has three language sections/tracks – English, Danish and French. The language of the section/track is known as L1 and this is the primary language of instruction in the language section. In order to be admitted to a language section, the child must speak the language of the section fluently and the language must be anchored in daily life.
Students start their first foreign language (known as L2) in Primary 1. The L2 options are English, German or French. The choice of L2 is particularly important because students in the European School system are taught several subjects in their L2 from Secondary 3 onwards.
In Secondary 1, students must select a second foreign language (L3) and from Secondary 4 students can also choose a third foreign language (L4).
Due to the multilingual nature of the European School education, students are fully proficient in minimum two languages and have a good command of 1-2 additional foreign languages when they graduate.
How many language sections can I apply for i.e. if my child is bilingual or multilingual?
You should apply for the language section that is your child’s dominant language. It is therefore important that you consider your choice of language section carefully. If your child is bilingual and the child speaks both languages at home, it is possible to apply for two language sections. We recommend that you consider the following:
- Your child’s language proficiency. Which is your child’s dominant (strongest) language? We require that your child is mother tongue level proficient in the language of the section and your child will be screened in the language applied for. The language should be used daily by the child and supported at home. The teachers in the language section will communicate with the child and the parents in the language of the section.
- Other circumstances. If your child is bilingual or multilingual, you may want to consider other circumstances, e.g. do you plan to stay in Denmark, or will you be moving again? If your child is bilingual, he/she may be able to select one language as L1 and the other as L2, the child’s first foreign language (the L2 options are English, German or French). From Secondary 3 onwards, some of the subjects will also be taught in the L2
If I enrol my child in a language section, will he/she be able to change sections later?
Children enrolled in European schools are enrolled in the section corresponding to their dominant language. It is very rare that the school allows a change of language section – see our procedure-for-changing-l1-language-section_approved-23092021
What is the expected level in L1/section language?
The expected level in L1 is mother tongue level (the child’s dominant language).
What languages do children learn at the European School Copenhagen?
The European School Copenhagen educates students in Danish, English or French (see available classes). Students study Language 2 from Primary 1 (6 years old). Language 2 can be German, English or French (from 2023/24, new students in Primary 1 will also have the option of Danish as L2).
What level of Language 2 is required at the entrance to Secondary 1 (grade 6)?
The expected level in L2 at entry into Secondary 1 is the A2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The student must be able to hold a conversation and read a short novel.
My child is bilingual, can he/she have classes in both languages?
In the European Schools, the children generally receive instruction in their dominant language/mother tongue (Language 1). A Language 2 is studied daily from the first year of primary school (age 6/7). The European School Copenhagen does not offer a bilingual education and the L1 and L2 curricula are different. From Secondary 3 some subjects are taught in the student’s L2
My child already speaks two languages, can he/she learn a third language?
The third language (L3) is compulsory from Secondary 1 (11-12 years old). ESCPH offers English, French, German and Danish as L3.
What classes can I apply for?
The European School Copenhagen opened in August 2014 with two Nursery classes and two Primary 1 classes. Since then, the school has been expanding rapidly and today has classes from Nursery class to Secondary 7 in the Danish and English language section and in the French section from Nursery class to Primary 4, and from Secondary 1 to Secondary 4.
Every year, in August, the school opens three new Nursery classes, and in the 2023/24 school year, the school will also open a new Secondary 1 class and three new Secondary 5 classes.
What is the process for applying to existing classes?
If you wish to apply for one of the school’s existing classes, you must apply through our ‘rolling admissions process’. You can submit an application at any time between 1 September and 1 May. You can find the online application link on our website. In the application, you can enter your requested start date. It is important that you submit all required documentation or your application may not be considered.
‘Rolling admission’ applications are only assessed in December and May if there are spaces available. Please note that submitting an application does not guarantee a place at the school. Admission is based on criteria set by the Municipality of Copenhagen, a language screening and availability of spaces in the class applied for. Not everyone will be invited to a screening. At the end of the school year, all applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application. Applicants who are unsuccessful can reapply the following year.
What is the process for applying for new classes?
Applications for the new Nursery classes and Secondary 1 class open ultimo November and close medio January. The application link will be available on our website when applications open. It is important that you submit all required documentation with your application or your application may not be considered. After the application deadline, all the applications will be reviewed and those who best meet the admission criteria will be selected for screenings in February and March. All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application in April.
Applications for the new Secondary 5 classes open mid-January and close 1 March. The applications must be submitted through a website called optagelse.dk. After the application deadline, all qualified applicants are invited to a screening. All applicants are notified of the outcome of their application in May.
What grade level should I apply for?
This document shows the school’s minimum age requirements for admission in each year level and is a guide to help you understand the European School system in relation to the Danish, French, UK and IB school systems.
How old does my child have to be to attend nursery class?
According to the Danish Primary Education Act, compulsory school attendance begins 1 August of the calendar year in which the child turns six. This means that the children who attend the European School Copenhagen are between 5-6 years old when they start in nursery class. The cut off date is 1 October – students starting in nursery class must turn 5 before 1 October the year they start school.
Can I schedule a visit to the school?
Unfortunately we cannot offer individual visits to the school. Each year, in November, we organise an information evening about the Nursery, Primary and Lower Secondary classes (up until Secondary 4/9th grade).
We also host an information evening regarding our Upper Secondary School/Gymnasium in January (Secondary 5-7).
What does the screening involve?
The screening for Nursery class and Primary involves an assessment of the child’s language skills, school readiness and academic level and takes about one hour and 30 minutes. The academic part of the screening takes approximately 15 minutes with a teacher. The rest of the time the children are all observed together by the pedagogical staff in our After School Care.
In Secondary, the screening is a 30-minute written test in the language of the section applied for and in the child’s first foreign language (see language choices above). Both tests will consist of a text accompanied by a few questions. In Upper Secondary, the screening involves a language test and a test in maths.
Who do I contact if I have any questions or issues with my application?
If you have any questions about the admissions process, please contact the school at +45 3614 0190 during admissions hotline hours:
- Mondays from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
- Tuesdays 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
- Thursdays from 13:00 p.m. – 14:00 p.m
For data protection, we do not recommend that you send sensitive personal information to the school’s email address.
I live abroad, will I be able to enrol my child in the European School Copenhagen?
International citizens, who are moving to (or have moved) to Denmark for work can apply for admission in the b1. category. Danish citizens, who have worked abroad and are returning to Denmark for work, can apply in the b2. admission category.
How much does the schooling cost?
The European School Copenhagen is a public international school and the tuition, books and materials are therefore free. Upper Secondary students can expect some expenses in relation to excursions and study trips and must bring their own computer to school.
The fee for the After School Care programme in currently DKK 1,656 per month (the month of July is free). See more information under After School Care.
I don’t live in Copenhagen – can my child still attend the European School Copenhagen?
The European School Copenhagen offers a European education to all children, who best meet the criteria of admission. You do not need to live in the City of Copenhagen to be admitted to or attend the school.
My child does not have a European nationality, can he/she still apply?
European School Copenhagen educates all children regardless of nationality.
I work for the European Environment Agency or European Commission – can my child attend the European School Copenhagen?
Children of staff of EU institutions and agencies have priority access to the European School Copenhagen – they fall into the admission category a. Please contact the school to ensure you qualify as a category a applicant.
I would like to enrol two children at the same time – is this possible?
In theory, nothing prevents two children from the same family from attending ESCPH. However, admission for existing classes is dependent upon spaces and the admission criteria.
Is the European Baccalaureate recognised in Denmark?
Yes. The European Baccalaureate is recognised as a high school /upper secondary diploma by all the Member States of the European Union.
If my child is accepted in the European School Copenhagen, will he/she take Folkeskolens Afgangsprøve at the end of 9th grade and Studentereksamen at the end of 3.g?
No. European School Copenhagen does not prepare for the Danish exams. Students take the European Baccalaureate at the end of their schooling (Secondary 7). Students who have attended the Danish language section in the European School Copenhagen and are recommended for promotion to Secondary 5 have a legal right to admission in a Danish gymnasium should they wish to. The Danish gymnasium may require students from the European School Copenhagen to sit an entry test.