New European school reports enormous interest

When it opens in August, the European School Copenhagen will offer the only free English-language schooling in Denmark

Denmark’s first European school is set to open in August and has already experienced a high level of interest from Danish and international parents keen to give their children a multilingual and multicultural education.

European Schools were originally started to educate the children of EU staff working in foreign countries, and when the European School Copenhagen (ESCPH) opens, it will be Denmark’s only school to offer an education in a language other than Danish for free.

“ESCPH will offer international schooling to the children of international and Danish parents, who want to offer their children an international schooling, but don't necessarily have the financial means that are required to enrol at other international schools” said Povl Nygaard Markussen, head of Sankt Annae Gymnasium.

READ MORE: International primary schools blocked by Dansk Folkeparti

450 million kroner school

Despite the high demand for foreign-language schooling – English in particular – for the children of foreign workers, it remains illegal for councils to provide schooling in a language other than Danish.

International primary schools cannot become a reality without the support of the populist party Dansk Folkeparti because the party voted in favour of the current primary school education law. Any changes to this law will therefore need DF's approval, but as it is now, the government’s only alternative is to write a new law and seek a new parliamentary majority without DF.

The ESCPH managed to bypass this issue, however, after the government last year passed a special law allowing Copenhagen City Council to establish a European School with a Danish and English line and third language line that has yet to be determined.

So far Copenhagen City Council has promised 150 million kroner to run the school until 2028. The school has also received 300 million kroner in funding from Realdania, Novo Nordisk, Nordea and the fund Industriens Fond.

READ MORE: New European school for Copenhagen

An extraordinary opportunity
The school's newly-appointed leader, Hanne Schmidt, who comes from a job at a European school in Brussels, is excited about the great interest in the school.

“It’s an extraordinary opportunity to bring the Danish and European school system together,” Schmidt told The Copenhagen Post. “European school students I have been speaking with all talk about how the many different cultures and languages at their schools made them capable of operating and adapting to new situations.”

She said that Danish students could also benefit from this openness.

“Denmark used to be a very mono-cultural country because it wasn’t in the middle of Europe. But now the world is opening up through travel and social media and so I think it is important that Danish students are given better opportunities to experience differences from a young age,” Schmidt said.

Meeting on January 29
The school will open in temporary facilities in Sydhavn, before moving into new buildings in the Carlsberg district in 2018.

This summer, students will be accepted into the first and second years of the European Baccalaureate education, and by 2021 the full 13 years will be in operation.

Interested parents are welcome to an information meeting at 7pm on January 29 at Sankt Annae Gymnasium at Sjælør Boulevard 135 in Valby.

The deadline for enrolment for starting school in August is February 17.

More information can be found here.

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