A fundamental principle of the European Schools is the teaching of mother tongue as first language (L1), therefore the European Schools provide teaching in the official languages of the European Union. However, not all of the schools are able to provide the full study cycle in all of these languages.
Determination of pupils’ dominant language at the time of their enrolment is one of the founding principles of the European Schools, as attested by the first paragraph of Article 47(e) of the General Rules:
A fundamental principle of the European Schools is the teaching of mother tongue/dominant language as first language (L1). This principle implies the pupil’s enrolment in the section of his/her mother tongue/ dominant language where such a section exists.
In schools where the section corresponding to a pupil’s mother tongue does not exist, he/she will generally be enrolled in one of the vehicular language sections. He/she will attend the classes in his/her mother tongue organised for so-called SWALS (Students Without A Language Section) as L1.
Determination of the dominant language is the responsibility of the Director of the School and parents are not free to choose it. It must correspond to either the child’s mother tongue or his or her dominant language.
Should there be any dispute about Language 1, it is the Director’s responsibility to determine which language it is, on the basis of “the information provided by the pupils’ legal representatives on the enrolment form and by requiring the pupil to take comparative language tests, organised and under the control of the school’s teachers. The tests will be organised whatever the pupil’s age and teaching level, i.e. including the nursery cycle.”