APEEE President's message - End of school year 2020 - 2021
Dear Parents and
One of the most challenging school years in recent history ends this Friday. It tested, in particular, our collective resilience as well as our intellectual and psychological capacity to adapt.
We are particularly glad that our children successfully completed the school year at all levels albeit given the long periods of transition from on-site to on-line and back again and many lost teaching hours. We owe special thanks to teachers for managing uncertainties and educational tools efficiently and for keeping their educational mission so close to their hearts. We acknowledge the efforts of our school management to continue providing education while keeping all members of our school community healthy in their workplace.
APEEE has had a big share in this huge responsibility, which we sought to meet with a high sense of dedication. Board members and all staff moved with confidence in often unchartered waters. They took bold decisions, when required, demonstrating a professional and user-friendly approach while protecting safety and hygiene standards to the highest possible degree. We were the only ones operating for long months the canteen, we were the first ones operating on-line extra-curricular activities and we were the most successful and vigilant in maintaining safety and respect for everyone's health in school transport.
The school year closes with certain wounds that can and must be repaired. The justified forecasted deficit by 31 August 2021 in our accounts is an exception following long years of solid financial prosperity. It is clear that our business model is very much constrained by the school decisions, in which we have no final say. Our revenues are volatile and constrained by the dictates of the pandemic, while our expenditure must take into consideration solidarity towards our staff and collaborators and ensure business continuity. Our change management strategy paved the way for a fair reduction of losses, as our services adapted constantly to emerging needs, preferences and waves of the pandemic. During the most recent school year, our organisation emerged stronger. The quality of staff increased considerably, the quality of service provision was maintained and both communication and the IT service improved further.
In our education agenda, we managed to shift the focus gradually from the absolutely necessary COVID-19 management to long-term priorities.
Beyond our school site, we raised the European Schools priorities to a high level on the political agendas of the European Commission and of the European Parliament and contributed to making them understand the urgencies of overcrowding, of infrastructure constraints in Brussels, of student and teacher mental health and of the quality of the education provided that entails a strong European BAC recognition across the EU.
Internally, we are delighted that the school accepted the need for a long-term well-being policy, including the measures for tackling bullying and raising the behavioural standards at all levels, as well as the sustainability agenda, which will produce tangible results over the next three years. Further progress on inclusion, diversity and educational support policies were noted and will be monitored closely. We will continue our debate with the school management about a true community spirit involving the participation of all the stakeholders in school life, once circumstances return - hopefully soon - back to normal. The European spirit in our buildings and added value in school projects (most of them continued quite successfully even in stormy times…) reflect our most deeply shared values.
In 2020/2021 we tackled successfully several systemic issues and individual cases keeping always in mind that complacency is not an option!
We will celebrate on Friday with our 2021 European BAC recipients wishing them a very prosperous and fruitful academic life and welcome soon our newly enrolled students. This is the cycle of life, which brings us in EEB3 closer together! Until the next bell rings again, on behalf of APEEE, I wish you all a peaceful, stress-free and healthy summer break and hope to see you all back on 1 September 2021!
APEEE Ixelles President