In the secondary school, students are taught in 45 minute periods with a minimum of 31 and usually a maximum of 35 periods per school week.
The secondary school curriculum is divided into three stages.
Students follow a broad academic curriculum including languages 1 and 2, language 3 from year 2 onwards, (with an opportunity soon available to study language 3 in year 1), mathematics, integrated science, ethics and sport. Human science is taught in language 1 in years 1 and 2 and in language 2 from year 3 onwards.
Students continue to follow a broad curriculum during these two years which includes a large number of compulsory subjects.
They must take mathematics for 4 or 6 periods per week and languages 1, 2 and 3 (all taught in the language concerned). Biology, chemistry and physics are studied for 2 periods per week each. History and geography are studied for 2 periods each in the student’s second language. At least two elective subjects must be chosen from, for example, language 4, economics, Latin, Greek, art, music and IT.
These two years lead to the European Baccalaureate. Students must study at least ten subjects and are examined by means of written and oral examinations and by continuous assessment.
There is a core of compulsory subjects which include language 1 (mother tongue), language 2 (first foreign language), mathematics, history, geography, philosophy, ethics and sport. In addition, if no science subject is taken as an elective subject, students must also take a course of two lessons per week in biology.
Students must take a minimum of two elective subjects of four lessons per week and may take as many as four. These subjects may include each of the separate sciences, social sciences, Latin, art, music, philosophy and languages 3 and 4. Mathematics can be taken as a 3-lesson or 5-lesson per week course. Additional advanced courses of three lessons per week may be taken in mathematics, language 1 and language 2. Students may also choose complementary courses of two lessons per week such as practical science, introductory economics, art, music and theatre.
The European Schools curriculum and organisation of study is currently being reviewed and updated to keep pace with educational developments.
The average overall pass rate in the European Baccalaureate has been nearly 98% over the last five years (2008-2012). This exceptionally high figure reflects the fact that any student sitting the final examination has already been through a rigorous annual monitoring procedure since joining the system.