Message from the Deputy Director


My name is Ilona Cytarzyńska I come from Poland. I have been involved in the European School system since 2013. I have been working at the European School in Brussels for nine years and since 1 September 2022 I have held the position of Deputy Director for the secondary cycle of the European School, Bergen.

Our students learn tolerance by being in a multicultural environment. We also make sure that they do not forget their own roots. The school gives them the opportunity to reach their maximum potential by adapting the curricula to the individual needs of the student. Students gain knowledge at school, but also through participation in excursions, projects and subject competitions. Most importantly, pupils are at the centre of all school-related decisions and because the relationships between all stakeholders and the school are vital to the success of our pupils, we encourage them to become involved in every way possible.

As an educator, I have also had the opportunity to work in other well-known education systems. Why did I choose the European School? Because I set my sights on personal development, mine and my children’s. I have not been disappointed, I have benefited myself and so have my sons. The exchange of experiences between teachers of different nationalities has enriched my work and I think I have successfully encouraged my colleagues to apply my teaching methods. My sons have also gained a lot from studying in this system. The one who has already passed the European Baccalaureate has already taken an interesting career path, because growing up in this environment has opened him up even more to other cultures, made him an open-minded, tolerant, independent and critical thinker, not only fluent in several languages. Attending this school allowed him to feel European and proud to belong. I want to pass on the values that the teachers at the European School have shown my children.

Information about the programmes in the secondary cycle.

For detailed information about the programmes in the European School Bergen, and in all the European Schools, go to the website and click on “Studies and Certificates”.

All programmes are approved by the Board of Governors of the European Schools, which consist of representatives from the EU member state delegations.

borchureDocuments to download :
Portal Internal Users

Curious about our result on the PISA-based Test for Schools? Click here: DEENFR

The school day

School starts every day at 09:00 and finishes at 16:25. The school week is from Monday – Friday.

Younger pupils often opt for one free afternoon per week, often on Friday.

Depending on the year group and the options chosen, pupils will have a minimum of 31 lessons and a maximum of 35 lessons per week.

Far more than a typical secondary school environment, pupils at ESB receive a truly international, Europe-focused education.

The structure of the full day is shown below:

Start Period Start Period
09:00-09:45 1 12:30-13:15 5
09:50-10:35 2 13:15-14:00 Lunch break (6)
10:40-11:25 3 14:00-14:45 7
11:25-11:40 Short Break 14:50-15:35 8
11:40-12:25 4 15:40-16:25 9

Years S1-S3 – the Lower Secondary classes

Most subjects are taught in the language of the section. Subjects such as Art, Music and Sport are taught in “open” language groups, so that all language sections are blended.

Pupils also have an opportunity to mix with other sections in Language 2 lessons.

  • In S1, the pupils begin their Language 3 (currently a choice between Dutch, German, English, French and Spanish).
  • In S2, they have the chance to choose Latin, and in S3, IT.
  • Also in S3, pupils study the Human Sciences (history and geography) and Religion/Ethics in their second language for the first time.

Years S4-S5 – the Middle Secondary classes

In S4, pupils have a wider range of options to choose from. The first major choice is whether to do Mathematics as a foundation (4-period) course or a more advanced (6-period) course. This is an important decision, and pupils and parents should take the advice of the teachers before choosing.

Other choices may involve a fourth language or Economics, or continuing with subjects such as Art, Music, Latin and IT.

From S4 onwards, the pupils are given two kinds of marks – one for class work and one for short tests or examinations (known as A and B marks).

Years S6-S7 – the European Baccalaureate classes

In S5, pupils make their choices for the European Baccalaureate, which is a two-year programme. They have a wide range of choices, in addition to compulsory courses. This enables the pupil to put together a “package” of subjects that will prepare him or her for higher education.

The marks for the Baccalaureate are made of 50% from scores on internal examinations and class work in S7, the final year. The other 50% of the marks come from written examinations in five subjects (Language 1, Language 2, Mathematics and two electives) and oral examinations in three subjects that are based on work in the final two years of study.

For more information about the European Baccalaureate, click here.

Choice of options and group sizes

With all options throughout the secondary cycle, there is a minimum group size of seven pupils, and in S6 and S7, the minimum group size for 4-period options is five pupils.

Depending on the course and level, it is sometimes possible to open a group with a smaller number of pupils, and sometimes groups are combined with another year group.


Language 1

A basic principle of the European Schools is that of mother tongue, or dominant language, tuition.

Normally, this will be the language of the section in which the pupil is enrolled, unless they are allowed mother tongue tuition because a parent is an entitled European Commission employee (Category 1), or the pupil has a Category 2 contract.

Language 1 is compulsory throughout the secondary cycle, and is taken as one of the subjects in the European Baccalaureate.

Language 2

Language 2 is one of the working languages of the European Union (English, French or German), and it must be different from Language 1.

Normally, this is begun at the age of 6 in the primary cycle. For new pupils in the secondary cycle, it is sometimes difficult to integrate into the second language, because they do not always have the experience of the second language at the level used in the school.Support lessons are available in this case.

Starting in S3, pupils study Human Sciences in the L2.

Language 3 & 4

Language 3 is chosen as a beginner’s course in S1, and it is compulsory until the end of S5.

Pupils currently have a choice between

  • German,
  • English,
  • French,
  • Dutch,
  • Italian
  • and Spanish.

Subject to group sizes in S6 and S7 and demand, these groups can continue to the European Baccalaureate.

Language 4 is an option in S4 for beginners, and it can be continued on through the European Baccalaureate.


Latin can be chosen in S2 as an option, and it is available throughout the school. At the end of S5, those students do a special examination called the “Latinum Europaeum” which is particularly interesting for applicants to universities in some European countries.

Information Technology (IT)

The school is well equipped for IT, and every classroom has at least one computer and a beamer/projector.

Most rooms have Smartboards, which teachers use extensively. There are two fully equipped computer rooms, and a smaller room that is also used for remote learning.

The wireless network is fast and efficient, and it is possible to log on throughout the school. IT is embedded into all areas of the curriculum and pupil management, and teachers are innovative in their use of IT in the classroom

Educational Support & Inclusive Education

Different forms and level of support are provided, designed to ensure appriate help and equal opportunities for all the pupils, including those having special educational needs, experiencing difficulties at any point in their schooling or gifted ones in order to enable them to develop and progress accoring to their potential.

The three types of support available are known as General, Moderate and Intensive Support.

More information on the website of the Office of the Secretary-General of the European Schools:

 Policy on the Provision of Educational Support and Inclusive Education in the European Schools

Higher education and careers guidance

Applying for the right courses and universities is a complex task, and we have a careers guidance team across the language sections. They can provide help, support and references for applications to universities and colleges.

Each year we ask the pupils in S7 about their plans after the European School. We have listed the results over the last four Baccalaureate years. Since we ask for the information in April/May of the year the pupils sit their final exams, sometimes the plans are not yet certain. Nevertheless, the table gives a good impression of the intentions after the ESB. Click here to view.

Residential trips and day visits

There are a number of residential trips that take place on a regular basis.

The trips either focus on a particular subject, or are multi-disciplinary.


Events and Projects

The school is very involved in all the activities organised by the European Schools.

They provide opportunities for our pupils to participate in larger events organised across the European Union.

During the school year, there are also other events and projects within the school and in the local community.

Extra-Curricular Activities

In addition to regular school events, musicals, plays, competitions and other activities are also organised in the school, including the programme of educational trips and visits.

The Parents’ Association offers some extra-curricular activities for our pupils, and every year there is a list of activities published that range from IT to sporting activities.

Pupil participation

Pupils are encouraged to take a full and active part in all aspects of life in school.

Every class has a pupil representative, and the pupils’ committee has an election for President and Vice-President at the beginning of every school year.

Pupils have a special opportunity to participate in the strategic planning and management of the school, and they participate in a range of meetings, such as the School Administrative Board, the School Advisory Council and the Secondary Education Council.