What is the school association – and why does it exist?
The German Schools Abroad recognised by the German Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs are supported by the Federal Republic of Germany. The German Schools Abroad are public schools which – unlike the schools in Germany – are not run as part of the public administration. Most German schools abroad are registered associations under the law of their host country, including the International German School Brussels. The general public primarily perceives the iDSB; in legal terms, it exists as a “purpose” of the German School Association Brussels (“Schulverein”). It was founded in 1951 under Belgian law as a non-profit association (in Dutch: “vereniging zonder winstoogmerk” / “vzw” or in French: “association sans but lucratif” / “asbl”). The school association is the sponsor of the iDSB. All contracts are concluded for the iDSB in the name of the school association.
Who can become a member of the school association? How do I apply for membership?
According to the statutes of the school association, anyone who has reached the age of 18 can become a member. Membership is open to all parents as well as interested parties outside the school community. Teachers, employees and pupils of the iDSB can become supporting members without voting rights. Parental membership in the School Association is expressly desired in the interest of broad legitimacy of the decisions of the School Association. An application for membership in the school association can be made with the registration of the children. The Board of Directors of the school club decides on applications for membership.
You can find the application form for membership in the school association HERE.
How is the school association structured and how does it act?
The School Association has two bodies: the General Assembly and the Board of Directors.
The duties of the General Assembly are to appoint (and remove) the members of the Board of Directors and the auditors, to approve the annual budgets and accounts, and to decide on amendments to the School Association’s Statutes. As part of the annual budgets, the General Assembly also decides on the amount of school fees. The General Assembly is convened and chaired by the President of the Board of Directors. The statutes of the Schulverein provide for two Annual General Meetings per year. At the Annual General Meeting in the autumn, the annual accounts for the previous financial year are submitted for approval by the School Society. At the second Annual General Meeting at the end of the school year, the key figures for the coming budget are discussed and decided.
Board of Directors
The members of the Board of Directors are elected every two years by the Annual General Meeting. The statutes stipulate that at least three of the members of the Board of Directors are parents of pupils of the iDSB. In addition, at least three members of the Board of Directors shall be members of the Association whose children do not (or no longer) attend the German school. This regulation ensures continuity and sustainability of the Board’s actions and thus of the school association. All elected members of the Board of Directors serve in an honorary capacity. Supporting members (teachers, employees, pupils) of the Schulverein are not eligible for election. Members of the Parents’ Council Board must resign their Parents’ Council mandate upon acceptance of election to the Board.
The Administrative Board shall be assisted in the performance of its operational duties by a full-time Administrative Board Representative (BdV). In addition to knowledge of school affairs, participation in the Administrative Board requires loyalty in the cooperation with the school bodies as well as cooperation with the relevant school administration bodies in Germany. Care is taken to ensure that financial obligations of the school association, especially in the case of high investments and the employment of teachers, are planned and secured for the long term, regardless of the change of pupil parents.
There are currently eight full members on the Board of Directors. The Administrative Board meets on average every six weeks in accordance with the Administrative Board’s rules of procedure. The ordinary members and the representative of the Administrative Board as well as a representative of the German Embassy and the school management take part in the closed meetings of the Administrative Board in an advisory capacity.
For a better integration of all stakeholders, an open meeting takes place approximately every two months, in which, in addition to the above-mentioned, the staff representatives, the parents’ council and the pupils’ representatives take part. The Board of Governors can set up specialist committees to discuss complex issues in a targeted and timely manner and to draw up recommendations. Currently, there is a Personnel Committee and a Social Committee.
Cooperation of the School Association with school management bodies in Germany
Although the iDSB is a public school, it is integrated into the German school administration. These include the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK), the Federal Office of Administration with the Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA) and the Federal Foreign Office. This requires precise guidelines on the curriculum of the iDSB and on the holding of school-leaving examinations. The iDSB is entitled to issue certificates for obtaining the university entrance qualification, Mittlere Reife and Fachhochschulreife. Decisions affecting the scope and nature of German sponsorship are taken in consultation with the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany.
How is the school association financed as the sponsor of the iDSB?
The iDSB’s school operations are financed by the school association, primarily through school fees. However, the Federal Republic of Germany also contributes directly to the school’s budget with the financial and personnel support granted by the Federal Foreign Office in cooperation with the Central Office for Schools Abroad. Since 2013, the basis has been the Schools Abroad Act, which grants the recognised German schools abroad a legal entitlement to this funding and thus planning security. The Bilingual Day Care Centre with Preschool (KiBi) is not subsidised. The school grounds and school buildings are the property of the Federal Republic of Germany; they are used by the iDSB free of charge on the basis of a usage agreement between the school association and the Federal Government. The planned new construction of the primary and secondary school buildings is being financed by the Federal Government and carried out on its behalf by the Munich I State Building Authority. The financing of the building section for the Bilingual Day Care Centre with Preschool as well as the relocation and equipment costs of the entire new building are the responsibility of the school association. The Federal Republic of Germany also provides part of the teaching staff through temporary seconded foreign service teachers who continue to be remunerated by the Federal Government, including the headmaster. The school fees can be reduced on application in cases of hardship.