Taipei European School: background3 min read


TES is a not-for-profit international school licensed by the Taipei City Department of Education. It was founded in 1990 when the existing Taipei British School, Ecole Francaise de Taipei and Deutsche Schule Taipei merged in 1990 to share facilities and resources. Each of these existing schools was quite small and economic and logistical benefits led to the three schools being subsumed into one school with four sections: French Section, German Section, British Primary Section & British Secondary and High School Section. The British section is split in half due to size. Each section has its own staff in a standard school hierarchy, answerable to a Head of Section. The four Heads of Section report to the CEO, who runs the school.

The school has 1,450 students in total, with the majority (over 1,000) split between the two British sections. Students in Taiwan must hold a non-Taiwanese passport to be eligible to study at an international school. Students with no connection to Taiwan other than physically being here (expatriates) make up around one-third of the student body (at my best guess). There is a wider group of students who have dual citizenship or permanent resident status, and a third group of Taiwanese nationals who have bought a passport from another country (notably Burkina Faso). While this is fairly common practice in international school communities, it isn’t something my school (or the Taipei City Department of Education) would appreciate me discussing openly in a published thesis or paper, so I would have to be quite careful about how I referred to subgroups in the student body.

There is an element of transience among the members of the student body, with an expected student churn of between 5% & 10% per academic year, with most of this affecting expatriate students due to parents’ contracts ending, etc.

The educational frameworks of the British, French & German sections is outlined on the next page in brief.

Educational frameworks

British Section French Section German Section
Primary school

(age 4-11)

Primary school curriculum based on English National Curriculum, with added (optional) Chinese Language and Culture lessons French primary school curriculum, with Chinese and English as options of foreign languages. German elementary school curriculum, taught predominantly in German. English and Chinese are both taught as foreign languages.
Middle school (age 11-14) The final non-examined stage of the English National Curriculum, modified for TES. French curriculum consisting of French, mathematics, history/geography, civics, biology, physics, technology. Art, music and physical education classes are combined with British section and taught in English. German middle school curriculum, taught predominantly in German. Art, music and physical education classes are combined with British section and taught in English.
Junior high school (age 14-16) Cambridge IGCSE: GCSE-equivalent qualifications that can be studied outside the UK. Very similar in structure & content to GCSEs. Diplôme National du Brevet: a high stakes GCSE-equivalent that determines what kind of Bac a student can study in the final two years of high school. German high schools operate a tripartite system: Gymnasium is designed to prepare students for HE, the Realschule is aimed at intermediate students and the Hauptschule prepares students for vocational education. The German Section has students in all three options, in one school. For some subjects they join IGCSE classes, others are taught by GS teachers.
High school (age 16-18) IB Diploma Programme: an A-level equivalent holistic diploma programme where students study 6 subjects alongside a core of extended essay, CAS & theory of knowledge Le Baccalauréat: the university entrance qualification, made up of literary, social and science studies. Upon completion of the abschluss and IGCSE examinations at the end of H2 (year 11), students either leave TES or enrol on the IB Diploma Programme, taught in English by BSHS teachers.

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By jpgreenwood

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