Three main language sections

Spoken and written language is, in our society, the dominant medium in which we communicate, share our ideas and values and resolve differences. The greatest advantage of the European School is the multilingual environment it offers to its pupils.

The Primary has three main language sections

  • German Section
  • English Section
  • French Section

Students Without a Language Section (SWALS)

Pupils enrolled in a European School which does not have a language section corresponding to their mother tongue are enrolled in one of the existing language sections of the school.

We define a language as being “native” when it is known by the child from birth, is the dominant language and in which the child ‘feels at home’. The mother tongue is the basis on which the other languages will be built. Therefore, the native language corresponds to L1 (first language). The European School Karlsruhe offers mother tongue tuition in almost all EU-languages.

Mother tongue tuition (MTT) is one of the most important advantages of studying at the European Schools.

Category 1 and 2 pupils are entitled to EU-mother tongue language tuition other than German, English, and French.

Mother tongue tuition is always given by fully qualified native speakers’ teachers.


L1 must correspond to the child´s mother tongue or dominant language. In the case of multilingual children, the dominant language being the one of which they have the best command. Its determination is the responsibility of the school´s Director.

All the subjects are taught in this “working language”, corresponding to the language of the section. Therefore the language section will reflect the language in which the SWALS child is most competent.

For MTT the Kindergarten and Primary School children are grouped according to age: KG, Classes 1 and 2 – 5 x 30 minutes per week Classes 3, 4 and 5 – 5 x 45 minutes per week. Ideally the students go to MTT when the rest of their class have 2nd language (L2). If this is not possible a compromise solution is found.

If there are less than 7 pupils in a group the weekly MTT hours are reduced for year 1-5. For years 6 and 7 there is no reduction.


MT is assessed as L1. The section language is assessed as L2. The national syllabus is used for each corresponding MTT and is identical in all European Schools.

Language Support

The school provides individual language support in order to give SWALS pupils a quick and effective integration into their chosen section.

Recommendations for parents

It is the parents’ responsibility to develop and further the children’s MT language at home (books, films, friends, home visits, relatives, etc.).