The Polish School Joachim Lelewel is named after the famous Polish historian who spent 30 years of his life living near the Grand Place in Brussels in the second half of the 19th century - the Polish Embassy school in Brussels is run from Warsaw by the Polish Ministry of Education.
Our school was opened in 1971. Then, as now, the school was intended to provide supplementary schooling for young Poles attending Belgian schools on a daily basis, especially for the children of Polish diplomats.
The school's aim was and is not only to maintain contact with Polish culture, but also to broaden pupils' knowledge of Polish language, literature, geography and history. In this way pupils can return to the Polish educational system without the need for extra tuition. Lessons take place outside normal Belgian school hours, on Wednesday afternoons and on Saturdays.
Initially, the school was attended by only 19 children. Today there are 900 pupils! It is not hard to imagine how difficult it is to find classrooms for such a large number of schoolchildren. For the last 7 years we have been renting classrooms from the College Jean XXIII on bld. de la Woluwe 22 in Woluwe-St-Pierre, and we are delighted with our good relations with the management of the College.
The number of pupils continues to grow. Besides the children of Polish embassy Staff, we now also number among our pupils the children of staff from the Polish EU Permanent Representation, the Polish delegation to NATO and of many other Poles now living and working in Brussels.
Currently we have 24 classes in the primary school, 8 in the middle school and 3 secondary school classes. There are six years in the primary, three in middle school and three in secondary.
Teaching methods, course books and curricula are the same as those currently used in Poland. The school year is divided into two semesters.
At the end of the school year in June each pupil receives a certificate of completion of the year just completed. Book prizes are awarded to the best pupils.
Attending the school puts great demands on our pupils: they have to combine their studies at our school with studies at Belgian schools, or with studies at British or American schools for those children travelling the world with their parents and receiving their main education in English. Sometimes they are forced to forego pleasures for the sake of a better education. But their sacrifices pay dividends: our former pupils are already working in the institutions of the EU, where their Polish qualifications are regarded as valuable extra assets.