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Secondary School

    • In Belgium, secondary education is provided for youngsters from 12 to 18.
    • In the French Community (including the Brussels Region), full-time secondary education contains three Stages and various types of education (general, technical, artistic and vocational).
    • Each Stage consists of two Grades (school years). In the first Stage of secondary education, a common curriculum is proposed. Pupils can make a “pre-vocational” choice of study only at the start of the second Stage. In the third Stage of vocational secondary education, the successful completion of a third Grade is necessary to obtain the certificate of secondary education.
    • In Flanders (including the Brussels Region) a pupil chooses a course of study within one of the following types of education: general, technical, arts and vocational.
    • In Belgium, a certificate of upper secondary education grants unrestricted access to higher education.
How to Enroll?

A Decree establishes an enrollment procedure in several phases. Please note that this Decree will be repealed soon!

Keep in mind that in the Brussels area especially, the most sought-after schools usually have long waiting lists.

Is it necessary to re-register each year? No, the minor child is automatically re-enrolled from year to year except in case of school change.

When to Enroll?
  • At the latest, the 1st working day of September
  • Pupils who are the object of a deliberation in September may register until mid-September
  • There are derogations for late registration in some specific cases

The dates mentioned above are the legal deadlines for registration. In practice, the registration process (pre-registration) starts well in advance in most cases.

For the school year 2020-2021, the (pre-)registration process to enroll in the 1st secondary school year is as follows:

  • Until 09 February 2020: Parents receive (or request) the Single Registration Form (SRF)
  • From 10 February to 06 March 2020: Parents fill out and sign the SRF, attach annexes if needed and return it to their favorite school (1st choice school). The form contains a section where to mention several other schools in order of preference
  • The school sends an acknowledgement of receipt to the parents
  • From 07 March to 26 April 2020:
    • Early March 2020: the registration requests are processed and the pupils are ranked by priority, based on criteria such as the distance home-school, the fact that brothers/sisters are already in the school, as well as socioeconomic data
    • In March 2020, parents receive a letter from the school. Two cases are possible:
      • either they receive a certificate of registration
      • or the registration is denied (the child is ranked too low on the priority list mentioned above) and the request for registration is reprocessed by an ad hoc Commission, taking account of the other schools mentioned in the form
    • By mid-April, pupils not yet enrolled receive a new letter. Three cases are possible:
      • the pupil is finally enrolled in the preferred school
      • the pupil is eligible for enrollment in at least one of the selected. The parents may decide to enroll their child in the available school or wait
      • the pupil is on waiting lists for all the selected schools. The parents have to wait
  • Until 31 August 2020 (for the pupils not yet enrolled): as soon as a place becomes available in a school corresponding to a better preference, it is automatically allocated to the child when he/she is in the 1st position on the waiting list
  • After 31 August: this process continues for the rare pupils only on waiting lists until getting a place in a school


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