The secondary cycle at the Tallinn European School (TES) aims to promote European cultural diversity whilst simultaneously fostering an inclusive and supportive school community. Currently, the secondary cycle only consists of one Language Section, namely, the English section.

The secondary cycle at TES starts with S1 and continues for seven years until the pupils receive the European Baccalaureate (EB) in S7. The curriculum encompasses all general academic subjects from Mathematics and the Sciences to Humanities and Modern Languages. Students with an interest in Art and Music can follow their interests and develop their skills according to our syllabi.

See the syllabuses for all the subjects

There is a core of compulsory subjects, including Mother Tongue, foreign languages, Mathematics, Science, Philosophy, Physical Education, History and Geography. In addition, pupils have a wide range of further options.

Second language (L2 = French, German or English) chosen becomes the language of instruction for Human Sciences (from S3), History (from S4), Geography (from S4) and, if chosen, Economics (from S4) or ICT.

Years S1-S3: Observation cycle

Subject (Lessons per week / Each lesson lasts 45 minutes)S1S2S3
Mother tongue (L1) (SWALS L1)5 (5)5 (5)4 (4)
Vehicular language (L2)544
Physical Education (Learn more)333
Ethics (in L2, starting from S3)222
Third language (L3)23 (a)3 (a)
Human Sciences (in L2, starting from S3)333
Integrated Science444

(a) May choose from one of the following foreign languages: French, German and Spanish.

Years S4 and S5: Pre-orientation cycle

Subject (Lessons per week / Each lesson lasts 45 minutes)S4S5
Mother tongue (L1) (SWALS L1)4 (4)4 (4)
Mathematics4/6 (a)4/6 (a)
Vehicular language (L2)33
Third language (L3)33
History (in L2)22
Geography (in L2)22
Physical Education (Learn more)22
Ethics (in L2)11
Economics (in L2)44

(a) According to the pupil’s choice.

The total work load, together with the optional subjects, must not be less than 31 or more than 35 lessons per week.

Starting from year S5, all pupils shall participate in a career guidance programme. The programme is aimed at giving pupils an insight into real life situations in the working environment. Pupils of Tallinn European School willl have study visits to various places of work and representatives of companies will visit school lessons to introduce their activities. Different projects are taken up and in year S5 the school shall organise, if possible, a practice period of up to 2 weeks in a company or a public sector organisation.

Years S6 and S7: Orientation cycle

The curriculum in years S6 and S7 is aimed at preparing the pupils for acquiring the European Baccalaureate. The curriculum sets a number of compulsory subjects but the pupils can make a number of choices between subjects within this cycle. In regards to some subjects, it is possible to choose whether to study a subject 2 hours per week, 4 hours per week or according to an intensive study syllabus.

Column 1Column 2Column 3Column 4Column 5
Language L14Biology2Latin (a)4Advanced Mother tongue (L1)3Practical Physics2
Vehicular language (L2)3History (in L2)2Old Greek (a)4Advanced Vehicular language (L2)3
Geography (in L2)2Geography (in L2)4Advanced Mathematics (b)3Practical Chemistry2

Ethics (in L2)

Physical Education (Learn more)2  Third language (L3)4  Practical Biology2
    Fourth language (L4) (a)4   
    History (in L2)4  Computer Studies2
    Economics (in L2) (a) 4  Economics (in L2) (c) 2
    Physics4  Sociology2
    Chemistry4  Arts (c)2
    Biology4  Music (c)2
    Arts4  Sport2
    Music4  Other subject2

Column 1 includes compulsory subjects.

Biology, History, Geography and Philosophy must be selected from either column 2 or column 3.

Biology (column 2 or column 3) is compulsory unless it has been replaced by Physics or Chemistry in column 3.

In order to ensure the minimal weekly work load of 31 lessons and the maximum work load of 35 lessons per week, the pupils must select at least two optional subjects from column 3 or 4.

(a) The pupils may select these subjects if they have also been chosen in years S4 and S5.
(b) Advanced Mathematics can only be selected if the pupil has also chosen Mathematics with 5 lessons per week from column 1.
(c) These subjects may not be selected if these have already been chosen in column 3.

In year S6, a more specific programme oriented towards university studies is offered. The programme includes participation in the open door days of Estonian institutions of higher education and the information days of foreign universities carried out in Estonia. The school also encourages pupils to take officially recognised language exams (European Portfolio Certificates that have been described by levels in the Common European Framework of Reference for Language).

In order to be admitted to the final exam, the pupil must have studied in a European School for at least the two last study years (S6 and S7). In order to graduate, the pupil must pass a minimum of five written and three oral exams. To receive the leaving certificate of the European School (European Baccalaureate Certificate), pupils must have obtained an average overall mark of 60%. After acquiring secondary education in the European School and passing the required final exams, the pupil is awarded the European Baccalaureate Certificate.

08:15 – 10:40 Lessons 1 – 3
10:40 – 11:05 Break
11:05 – 12:40 Lessons 4 & 5
12:40 – 13:30 Lunch break
13:30 – 16:45 Lessons 6 – 9 (Lessons end at 14:15 on Wednesdays)

NB! All pupils’ mobility programmes between European schools are suspended during the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years.

Temporarily visiting another school in a different country gives a pupil the chance to develop more intensively in many regards, e.g. to improve his/her foreign language skills and to mature through experiencing a different educational and cultural environment.

European schools – both official and accredited – offer the possibility of hosting other pupils as well as supporting their own pupils to visit other schools. Both can take place as real exchanges (visit and return visit) or as one-way visits. Mobility programmes take place regularly within the 1st semester of S4 or S5.

The minimum duration of a visit to a foreign European School is 5 to 6 weeks, the maximum is one semester.

The work experience (WE) is an essential part of the curriculum in the European School System and an obligatory project during Secondary 5.

The basic idea is to offer pupils an experience in a real life working environment to develop professional knowledge and soft skills. The work experience is not necessarily connected to the pupil’s future plans or desired field of study or work.

Duration of WE

Pupils should ideally work for a minimum of 2 weeks, although the absolute minimum requirement is 1 working week. In total, pupils must do 35 hours of work.

There are, at present, 2 options for the work experience:

  1. During the school breaks;
  2. During the summer holidays, before the beginning of the new school year.

If neither of these options is suitable and in justified cases, there might be the possibility to arrange an alternative WE.


  • The pupils are invited to look for a work place themselves and are backed up in all matters concerning this work experience project by the career guidance coordinator in the school.
  • Once the placement has been finalised, a contract between the school, the pupil, and the employer (and the parents, if the pupil is under 16 years old) will need to be signed.
  • During work experience, the pupils are encouraged to work and observe the structure of their place of employment and the working practices of various types of employees.
  • Afterwards they are asked to write a report, which will be part of the evaluation of the work experience project and be useful for the follow-up work done in the career guidance.
  • At the end of the project, all participating pupils receive a certificate attesting their work experience.
  • Their employers will also need to write a report about their time at the company. This must be written by a neutral party, i.e. someone who is not directly related to the pupil.


  • Pupils can work in any EU country, subject to the legislation of that country.
  • In Estonia, pupils can work 8 hours per day if they are at least 15 years old and finished S5. During S5 pupils can work 7 hours per day if the work experience is taking place during the school break. 
  • For more information on working time, please have a look at the appropriate legislation (section 43 of the Employment Contracts Act:

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