Gymnázium Pierre de Coubertine in Tábor. “Gymnázium” has been of the significant secondary schools not only in Tabor but also in the southern Bohemia region for several decades. It houses 614 students and 60 teachers, so we can rank it among the bigger schools.
A large late 19th century building, which is going to celebrate its 100th birthday, forms a remarkable dominant feature of the town centre above the Jordan damn. In 1997 a new complex with a modern sports hall was built and added to the original building. This hall is used not only by the school itself (for P.E. lessons and other sports activities), but a lot of significant sports competitions from local to international character are held there. Thanks to a rich tradition in sport, variety of language studies, where French plays an important role, and other positive circumstances, the school was named after the founder of the modern olympic games, Pierre de Coubertine in 1999. The Czech Republic joined the worldwide net of Coubertine schools. The grammar school gained some new international contacts, it represents our town, region and even the republic at regular international meetings of these schools.
The common feature that could characterize our school is probably the variety. First it is the variety of age groups that every visitor has to notice. Every day these 11 year old students meet the 19 year old counterparts. The fact is that we provide students with different programmes of study: 4 year course for 15 year olds who finish primary education ( this type is the most common in our school system), 4 year course with the possibility of focusing on languages — English and German — and humanities. A special type is the 6 year billingual course for 13 year old students, which is one of four in the whole republic. The methods of both the Czech and French system of education are well-balanced here. The French side is involved in this type of study as its running requires native speakers, original textbooks and methods. The last type is for those smallest and liveliest 11 year olds who attend the school for 8 years. The tradition of this type was revived after the Velvet Revolution in 1989.
In general, our school provides the students with a varied choice of foreign languages — they prefer English these days, we need to concentrate on German more, recently the interest in Spanish and French has increased. Even Russian is taught in our school as an optional subject and we are also able to teach Latin to interested students. Foreign language studies are closely connected with international contacts. 10 day exchange stays are an informal part of the curriculum for billingual classes, so our Czech-French department can be proud of its foreign partners from different parts of France. There is a long tradition in bilateral contacts of our school with Germany — Konstanz and Eggenfelden and Austria — Modling. The most frequent forms are student and teacher exchange stays and choir concerts. In addition our students take part in exchange stays with Spanish and Italian students (Madrid and Brescia). Students are offered a lot of after-school activities. They can choose from language courses or different sports activities which are provided by the SportsCentre in our school. Those gifted ones can become members of our school choir which hold several performances a year not only at school. Big attention is also given to the development of information technologies. Our students have access to computers in three computer rooms, they can use the Net free of charge and even create their own website. That variety of interest is reflected in our students participation in different competitions where they traditionally achieve very good results and often rank among the best ones.
The presence of Grammar School Pierra de Coubertine is firmly fixed in the minds of our town’s inhabitants. Not only due to its location in the centre, its significant position in regional education but also due to the fact that most Taborians have a close relationship with this school. The fact that they are still interested in school, its teachers and development proves that time has not made them indifferent to the fate of their school.