If your priority is for your child to integrate fully and become fluent in the language as quickly as possible then a Spanish state school may be the answer. However, there are disadvantages. Whilst schools in Spain have improved enormously in recent years, there are still some problems within the system.
Primary schools are often criticised for their traditional and unimaginative teaching practices and years of poor teacher training and under-investment in education (resulting in poorly paid and unmotivated teaching staff) have left their mark. The large amount of foreign pupils flooding schools on the coast have exacerbated the problem with teachers unable to cope with so many non-Spanish speaking pupils. As there is no streaming in Spain, all classes are of mixed ability and there are no national level testing exams as is the case in the UK.
Whilst Spain's state schools are non-fee paying, parents must pay for school books, school supplies and extra curricular activities such as sport, music and art. The bureaucracy and paperwork required for enrolling your child in a Spanish school is lengthy, complicated and only manageable if you speak at least some Spanish. If your child is transferring from a UK secondary school their existing education has to be verified. This process is called Homologation (homologacion) or Verification. Once the verification papers have been received and stamped by the Department of Education your child can take up a place at a Spanish school.
Of the many benefits in enrolling your child in an International School, the main one must be that an International school will enable your child to ease his or her way into school without the pressure of being immersed in a foreign language from day one. Classes are smaller and most schools follow the British National Curriculum with exams taken as in the UK. Another advantage of placing your child in an International School is, should you decide to return to the UK, there will be no disruption in your childÂ’s education. Also, you will understand the curriculum and it will be easier for you to join in the school community.
Whilst facing the, sometimes, daunting task of choosing a school in a foreign land, the main thing to remember is a quote from Charles Clarke, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (May 2003) in which he states that - Â“Excellent teaching gives children the life chances they deserve and enjoyment is the birthright of every child.
The most powerful mix is the one that brings the two together. When children are happy with what they are doing they learn to love learningÂ”.
The motto of Mayfair International Academy is Â´Excel and EnjoyÂ´ and, as one of the most beautiful schools on the coast, it would be difficult not to enjoy learning in such a stunning environment. The Academy has its own fitness centre and two swimming pools and students come from as far afield as Duquesa and Elviria. The Academy is an examination centre for Cambridge, AQA and CYMCA qualifications and is also registered with the DfES for SATS.
Enrolment for the new school year is already underway with some classes already fully subscribed.