Saturday, 8th May 2021

This Month's Magazine
Where do you give your children a fair education?

Where do you give your children a fair education?

It seems Andalucia is a good bet, Says Sebastian Polinares.

According to an article published by a leading Spanish newspaper, there are as many ESO (Educación Segundaria Obligadoria) students repeating their previous year’s course in the Malaga region as there are in Barcelona with four times the number of students.

In numbers, this corresponds to 13,500 students having to repeat the previous year. This is not to say that Barcelona have a good record as it stands third worst nationally with 125,672 students repeating (5.3 million inhabitants), after Madrid with 33,808 (6 million inhabitants) and Seville with 19,251 (1.8 million inhabitants). Malaga and Cadiz follow. It is pointed out that out of the worst 5 regions, three are in Andalucia.

But are things any better in Britain, where Ofsted report that a quarter of a million children a year are being failed by primary schools, when only 57 per cent of 11-year-olds reached the required standard - meaning four out  of ten pupils leave without mastering all the three Rs?

These children will struggle to keep up at secondary school and many will be dumped on the educational scrapheap, leaving at the statutory age still unable to write or read or add up, or worse all three.


Although the Spanish system gives children a better chance, forcing them to repeat their previous year, it would seem that the underlying factor is down to weak teaching, which unfortunately headmasters and teachers alike refuse to accept in both countries. Parents do not want to gamble their children’s future in poor squabbles about what the education should or should not be like, therefore, if they can possibly afford it, they will send them to private schools, so we start to see headlines like “More than half of families with children in private education had to sacrifice foreign holidays this year as school fees soar”.

It is stated that many families had to cut back their spending on holidays, cars, restaurants meals and other small pleasurable luxuries to pay for school fees which in the UK would seem to have spiralled up by some 50%, twice the rate of Britain’s inflation, ranging from £st.10,000 to as much as £st.25,000 per year for the most elite schools.

Problem solved, one might say. Regrettably the Office of Fair Trading reports that more than 50 leading private schools in Britain were fined more than £3million after being found guilty of “fee-fixing” in 2005, while Ofsted reports that some of the worst schools in England are to be found in the private sector. Ofsted’s most recent annual report showed that in 2001-2, only 60% of private institutions that did not belong to the Independent Schools Council met all their legal obligations. So where do we go from here?

On balance, we seem to be better off on the state education in Spain, certainly better off on the cost of private education on the Costa del Sol and certainly with better results judging by the GCSE pass rate obtained by schools like Mayfair Academy. No  wonder Britain is moving to Spain! 

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