A new school for two months
Bridget and Marcus have ditched the winter rain and mud of rural Wiltshire to spend two months in Roquetas de Mar, a small seaside town on the coast near Almeria, Spain. They’ve rented a flat just off the main street through Airbnb, and their daughters, Aurelia and Florrie, aged six and nine, will be going to school in the town during the time that the family is there. Bridget spoke to Winter’s about the trip and finding a school her daughters could attend for just a short time.
The idea of spending some time in Spain had been in the back of our minds for a long time. Both Marcus and I went to school in other countries when we were children and enjoyed the experience. Marcus had lived in Spain and Ecuador when he was growing up, and I also spent a year at the University of Granada on the Erasmus programme, so we both speak reasonable Spanish. We thought it would be good for the girls to pick up a bit of the language, too. This autumn we suddenly decided to go for it and we got everything organised within about six weeks.
"Because we know they’ll be using the UK curriculum here, we can be confident that there won’t be a big gap for the children when they return to the UK"
It took a while to find the right school. We wanted to have a relaxing time as a family and realised that the big cities wouldn’t be right for us. We finally decided on St George’s British School here in Roquetas de Mar; the school secretary was really friendly and helpful, it teaches the English curriculum, and it’s just one street away from the beach!
Because we know they’ll be using the UK curriculum here, we can be confident that there won’t be a big gap for the children when they return to the UK. But at the same time, there’s a high proportion of Spanish children in the school and we assumed that Spanish would be spoken at play time, allowing the girls to pick up some of the language from their friends. The school have been really supportive about the girls coming for a short time, even though most children stay for much longer than two months.
When we first told Aurelia and Florrie about the trip they immediately thought of all the things they would miss, but when we talked to them about the beach, the sunshine and churros and chocolate, they came round to thinking it might be a good idea!
Now we’re here, they seem to be adapting well. At school they have both had a few moments when they have felt homesick and been tearful – especially at break time - but the teachers and other children have really looked after them. We’ve bought plenty of their toys and activities from the UK and I made a point of making sure their bedroom is cosy, with lots of teddies and their own bedding.
We can already see the benefits after just a couple of weeks. Being able to cycle to school – it’s cold but sunny in the morning – and play on the beach in the afternoons is fantastic. The girls are picking up new Spanish phrases every day, and the sense of adventure, and that we’re doing something exciting together as a family, is brilliant.