Q+A: The British School of Vila-real, Spain
The British School of Vila-real, part of the Laude group of international schools in Spain, answers our questions and takes us on a guided tour...
What happens when parents visit the school?
When parents visit the school, the Head of Admissions and Marketing, Mrs Esther Bravo, will receive the parents and give them all the details of the admissions process. She will also help them with any questions they may have.
Parents will have the opportunity to experience the atmosphere within the school community, observing some teaching and learning, and meeting our Headmistress, Mrs Philippa Mills or our Deputy Head, Mr Alan Taylor.
They will receive an information pack provided by the Head of Admissions. This includes an application form, which the family will need to complete and return as soon as possible, together with the Registration Fee to reserve a place in the school.
Why should I send my child to your school?
- Our initial priority is to ensure that the children who attend The British School of Vila-real are happy, safe and ready to learn.
- We are a family-oriented community, working together for our children and their futures. Every child, every family, every member of our staff matters to us.
- We want our parents to participate fully in their children’s education, and to be part of a learning community where everyone discovers new things, day by day.
- We engender values such as internationalism, citizenship and charity within a supportive atmosphere.
- Our teaching and learning techniques are creative, visual, practical and inspirational. Therefore we ensure that all our students are well motivated and challenged, whatever their ability.
- We are a team of people motivated by the desire to simply be the best. We encourage our pupils to become responsible citizens in a world which is becoming increasingly competitive.
What Curriculum do you follow?
The British School of Vila-real is recognised by the Spanish Ministry of Education and the British Council in the United Kingdom. Our students obtain British and Spanish qualifications, and this enables them to study at any European university. The school is a member of the National Association of British Schools in Spain (NABSS), and is authorised as an examination centre by the Edexcel and Cambridge exam boards.
Through the British National Curriculum, we prepare our students for IGCSE and A Level examinations, equivalent to the Spanish Secondary Certificate (ESO) and the Sixth Form Certificate (Bachillerato).
How large are the classes in your school?
We recognise the importance of establishing a high teacher/pupil ratio, and for this reason we prioritise the maintenance of small class sizes across the school.
How have your pupils performed in examinations in recent years?
Our school has been in operation for over 20 years, during which time there have been seven generations of students who have completed their studies with us. The percentage of students who have started and finished their school life with us (from age 2 to18 years) is 70%.
During the last two academic years our students have excelled in their examinations, and 100% of our students have accessed Spanish or international universities. Our Sixth Form students progress to some of the very best Spanish universities and to universities around the world, including Great Britain and the USA.
What is the teaching programme in your Sixth Form?
GCSE examinations are the end of compulsory education in the UK, and are followed by Sixth Form or Key Stage 5. This comprises Years 12 and 13, and students work towards sitting their GCE A Level examinations at the end of Year 13. These examinations are required by students to gain access to university. With A Levels, our students have direct access to Spanish and English universities, and they also have the option of applying to universities in other parts of the world.
The Sixth Form is a vibrant body of students, who continue to display multiple talents in many different areas, including academic, sport, social and artistic fields. This is, in particular, where we make a difference, because no other school in this area provides such a varied and inspirational programme of studies. Our students are able to specialise in their chosen subjects, and this allows them to create their own study plan, with the flexibility that the British Curriculum offers.
How do you support pupils who are struggling and how do you challenge the more able?
The British School of Vila-real implements the British curriculum across the board. To ensure the excellent academic performance to which we aspire, it is necessary to look carefully at the range of ability that exists within our classrooms.
With this objective, different supportive strategies are developed. The first of these is called "differentiation", which is a technique designed to expand the teaching content in the classroom. In every class there is a wide range of skills shown by the students, and the tasks and activities that are proposed should be different, depending on the competence of the students. We extend the more gifted children, whilst ensuring that the less able, and indeed the “middle of the roaders”, are pushed to their limits, and thus are able to fulfil their true potential.
At the next level of educational reinforcement we have the Psycho-pedagogical Department, which works with students, parents and teachers in order to facilitate the teaching and learning process. To achieve this, we develop activities designed to anticipate and minimise pupils’ learning difficulties. Our support and advice includes four intervention modules:
- Special Educational Needs
Students who require additional support are evaluated by the school psychologist. Based on the results of the evaluations, an intervention plan is designed for each individual pupil, his/her teachers and possibly also for the parents. This plan is regularly reviewed in order to assess the child’s progress. As part of the school’s internal assessment programme, aptitude tests are carried out in Years 2, 6, 9 and 11.
- Workshops for Parents
This is a regular forum which parents may attend, where they can discuss and share educational experiences. It is also an opportunity for them to learn more about how best to support the learning and educational needs of their children.
- Careers Advice
During the Secondary stage, students complete evaluations on aptitude and career choices in order for the school to give them advice, and to help them understand the requirements and admissions procedures of Higher Education Institutions. Students have first-hand experience of the different study requirements and professions through organised activities.
- Pastoral Care
Great emphasis is placed on pastoral care. Pupils enjoy the security of support from experienced professionals who provide sensitive assistance to pupils who may find themselves in stressful situations and facing some tough challenges. Each pupil is assigned to a form tutor, who takes initial responsibility for the academic and pastoral welfare of all pupils in this class. There are two forms in each year group. Year groups are allocated to “Key Stages”, according to the British system:
- Early Years: Nursery 2 and 3 and Reception
- Key Stage 1: Years 1 and 2
- Key Stage 2: Years 3, 4, 5 and 6
- Key Stage 3: Years 7, 8 and 9
- Key Stage 4: Years 10 and 11
- Key Stage 5: Years 12 and 13
Each Key Stage is assigned a member of staff who deals with situations of a more serious nature. He or she meets regularly with the Form Tutors within the Key Stage, and monitors pupils’ overall progress with Form Tutors.
What languages do you offer?
Students follow the British Curriculum, and also have the opportunity to study the Spanish Curriculum (Lengua y Literatura, Valenciano and Ciencias Sociales). Spanish, German, French and Chinese are studied throughout Year 5, Year 6 and Key Stage 3 as Modern Foreign Languages, and are offered as options at GCSE and A Level. Our agreement with Goethe Institute, French Institute and Confucious Institute, together with our results, are further evidence of our ability to provide a strong Modern Foreign Language curriculum to our students.
How often do parents receive written reports?
We inform our parents about the progress of their child at the end of every term. In addition, every teacher is available during the school week at appointed times, should further assistance be needed.
What extra-curricular activities do you offer in the Senior School?
Extra-curricular activities on offer help develop the all-round individual. There are a number of after-school activities, including Morning Club, multisports, modern dancing, chess, Pequechef/Babychef, Educachef, ballet, Chinese, robotics, art, Pequemúsica, football, swimming, basketball, martial arts, Saturday School and Summer School. (We are planning to develop our drama and musical facilities in the near future.)
Do you have an indoor swimming pool?
We place equal importance on the benefits of fresh air and exercise as we do on the new skills and interests that sport brings to our pupils. Our indoor swimming pool is maintained at a constant 29°C, and has new fully equipped changing rooms. We run a variety of swimming sessions for all ages and swimming abilities.
Do most children bring in packed lunches or eat from the cafeteria?
All meals are taken centrally in the Dining Hall, where our professional catering staff prepare them. Menus are carefully selected to provide a healthy and balanced diet, with plenty of choice to suit all tastes.
Over 750 meals are cooked and served in our school on a daily basis. The school menus, published monthly, are produced by nutritionists, who work for IRCO, our catering company. IRCO has a co-operation agreement with Valencia University and their Public Health and Preventive Medicine Department.
Laude British School of Vila-real, together with IRCO, supervise the food quality every day in order to provide the best possible meals for our children. We have different menus catering for vegetarian, Muslim, celiac and diabetic diets.
Secondary and Sixth Form students have two different menus to choose from, and we also provide all our pupils with healthy snacks at the end of the afternoon before they go home.
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