Families face many challenges when moving abroad. Among these are the usual problems of where to live and whether to rent or buy. Getting to grips with a new culture and language is certainly one of them. Furthermore, families with children need to think about which school to send their children to. In Spain, particularly the seaside towns of Valencia and Alicante parents can choose to integrate into the Spanish school system or they can enrol their children in one of the many international schools in Valencia and Alicante with curriculums similar to those found at home.
Why pick a Spanish school?
There are many positive reasons to choose a Spanish school. One reason is that your child has the opportunity to mix with other local Spanish children. Another very important reason is that they have a greater chance of learning Spanish when fully immersed in an education based on the language. Best of all, the state schools cost nothing.
How about an international school?
Is a local, Spanish school the right solution for you? Perhaps if your child is a little older, then there are some major benefits to picking an international school. It can be difficult for some children to make the transition from the education of their home country to a Spanish one. They may also want to go back to the education system of there, to university, for instance. Most of the International schools in Valencia and Alicante follow an English language syllabus, with a British-style curriculum being very popular here.
How can you find the right school?
One of the best ways to find the right school for your children is through word of mouth. Look at foreigner community forums and websites for insider information. After you have made a shortlist, most schools in the area will be happy to show you and your children around. This will give you an excellent indication of the environment.
What should you look out for?
How do staff and students interact? Is there a sense of mutual respect between them? Do the students seem engaged with the learning and are they playing an active role in their education? Take a look at the equipment they have. Are computers modern and up-to-date? Do they have specialist technology for different creative applications? These are some of the essential aspects you should look out for in a school.
After you have found your ideal school, take a closer look at the curriculum, fees and results they achieve. Private schools are expensive and represent a significant investment, so it is worth spending a bit of time on the details.
How should you apply?
The school should be able to give you advice on how to apply and the arrangements for payment. Having a Spanish bank account should help ease the process along. If choosing an International school in Valencia or Alicante, bear in mind that they usually require a uniform. State schools, on the other hand, do not ask students to attend in uniform. You should also consider the added costs of equipment, books and school trips.
What schools are there?
Here is a list of international schools in the Valencia region:
- British School of Valencia
- American School of Valencia
- Caxton College in Puzol
- El Plantio International School
- English School Los Olivos
Here are some of the international schools found in Alicante:
- Elian’s British School La Nucía
- Lady Elizabeth School, Alicante
- Xàbia International College
Research thoroughly before deciding
There are pros and cons to international schools and local schools. It is a significant investment of time and resources both financially and for your child’s future. Make sure that you reserve time to properly investigate finding the right school for your child. Any decision you make needs to account for many factors, so ensure that the school you choose fits your criteria.