Choosing the school where your child will study in Spain is an important and responsible process, because it is the school that lays the foundation for further study at university, a successful future and building a career.
First of all, if talking about students of primary and secondary age, it is recommend parents to think about what your child needs right now, what his abilities are worth developing, and where he will be psychologically comfortable to study. A lot depends on the last factor! Does he or she like the school? Does he or she want to go there? If he wants to run to school in the morning, he will have excellent results in his studies.
Some parents, having chosen a university in advance, try to choose a school according to the same criteria that will be needed to study in high school. But when choosing a school should be guided by what will be needed to educate the child for the next 5-7 years.
Pay attention to the talents and abilities of the child, on what he wants to do - sports or creativity, or maybe music? Developmental additional classes are available in almost all private schools in Spain, but there are also those that, for example, pay a lot of attention to sports development and so on.
For older children, be sure to pay attention to the bachelor programs offered by the institution - they determine what certificate your child will receive at the end, and whether this certificate will "play into your hands" when entering the chosen university.
Thus, in private schools in Spain are common 3 bachillerato programs:
Bachillerato Internacional, or IB, an international baccalaureate program, is a program that prepares students for admission to a university, the IB diploma is recognized by universities in Europe and the United States, including the most prestigious.
Bachillerato Dual, or Diploma Dual allows you to graduate with two high school diplomas at once - Spanish (Título de Bachiller) and American (American High School Diploma), and the child attends classes in person at a Spanish school and online classes at an American school.
British schools in Spain prepare students for the IGCSE (14-16 years) and A-Level (16-18 years) programs. The IGCSE certificate certifies achievement of compulsory secondary education in the British system, and with it a pupil can enter a high school in Great Britain or continue studies in Spain in the A-Level program. That is why this program is ideal for those who are going to enter a British university after high school.
Accordingly, if you already see more or less clearly for yourself the prospect of your child studying at a university - Spanish, American, British or other - already at the middle and high school stage you can choose the appropriate bachillerato program.
Another practical tip: Take into account where the school is located. Despite the fact that almost all private schools in Barcelona offer their own shuttle bus and several routes around the city and even the suburbs, it is worth bearing in mind that the road to school and home is rush hour, which entails traffic jams, especially in large cities. Therefore, a long road can be tiring for the child.
If you do not own a house in Barcelona and you want to buy or rent a house, it is easier to choose a school that meets your criteria and then apply for housing. If you have already decided on the housing, and even more so if you do not have the opportunity to take your child to class by yourself, it is worth considering the distance from home to the school and the travel time.
Pay attention to the place where the school is located. Is the area green enough, maybe there is a park nearby, where children are taken for walks? Is there enough space for outdoor games during breaks? All of these things are important for a pleasant and healthy leisure time for your child at school.
What other questions to ask at the interview and what to pay attention to:
Languages of instruction and their percentages
The official language of Spain is Spanish, and it is taught in all public schools in Spain and many private schools. But there are a lot of private international schools in Spain, and in particular in Catalonia and more so in Barcelona. And such schools usually independently determine the percentage of languages in which the subjects are taught.
Are there preparatory courses or adaptation programs for foreign students?
Spain is one of the most hospitable countries, and foreigners here - a phenomenon absolutely usual. But even though a child will be welcome in the new school, it is worth bearing in mind that some children are sensitive to change, to a new environment, can get upset when they do not understand something in class or in communication with classmates. Help ease the adaptation in this case can be special courses and classes for foreign students, which are offered in many private schools. Each school has its own system of such classes and this can be clarified even at the interview.
Perhaps all the charm of having your own school swimming pool, soccer field and other installations will be best understood by those parents who have already had the experience of a daily "steeplechase" for clubs and activities after school. Take the child from classes, take him to a circle, wait, then another, and if they are even far away from each other, and then more classes.
The same applies to additional creative and musical classes - many private schools offer a wide range of circles for all tastes, be sure to specify a complete list, schedule and conditions of their visit.
If your child is already into a particular sport, you can choose schools that specialize in this sport (for example, in the case of soccer or tennis, there are professional academies with a parallel secondary education.
Size of school, number of children.
Remember how in our days in public schools there were 30-40 people in a class, and even the most brilliant teacher was simply not able to pay attention to everyone. Private schools in Spain pay much attention to an individual approach to each student. Regardless of the size of the school and the total number of students, the criterion by which you can be guided is the ratio of teachers to students.
Entrance examinations and selection on a competitive basis
The factor that, at first glance, may seem like a minus and an additional reason to worry whether the child can get into the desired school, upon deeper consideration turns out to be a plus: if the school has high requirements and great competition for a place, this indicates its popularity and, therefore, prestige, and a good academic program.
If there are such exams, be sure to find out at the interview, which subjects are taken in the exam at admission, what the child should know: so you can be fully prepared, pay special attention to the necessary disciplines, hire a tutor to better prepare for admission.
What is the place of the school in the ranking of Spain
Rankings are made according to clear criteria, and compliance with them is carefully checked. Therefore, a good place in the rating is another "tick" in the list of the school's merits, because it also means a good academic performance.
Average score of students on the Selectividad
The beautiful and melodious word Selectividad has made many students who are preparing for university a little worried and worked hard: Selectividad is a special exam which is also known as EBAU (Evaluación de Bachillerato para el Acceso a la Universidad or Assessment of Baccalaureate for University Admission) or PAU.