In relocating to the Costa del Sol, many parents are clearly concerned about what kind of schools are available for their children to attend, and the same applies with the parents of first-borns who are living locally. They needn’t worry, as a bit of research will bear out, for there are a number of highly regarded schools in this area, with excellent academic records to match.
FOR THE LITTLE ONES
Firstly, for the youngest ones, you can send your child to nursery or kindergarten and choose from a range of English, Spanish or bilingual institutions and you will often be offered the flexibility of full- or half-day care. Then again, there are already some schools and particular institutions like Childrens Place Bilingual Nursery that specialise in looking after children in the 2 – 6 age category, offering a natural stepping stone into primary education.
Parents looking for a primary school can decide between a Spanish state school or an International school. The former has the advantage of completely immersing the child in a Spanish-speaking environment with the advantage of guaranteeing an early fluency in the language, and some elect to do this when their child is still young, even if they subsequently send them to an International school. To an extent, the opposite is true of Spanish parents, some of whom send their young children to an International school, which normally offers a bilingual platform, thus giving their offspring a strong grounding in English.
Most International schools receive children from 3 years old and, although the fees can be quite expensive, they usually have an enviable record of turning out highly qualified and multi-talented students some 15 years later. You will have to consider many factors in selecting which International school would be best for your child, such as location, availability of places, cost, school’s academic record and facilities and the curriculum you favour, as some operate under the British National curriculum, for example English International College (EIC) and the British School of Marbella, whereas others follow the International Baccalaureate programme, such as Aloha College and Sotogrande International School. There is also the Colegio Aleman in Elviria which is a German International school and other colleges specialising in French & Swedish. Most of these schools will have a host of impressive facilities as well as a full range of extra-curricular activities.
WORDS BY Iain Blackwell