Education forms the backbone of any child’s upbringing and choosing which school for your children to go to can be one of the most difficult you’ll ever have to make. The Costa del Sol has one of Europe’s most cosmopolitan lifestyles and the schools reflect this melting pot of cultures. As a result, families have a wide choice of education options including a long list of international schools on the Costa del Sol.
But why would you choose to send your child to an international school rather than a Spanish school, for example? Then, when you have a wide range of options, how do you select the right international school on the Costa del Sol for your child? And lastly, which one do you choose?
In this article, we look at the advantages of sending your child to an international school on the Costa del Sol. We also examine how to narrow your choices down and finish with a list of establishments you might like to look for your child.
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Why choose an international school
All children spend a large part of the day at school during their formative years. Six to seven hours from Monday to Friday add up to a lot of time over schooling ages, which in Spain range from 10 (compulsory) to 15 (optional) years.
The Costa del Sol offers several different schooling options including international schools. This type of education has the following advantages:
People from dozens of nationalities have made the Costa del Sol their home and one of the best places to experience this wide range of cultures, languages and outlooks is at an international school. So, if your child thrives on diversity (and most do), an international school will encourage this.
Daily and continuous contact with different cultures opens your mind to new ideas and ways of thinking. International schools on the Costa del Sol therefore help your child to become more open-minded. They’ll find it easier to take on broad alternative opinions and methods. And as a result, probably be more creative, a trait that will serve them well in their adult life.
Children on the Costa del Sol who speak at least two languages (and well) are not an exception and many speak several. Attending an international school gives your child the chance to speak at least English and Spanish fluently. And research shows that bilingual children perform better academically and are more able to think outside the box. Again, a great talent to have in adult life.
Most international schools on the Costa del Sol have first-class facilities and across the curriculum. From digital tools to science laboratories via dedicated sports grounds and art studios, they offer your child the best learning tools.
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Our final reason for choosing an international school on the Costa del Sol is because your child will feel more at home. A classroom where people speak your child’s language and with familiar teaching methods will help the settling-in process.
And if your stay on the Costa del Sol is short-term, attending an international school allows your child to follow the same curriculum as the previous and future school.
How to choose an international school on the Costa del Sol
If the reasons above resonate with you, then the chances are that an international education is the right choice for your child. But how to decide which school is most suitable for your child?
All children are different with varying needs and ways of learning. You’ll know these best, so bear them in mind as well as the following:
Teaching style – schools use different methods of teaching. Some adopt a more academic approach while others go for less study-based options.
Curriculum – international schools on the Costa del Sol tend to follow the Spanish and/or British curricula. Think about what’s best for your child, particularly long-term, when it comes to further education options.
Pupil-teacher ratio – ideally as low as possible so that your child gets maximum attention from the teacher.
Location – there are international schools the length and breadth of the Costa del Sol. Choosing one nearer your home makes transportation more convenient and friends are likely to be nearer too. But one that’s further away could be more suitable for your child.
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Facilities – if your child is keen on sport, you might want to choose a school with good sports facilities. Likewise with music and the arts. Look at the space available too – is there plenty of room to play at break time, for example?
Academic record – if the academic side is important to you, check the school’s rate of exam passes and grades. Some of the international schools on the Costa del Sol rank alongside the best in the world.
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Which international school to choose on the Costa del Sol
And finally, we arrive at the last stage of the process. You know why your child should go to an international school and what to look for in a school. Now it’s time to compile a shortlist of establishments.
To help you do so, we’ve listed all the international schools on the Costa del Sol. We’ve included their location, age-range and the type of curriculum they follow. So, take a look, draw up your list of possible candidates and then arrange a visit to each one.
- Colegio Internacional Torrequebrada 3 to 18 years, Spanish and British National Curricula curriculum
- The British College 2 to 18 years, Spanish and British National Curricula
- International School of Estepona 2 to 11, British National Curriculum
- Queens British Grammar School 3 to 16 years, English A levels, British National Curriculum
- Schellhammer International School 16 to 18 years, English A levels
- St Anthony’s College 3 to 18 years, British National Curriculum
- The Ark Christian School 3 to 18 years, Christian, British National Curriculum
- Aloha College 3 to 18 years, British National Curriculum & IB
- Calpe School 2 to 10 years, British National Curriculum
- Casa del Mar 2 to 12, Montessori programme
- English International College 3 to 18 years, British National Curriculum
- Laude San Pedro 2 to 18 years, British National Curriculum
- Marbella Montessori School 3 to 11, Montessori programme
- St George’s School 2 to 8 years, British National and Spanish curricula
- Swans International School 3 to 18 years, British National and Spanish curricula
- Sotogrande International School 3 to 18 years, IB programme
Let us help you choose
The Realista team have lived and worked in the greater Marbella area of the Costa del Sol since 1992 so we know a thing or two about schools. Get in touch for some friendly advice and tips on how to choose the best international school for your child.