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COSTA DEL SOL
Special The best option for your child’s education HEN it comes to your children’s education international schools in Spain offer some of the best options available. They are highly popular not just with expats recently arrived in the country but also longer term residents and the Spanish population seeking the very best teaching and learning environments for young students. The Spanish university system has its advantages, such as relatively low university fees but many people want their children to have the opportunity to study elsewhere such as in the UK. This means students must have a high level of English for example and languages are an area in which international schools score highly. Local state schools do often offer good chances of children mixing with the local community and forming local
friendships, but of course, the standard of your child’s education is largely dependent on your teacher and that can be something of a lottery. At the same time the Spanish educational system has often been criticised for its old fashioned, non creative teaching methods. According to EU studies Spain has some of the highest drop-out rates in the EU. On the other hand private and international schools, colleges and academies can be found widely throughout the Costa del Sol. Teaching is available either in Spanish or English - and International schools tailored for German, French and other European communities are also available. This makes the independent sector one of the most viable options for international parents. Their children will be taught in their native language - or in combination
UNIVERSITY: In Salamanca.
MULTINATIONAL STUDENTS: Cheerful students during a lesson in the lecture hall. with Spanish. Many of these schools and colleges accept children from the age of three to 18, ensuring continuity throughout a child’s education. While state schools plunge children straight into the new language and cul-
ture, private English academies allow children to adjust to these changes at their own pace; and generally provide a high standard of education. Parents can also select the private school based on the course or curriculum they wish their child to follow, which can range from the Spanish Bachillerato or the International Baccalaureate (IB) to British GCSEs and Alevels or even the American High School Diploma and college entrance examinations.
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F your children are in secondary school in Spain, particularly if they are 14 or above, you will know that exams will soon be looming. Here is a guide to the different types of qualifications. IGCSEs International GCSEs (IGCSE) are studied from the age of 14 to 16. IGCSEs are the world’s most popular international qualifications for 14 to 16 year olds, according to the British Council. There are more than 70 different subjects on offer under the system, but the amount will vary depending on your child’s school. The exams and course work for IGCSEs are managed by two exam boards, Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) and Pearson Excel. IGCSEs are a good option if your child is thinking of studying in a British university or going there to train or work. They are also recognised by institutions in Spain and elsewhere. A-Levels A-Levels are studied between the ages of 16 and 18. The qualifications are recog-
School exams: the options STUDY CHOICES: It is important to pick the right qualification for your child.
nised by British universities and employers, so your child’s life would be made easier if they are considering studying or working there. A-Levels are assessed by course work and exams, with grades ranging from A* to E. As-
sessments are managed by the same exam board as IGCSEs (see above). There are more than 50 different subjects on offer, but options vary depending on the school. International Baccalaureates
International Baccalaureates (IB) are studied from the ages of three to 19, with 126 schools offering them in Spain. The Primary Years Programme runs from the age of three to 12. The Middle Years Programme runs from the age of
SPECIAL 11 to 16. The Diploma Programme runs from 16 to 19. There is also a Career-related Programme which is to prepare students for higher education, training or the workplace. Spanish Baccalaureate The Spanish Baccalaureate (bachillerato or bachiller in Spanish) is compulsory in state schools and takes two years to complete. They are designed to prepare students for higher education, vocational training or work. The qualification features seven compulsory subjects. These are Spanish language and literature, philosophy and citizenship, Spanish history, science and physical education and regional languages if the school is in an autonomous community such as Valencia or Cataluña. Your child will then choose a speciality, either arts, science and technology or humanities and social sciences. Pupils are also required to study a foreign language which is usually English. The Spanish Baccalaureate is recognised by all universities in the country and throughout the world.
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Revision tips PRING can be one of the best seasons, however for some this time of year brings with it a new challenge; exam time. Whether for entrance exams, GCSEs, or even professional qualifications, success always begins with revision. While it can sometimes feel difficult to get stuck into studying while the weather is great and there is so much else going on, there are tips that can help make the experience an easier one. Firstly, like with most things in life, it helps to have a plan. Revision is only successful if you study the right things in the right amounts, so the priority is
to work out what topics you need to be covering and how much time you can dedicate to studying. Begin by writing down how many hours a day you think you can dedicate to revision and at what times. Now put together a list of all the topics you need to learn about for your test(s), separated by topics and subtopics. Finally, use all this information to create a daily study timetable so you know exactly what you will be learning, when. Also remember that concentration tends to naturally tail off after around 45 minutes, so plan study segments and breaks accordingly. Once you have a timetable, create a peaceful
STUDY TIME: Make sure to plan out time and find a quiet area to revise. and comfortable area to study in where you will be able to concentrate without being disturbed by noise or become distracted. Before you sit down to revise, make sure you have enough water or snacks to keep you going and try to choose foods which release energy over long periods of time, such as
wholegrain bread. Now you have everything you need, you can choose to go through any material you need to learn, picking out the most important elements with a highlighter before writing them out in note form. To memorise these, some people like to write them over and over, while others prefer to record and
then listen to themselves or perhaps ask someone to test them. Whichever way works for you, remember to give your brain the space it needs to absorb large amounts of information by taking frequent breaks and even doing short bursts of exercise, which has been shown to improve cognitive function.
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Let them play! L
OOKING for a multilingual day-care centre that encourages children to be happy and creative? Then look no further than Joy Playschool in Estepona, Atalaya. Offering yoga, music, dancing, cooking, art and more, the school is open seven days a week and can cater for children from eight months to 12 years. The school has been set up by friendly mumof-two Tabi Olamai, who has years of experience teaching art to children in Sweden and London. And with English, Swedish, Farsi and Spanish, she’s more
PRE-SCHOOL: Teacher in the classroom with the children. JOY PLAYSCHOOL: Happy children enjoying their time whilst engaging in various and creative tasks. than likely to speak your language. “We offer a harmonious and inspiring space for children to be happy, calm and creative,” Tabi explains. “Our facilities have been carefully designed for the new generation
of children in mind. “Clear, tranquil, uncluttered spaces allow children to be free and still, peaceful and happy in this busy world.” Healthy food will be provided throughout the day and there are also holiday clubs.
For more information call: 672 416 209 or email: email@example.com.
First steps to school… STRICTLY speaking your children do not have to go to school until the age of six in Spain it is compulsory from the ages of six to 16. But in practice most parents search for pre-school educational facilities. Some establishments will even take children who are just a few months old. Known as Educaccion infantil, preschool generally comes in two stages nursery schools (guarderias) can cater for children from as young as three months up to three years old, while infant schools (escuela infantil) are for children
from three until six, although some schools combine the two. The latter normally offer education between the ages of two to six, although this varies from school to school. There are many options available to the parents of young children - including English-speaking pre-schools catering for the expatriate communities around the country. Although some people view nurseries as offering childcare, the best are fully involved in child development, helping prepare children for infant school.
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Spanish university options SO what happens to your children after they have left school? If the student has been fortunate enough to have been educated at a private international school then they are
almost guaranteed to have finished their schooldays with top qualifications recognised just about anywhere in the world. It is natural therefore that
school leavers will be looking to further their education at university as they make their way into the world. And for international students they are fortunate to be able to choose whether to continue their studies here or back in their ‘home’ countries. While many people will know all about their home country’s further education system, they may not know too much about Spain’s. The nation is home to some of the world’s leading universities, with many
internationally recognised for excellence. The majority of courses are taught in Spanish but there are some English courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate level designed to accommodate international students. Universities in Barcelona lead the pack in the country’s higher education rankings. The Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona topped the latest league tables nationally and is currently 140th in the world. It is a fairly new universi-
ty, having opened in 1990, and would be a particularly good option for students seeking to study Catalan which is its official language, although it has 27 degree programmes taught in English. Its strengths lie in the humanities, social sciences, health and life sciences and information communication technology which are taught across three campuses. The Autonomous University of Barcelona comes second, with its main campus located in Bellaterra around 25 min-
PANORAMIC VIEW: The Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona ranked number 140 in the world.
utes from the city centre. It offers 87 undergraduate degrees, 315 master’s degrees and 68 PhD programmes, with business management and administration, primary education and tourism taught fully in English. The University of Barcelona ranked third and it is one of the biggest and most established in Spain having first opened in 1450. Two of its courses, International Business and English Studies, are taught wholly in English and five more are delivered partially in English. The University of Navarra in the Basque Country is fourth place in the league tables and was founded in 1952 with a Catholic ethos. It has 14 faculties and agreements with universities in Washington, Hong Kong and Edinburgh for international exchanges. It is based in Pamplona, home to the running of the bulls and the San Fermin festival. The Autonomous University of Madrid ranks fifth and is based outside the city in the Cantoblanco area. Famous alumni include former government ministers and King Felipe VI who studied law and economics.
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PARENTS and teachers know how hard it can sometimes be to get children away from their tablets and smart phones. So why not make technology use work for their learning with a range of interactive tools? While technology can never replace face-to-face learning or outdoor play, there are ways to use technology to support a child’s education. Experts advise limiting access to tablets or phones for those aged under two, however from around three years old until beginning school, technology can introduce children to basic concepts such as counting. Interactive apps like Fish School can help reinforce learning about the alphabet, numbers, shapes, and colours. This age is also a great time to begin introducing children to audio books. Offering 24,000 audio books in 30 languages, apps such as Librivox can turn long car journeys or flights into a chance to
APP EDUCATION: Tablets and phones can be used to support learning. small children to learn. Tablets and phones can also be used to show children more about animals or elements of nature you may come across as you
travel. As children begin junior school, support their classroom learning with online reading apps, such as Starfall. Alternatively, as
they begin to learn about drawing, help bring out their inner artist with Kids Doodle. When lessons progress to newer subjects, such as
maths and science, make learning fun with quiz-style apps such as Little Panda Math Genius or the Science Fun Facts app. If children begin learning basic
SPECIAL cooking lessons at this age, support their education with YouTube videos teaching baking or kitchen safety. At senior school, geography and history knowledge can be tested using online quizzes on specific topics. When it comes to key exam ages, however, target specific syllabus knowledge with revision guides, such as the BBC Bitesize website (https://www.bbc. com/bitesize), which offers help on UK curriculums. For students aged 16 and upwards who may need in-depth support for essays or exams, try website Edx. Created by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), this tool offers free online courses on hundreds of topics from two of the world’s best universities. Finally, when it comes to exam time, help children plan their time with apps such as My Study Plan to make sure they stay on track.
Make the most of school breaks THE Costa del Sol offers a wealth of fun activities and camps to keep children entertained during the Easter and summer school breaks. These options are life
savers for working parents who have busy schedules, offering a safe and secure environment in which children can socialise, participate in a variety of activities and
experience new things. And many of the fun and educational activities and camps are low cost so that everyone has a chance to try something new and exciting. In fact, the biggest problem is probably deciding which ones to choose. Activities include performing arts such as dancing, singing, acting, learning an instrument; taking part in team sports or individual sports coaching; joining a social club or hobby group. Costa del Sol boasts an array of summer camps and schools which cater for infants to older teens, offering activities to suit all tastes. Some are geared towards athletic and creative programmes, others focus on languages, maths or science, and there are some dedicated to film-making. British children living
OPTIONS: There’s an abundance of camp options for kids. in Spain may benefit from a Spanish language camp which provides an opportunity for children to be in contact with other students of different nationalities, while enjoying social, cultural and sports activities. The common factor is always an emphasis on fun and social interaction.
They normally run for four weeks but students can choose to join for the whole course or for individual weeks, taking part in outings and adventure days. If summer schools or camps are not your thing, there are plenty of places to explore with activities to take part in as a family, such as go kart rides and
cable cars, zoos, safaris, sea life experiences, museums and art galleries. Visit the theme, water, trampoline, and indoor/ outside play parks and centres, or perhaps try out a sightseeing tour, or one of an array of water, land, and air adrenaline challenges. The options are endless.
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Excellence in education is a passion HE Managing Director of the MTA Group, Julie Holdsworth is delighted to announce the opening of their new tutoring service on the Costa del Sol as MTA Malaga Province is now open for business. Mallorca Tutoring Academy has been based on the island of Mallorca for over 10 years, working to provide excellence in education and customer service. Their journey started in September 2009 when Julie and her business partner first took the initial steps to open their education academy, based near Palma. Since then many things have changed and the business has grown into what it is today. The pair learnt a huge amount from those early days and Julie is proud to head up a team of tutors and support staff who believe passionately in their jobs. The new academy is based in Nueva Torrequebrada, near Benalmadena International College.
MTA: Are ready to help.
Initially they will offer their Senior Academy service, helping students from 11 to 18-year-olds and they plan to grow to emulate the Mallorca operation by the end of 2019. The supplementary educational programmes are wide ranging and include English, mathematics and sciences at all levels up to A level. The Academy also provides tuition for students who need to improve their skills in Spanish and Catalan, at all levels. In addition they deliver tuition for all the Cambridge English examinations along with SAT, ACT and
Classes are held from 10am daily until 7.30pm and 9.30am until 2pm on Saturday Contact details for MTA Malaga Province are: Local 4, Centro Comercial Nueva Torrenueva Avenida Estrella del Mar 2, Nueva Torrequebrada 951 518 821 • 660 976 322 Facebook: MTA Malaga Province • Web www.tutoringacademy.eu
TOEFL for those students who may wish to study overseas. Julie and her team are committed to continue to work closely with their clients utilising their highly regarded academic excellence and experience. The primary focus is to enhance the skills and knowledge gained at schools and colleges whilst building the students’ confidence in their chosen subjects and developing an ability to learn independently. They pride themselves on a first class service. Small class sizes (maximum six) ensure they are able to offer an individualised and tailored programme to match their individual requirements but more importantly their learning style. MTA students enjoy working with them and the modern technology that forms the foundation to their studies. The team are passionate about education in the widest sense so that each student can realise their full potential.
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Teaching trips of the famous F you need some inspiration to take that leap and teach in a foreign land, look no further than these famous figures who did just that and loved it. Bob Geldof Geldof spent time teaching English in Spain, in the city of Murcia. He had no training, but there were no international standards or training qualifications at the time. Schools were merely looking for native English speakers who spoke no Spanish, and Geldof fit the bill perfectly. John Krasinski Krasinski was set on being an English teacher when he went to Brown University, but during his time there he spent six months teaching it in Spanish-speaking Costa Rica. The experience trans-
formed Krasinski’s career outlook and he returned with a desire to immerse himself in theatre and acting. It seems we have Costa Rica to thank for Jim Halpert. Charlotte Bronte The writer of Jane Eyre and The Professor travelled to Belgium to teach English in the mid-1800’s to pay for her boarding school tuition fees. She went twice, with the first trip cut short by the death of her mother. Some literary critics claim her experience inspired some events featured in The Professor.
TEACHING TRIP: Charlotte Bronte taught in Belgium.
Prince William In late 2000, Prince William volunteered for 10 weeks as an English teacher in Spanish speaking Chile. The episode was part of his gap year and he lived with other teachers from the Raleigh International programme in the small commune of Tortel. J K Rowling Rowling taught English in Portugal in the early 1990’s. She spent her afternoons and evenings teaching, and her mornings writing. In fact, it was during her time in Porto that she began to write her globally successful Harry Potter series. Benedict Cumberbatch After leaving boarding school, Cumberbatch decided to take a gap year to teach English in Darjeeling, India, at a Tibetan monastery. He taught 12 monks that spanned in age
ROYAL APPOINTMENT: Prince William travelled to Spanish-speaking Chile.
from eight to 40 years old and also learned much about Buddhism. He said that the monks taught him much more than he could ever teach them. Hugh Jackman The star of X-Men and Les Miserables travelled from his native Australia to teach Physical Education at Uppingham School in Rutland, Britain in the late 1980’s. Acting soon came along but his teaching days never left him, he is said to have run into a former student on the red carpet in 2013. Steven Seagal At just 17, Seagal moved from the US to teach English in Japan. While there, he pursued his deep love for the Japanese martial arts of aikido, karate, judo and kendo, which he later incorporated into films. Seagal’s first wife was Japanese and he learned the language well enough to speak some of it in his film, Into the Sun. James Joyce Joyce spent time teaching English in Italy at the Berlitz Academy, to flee the impacts of the First World War. He later said that many of the people he met during his time teaching English abroad inspired characters in Ulysses. Oliver Stone After finishing secondary school in 1965, Stone forewent his acceptance to Yale University to spend time teaching English in Vietnam. He spent six months teaching students at the Free Pacific Institute in Saigon. Sylvester Stallone While studying at the American College of Switzerland in the 1960’s, Stallone worked as a gym teacher to earn some extra spending cash. What better way to use the TPR (total physical response) teaching method than sports.
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Taking the academic path to an education IF you are looking for an alternative to traditional schools, why not take a look at academies. These are ideal for those who have a good idea about what career path they want to take, and can therefore specialise early. For example, if your child wants to get into design, there are a number of academies, state recognised by the Spanish Ministry of Education, which can help them achieve their goal. Courses can be studied full time or even during evening classes, allowing flexibility. For example the international Marbella Design Academy offers cutting edge Bachelor of Arts Validated programmes of up to three years, as well as foundation courses which can be completed in three months, and short summer courses of up to five weeks.
OPTIONS: Academies offer flexible study options.
OPPORTUNITIES: Students can work on real life projects. Students can select from interior architecture and design, graphic design and media and fashion design and manufacture, with programmes starting twice a year. Academy students become involved in developing co-operations and real life projects with the wider professional
industry with the ultimate goal of maximising employment prospects after graduation. For those with a talent and passion for creating art or people who simply want to broaden their knowledge and skills, why not try an art academy. Art academies offers a range of programmes in drawing, painting, sculpture and digital art, which can be taken as an intensive or part-time course, or even during the Easter and summer breaks. Students completing an intensive course may be given the opportunity to
enrol in a residency programme which provides a chance to focus on art while mixing with and gaining knowledge and advice from professional artists. Or perhaps your child is into sport in which case there are academies dedicated to football and golf for example. These educational centres give budding athletes the chance to train like professionals with experienced coaches. Academy students can capitalise on the opportunity to combine their academic studies with a demanding training programme.
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UBTLE changes often go unnoticed, but the reality is education has changed dramatically over the last 50 years. School life was very different five decades ago, in terms of disciplines, attitudes, demographics and other important elements. Uniforms are like Marmite, you either love them or hate them. But half a century ago they were compulsory in the majority of schools to avoid any inequality in the classroom. These days, students in the public sector can wear almost whatever they want. A recent American survey by Statistic Brain found that parents are the ones against uniforms because they feel it hinders studentsâ€™ self-expression and personal liberty. But teachers argue that they promote school pride and positive behaviour, and reduce peer pressure and competition within the classroom. On the subject of discipline, teachers treated stu-
The changing face of schools
UNIFORMS: Were compulsory 50 years ago. dents differently 50 years ago. They expected discipline and no disrespect was allowed in the classroom.
Teachers were also called Mr and Mrs, rather than by their first names, which maintained a level of
DISCIPLINE: Teachers expected respect. authority. In addition, parents were more likely to believe a version of a story or incidents
SPECIAL given by the teacher over that of their children. Decades ago, the main way of passing on knowledge to the students was through direct and verbal, but today teachers interact with the class far more and use visual aids. They also use projects and coursework rather than just giving lectures. Experts believe this helps students learn more effectively using todayâ€™s methods. A report by Pew Social Trends states almost 40 per cent of women aged 25 to 32 have a college degree, compared to just over 30 per cent of men. Fifty years ago, just 12 per cent of women of this age had higher education compared to 20 per cent of men. The social situation has changed a lot, with waves of feminism helping to alter things. And another major difference is the fact that most days at school started with a prayer half a century ago. It will be fascinating to see what changes take place over the next few decades.
Costa del Sol - School - Special 14 - 20 March 2019 Issue 1758