Madrid’s Love Affair With British Education

Ever since the first British school opened its doors in Madrid in 1940, Spanish parents have made huge efforts to educate their children in the British system, immersing them in an
English-speaking environment from before they could even read or write.

Over the years, generations of Spanish youngsters have mixed with international newcomers and foreign nationals from across the globe with one aim in mind: to receive an education that opens doors not only here in Madrid but anywhere their future may take them.

What to expect from a British school in Madrid

Education: All British schools in Madrid follow the National Curriculum with its key stages and curriculum qualifications clearly mapped out, culminating in IGCSE, IB and/ or A Levels.
Teachers: The majority of British schools in Madrid have British educated teachers who are native English speakers from across the diaspora of countries where English is a first language.

Madrid’s British schools have a core of loyal and extremely talented expat teachers who have opted to follow their careers in a capital city that allows skilled vocational educators the
chance to thrive in a job they love. Believe it or not, unlike in many other European capital cities, it is indeed possible to live on a teacher’s salary in Madrid!

Culture: One of the legacies of the pervasive influence of British education in Madrid is a familiarity with traditions that have become universally recognizable over time. Long before
supermarkets stocked Halloween-themed sweets & masks or Christmas stockings, Spanish children at British schools in the Sixties and Seventies were learning about Guy Fawkes,
Christmas crackers and Pancake Day.

Despite the novelty wearing off as most of these customs become synonymous with bilingual education in Madrid, some private schools like the British
Council School also promote cultural activities such as World Book Day with students dressing up as a character from their favourite children’s book for the day.

Values: Although fundraising events like sponsored walks or bake sales aren’t as popular at British schools in Madrid as they are at their cousins over in the UK, charitable aims are
nevertheless promoted at schools with events such as “operación kilo” where non-perishable food is collected for foodbanks.

Cash donations are also requested from parents at certain times of the year for Domund (if the school is Catholic) or for one-off appeals from chosen charitable foundations, usually related to children or education. Students over the age of 15 are encouraged to spend time doing volunteer work in the community, especially those who study the International Baccalaureate instead of A Levels.

Sport: British schools in Madrid have some of the best sports facilities in Spain. Team sports, swimming and gymnastics are part of the curriculum at Primary and Secondary school.
Unfortunately, not many schools offer rugby and there is still no culture of cricket here. However, primary teachers do their best to teach the students classic British PE games such as
rounders and netball.

Bright future: The aim of all British schools in Madrid is to provide students with the best start in life. The British education system has been one of the greatest exports of the UK, with
students across the world gaining qualifications that equip them to work wherever they wish.

These young creative thinkers have benefited from a wholesome education through which they have gained confidence, knowledge and independence.

Spoilt for choice

If you are new to Madrid and seeking advice on which school might best suit your children, an overwhelming majority of newcomers turn to the thriving Madrid Education Facebook group
for practical pointers. Moderated by four of the best educational experts that this city boasts, this group supports parents as they make their decisions.

Parents chat among themselves and share opinions on all schools in Madrid, with many threads covering each of the British schools that provide sterling education to thousands of pupils across the city year on year.

With this level of choice, we at the Madrid Metropolitan have no doubt that quality is guaranteed.

Dominique White

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