The thought of disrupting your acim school, especially during the crucial examination years, can be a real stumbling block for parents planning a new life abroad. Fortunately, the number of international schools offering high-quality education here in Mallorca means that this is not necessarily a problem, especially if you wish your child to receive a British education. In fact, small campuses and reduced class-sizes along with a multi-cultural environment usually means that most children thrive, developing language skills more quickly and effectively and benefiting from the attention of teachers who know the names of every student in the school, never mind the class!
The main difference between the international schools on the island is the language of instruction. Although the majority of the schools here teach in English and follow the British curriculum, there is also a French school and a joint German and Scandinavian college. If you choose your child to be educated in a second language, then obviously he/she needs to either start very young or already have a good knowledge of the language. It’s unrealistic to expect a teenager to integrate into a whole new system of education in a language he/she barely understands and international schools are aware that this scenario is not in the child’s, or the school’s, best interests. Most of the centres require students to sit entrance exams in the core subjects -Maths, English (or another language of instruction) and sometimes Science- and will not accept students who show little understanding of the work their future classmates are doing. Tuition can sometimes provide the answers: if parents promise that their child will have extra curricular language coaching until he/she reaches an acceptable standard, the schools are often flexible. But you have to ask!Also worth bearing in mind is that many of the schools have long waiting lists, especially for primary classes, so it’s better to contact the centres as soon as you know your child will be needing a place. As well as the school fees, there’s often an enrollment fee to consider, payable when you register your child, as well as the cost of any uniform, books and equipment.
The Academy was founded in 1985 and is set in seven acres of spectacular grounds, which include playing fields and a swimming pool. Unlike the other international schools, The Academy is situated well outside Palma, but this is compensated by a privileged location with its own sports facilities. The school takes students aged 3 to 16, and from 2007 will offer Cambridge IGCSE exams as well as nursery education for children between 18 months and 3 years old. The language of instruction is English and other subjects offered include Catalan, German, history, geography, Spanish, maths and science.The school offers a huge variety of extra curricular activities, from ballet to guitar, as well as revision and extra help in academic subjects. Students wear a uniform, which is available from the school. For information about current fees, please contact the school.
Baleares International School (B.I.S) celebrates its half century next year. The school offers full-time education to students aged 3 to 18 and follows the British National Curriculum, including Cambridge examinations for students aged 16 and 18. As the school is not licensed to teach the Spanish education system, the majority of the students are English and German and both languages are taught at the school alongside French and Spanish. However, there is also a broad mix of students from many other cultures and countries. Sciences, social sciences, mathematics and computing are also taught, as well as music and art. There is no uniform at B.I.S., although students are expected to dress appropriately for the school environment. Students have some sports facilities on-site, but are also taken to a local sports centre each week. The termly fees start at 1400, including textbooks, and increase with the child’s age.