The thought of disrupting your child's education, 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 centers 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 centers 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 (BIS) 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 BIS, 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 center each week. The termly fees start at 1400 €, including textbooks, and increase with the child's age.
Bellver International College was founded in 1950, making it the longest established British school in Spain, and offers the British National Curriculum to students aged 3 to 18. All students are expected to take the Cambridge IGCSE exams at age 16 and the Advanced Levels at 18 The school has students from many nationalities and offers the Spanish system in tandem with the British, so local students are able to take both A Levels and Selectividad (the Spanish university entrance exam, due to be phased out). Students born in Spain also learn Catalan, while those born outside the country take Spanish and French. Extra curricular German is also offered. The sciences, maths and humanities subjects are also offered, with music in the primary school and art in the senior school. The school has limited sports facilities, so all students are bussed to a local sports center each week. There is a strict uniform code for both normal classes and sports which all students are required to adhere to. Uniforms are sold in the school shop. Termly fees start from 1300 € per term and increase yearly to 2390 € in the last year of school.
King Richard III was known as the American school until 2001 and now teaches the British National Curriculum. Students are taken from 3 years old and continue in the primary school until 11, when they move into the secondary school. At 16 years old, students are expected to sit Cambridge IGCSE exams in the core subjects as well choosing from a range of other subjects from the arts, humanities and sciences. Advanced Levels are taken at 18. The school caters for foreign nationals as well as Spanish-born students, offering both systems of education to Selectividad. Students are expected to wear school uniform and there is a separate sports uniform. Termly fees start from 1600 € and increase yearly as the child moves up the school.
Queen's College accepts students from 3 to 18 years of age and follows the British National Curriculum. Spanish nationals also have the opportunity to follow the Spanish system. Students study a range of subjects throughout the primary school, before choosing subjects to sit for the Cambridge IGCSE exams, with options including sports as well as the more traditional academic subjects. There is a school uniform and a sports uniform that students wear on their weekly trip to the sports center.Termly fees start from 1360 € increasing to 2467 €.
Schools of Other Nationalities
The College Français de Palma provides a French curriculum based education for students from 3 to 18 years old. The school is licensed and inspected by the French government. Students study English, Spanish and Catalan and all other subjects are taught in French.The majority of the students are native French speakers, although there are a large number of Spanish pupils who are able to follow the Spanish system as well as the French and can take the Selectividad as well as the International Baccalaureate in their final year. Fees start from 830 € per term.
Eurocampus: The German and Scandinavian Schools joined forces in 2003 and now share a site in the El Terreno district of Palma.This small school follows both the German and Swedish education systems for students aged 2 to 14. Although students study many subjects separately according to their nationality, the two schools share Spanish and English classes as well as sports. Eurocampus also works in parnership with the Colegio Français to provide French language classes. The average termly fee is 350 € and only German or Swedish students are eligible to attend.