Every year, the newspaper La Vanguardia (one of the top five selling papers in Spain) publishes a special, giving guidance to parents on what to consider when choosing a school for their children. This year, The British College of Gavà had the opportunity to be part of this curated list of schools worth visiting.
The growth of the school in recent years has been remarkable. Officially listed as an IB (International Baccalaureate®) World School, from September 2022, The British College of Gavà also hopes to be the first school in Catalonia to offer the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Career-related Programme (CP).
“We are a genuine community school. Class sizes are small and we ensure all of our students receive a bespoke educational journey, with a very strong pastoral system in place to support. We are also very privileged to be in such a beautiful environment too, surrounded by green areas and pine trees.” – Simon Mower, School Principal.
Find the translated article below.
Official article published in Spanish by La Vanguardia can be read here.
“Whoever visits the school can see that we are one big family”.
Located in a privileged environment, The British College of Gava (BCG) is an educational centre of reference thanks to its educational project, its facilities, its international vocation and the unparalleled learning opportunities it offers the students. We talked about all this with the Principal, Simon Mower.
When did the school first open?
It opened in September 2015, with 100 pupils from 3 to 12 years old. It is an indicator of success, that many of those pupils and a good number of staff members are still with us today, and often tell me how much the school has changed in that time.
What is your assessment of the trajectory?
Since its beginnings, many things have changed in the BCG, always aiming to improve the teaching experience.
However, there are other very important things that have not changed: the small number of students per class, the personalised education that our students receive, and the school’s strong sense of community.
What changes would you highlight?
The most significant changes are due to the increase in the number of students, which implies more highly qualified teachers and larger facilities.
Two years ago we opened our secondary building, the auditorium, the gymnasium and the sports hall. The school now has 400 children and potential parents visit us every day on the recommendation of their friends or relatives, which is very important to us.
We expect the school to grow by one hundred students each year for the next two years until we reach our limit of 620 students.
In addition, we were approved as an IB World school (International Baccalaureate®) back in
April, which was very exciting, and very soon we will be able to provide more details about our fantastic new partnership with a prestigious business school.
Section in green:
In the academic year 2022-23 we expect to be the first school in Catalonia to offer the Careers-related Programme of the International Baccalaureate (IBCP)
What courses are taught at The British College?
We follow the English National curriculum throughout the school until the end of Year 9, then we offer International GCSEs and in the Sixth Form students follow the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. From September 2022 we also hope to be the first school in Catalonia to offer the IB Careers-related Programme.
Languages are obviously fundamental to an international school curriculum and the children learn Spanish from Nursery, Catalan from Year 2 and French from Year 3.
What is the current structure?
We have 400 students and are growing steadily with some year groups now full. Demand for places is increasing rapidly and we have 2 or 3 visits per day from prospective parents. There are 64 staff, including teachers and supporting staff. In September we have an additional 5 teachers arriving as we continue to extend the range of subjects offered at GCSE and IBDP.
If we speak about facilities, there are three buildings, one for each Phase. Outdoor and indoors sport facilities including a fantastic sports hall and gym. We are very proud of our great outdoor areas, the natural environment and forest school. Teachers often take the children outside for lessons. Our science laboratories are purpose built and we have two very well equipped libraries. All of the lunches are prepared on site in our brand new kitchens.
During the pandemic we were the only school that maintained online teaching following the timetable, which brought us closer together as a community.
We are also the school with the fewest incidences of covid in the area, the small class sizes and our spaces have helped a lot.
How would you define the school’s educational project?
Alongside the demands of the educational journey our students take through Primary, into Secondary, IGCSEs, IBDP and then onto university we take very great care in ensuring they are looked after pastorally too. We offer meditation and mindfulness and encourage students to support each other too.
Education for Sustainable Development is an important theme running throughout the school. It starts with the Forest School from 3 to 6 years old and ends in secondary school with a subject dedicated to this topic (ESD). We are aware that each child is unique, our teachers know the level of each pupil and what their abilities are. Our broad curriculum and range of activities allows students to experience a variety of areas, including the arts, and we work hard at providing a safe environment for them to share their concerns and have a wide variety of ways in which they can seek help, academic or otherwise. There is a strong academic culture and the students enjoy learning.
What role do families play in the school’s success?
We see successful education as a triangle. Firstly the parents, who make the emotional and financial decision to put their trust in us and then the school. We provide wonderfully inspiring teaching and excellent facilities as well as a wide range of activities. Lastly, and most importantly are the children themselves. They must play their part, work hard and make the most of the opportunities in front of them. If all three of these elements work together the child will have an amazing time at school. We meet weekly with the parent representatives and give presentations to parents regularly. The foundation of any child’s education is at home, but the school is a very important partner, there must be good communication between the two.
Is it possible to innovate in education?
A very good question. The British education system has always been rigorous but teachers constantly find original ways to deliver lessons. Collaboration is an extremely important part of learning today, in fact to us it is fundamental to the way we work in class. Students will share ideas, do peer critiques, support each other and in doing so they develop their communication skills and grow in confidence. We are integrating mindfulness into our curriculum now to provide a balanced learning experience. So yes, I believe you can innovate in education, especially as the challenges facing children today, especially through social media, mean schools must adapt and improve constantly to ensure we are providing the very best support.
What are the school’s future challenges?
I am not sure if we have challenges so much as opportunities. We will be introducing the IB Careers Programme which will make us one of the very few schools in Spain to do so. We have a new partnership with a very prestigious Business School in Barcelona. Our IBDP programme has got off to an excellent start, our Early Years and Primary teaching areas will be extended and redeveloped. We will continue to grow the school until we reach 620 students and we are attracting excellent teachers. It is a very exciting time for BCG.