International Schools in Barcelona for Expat Families

Are you considering international schools in Barcelona for your child’s education? Understanding the options and finding the perfect fit is crucial.
June 6, 2024
Ana Fankhauser
June 6, 2024
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Are you considering international schools in Barcelona for your child’s education? Understanding the options and finding the perfect fit is crucial. This article compares the leading Barcelona international schools, highlighting their curricula, languages, and special programs without overwhelming detail. Read on to discover the ideal school that aligns with your child’s learning style and interests.

Snapshot of Barcelona's Finest International Schools

Barcelona's Finest International Schools

Barcelona’s international schools are a blend of rich curricula, diverse cultures, and innovative teaching methodologies. These schools cater to a wide range of educational preferences, providing a nurturing learning environment for your child. Let’s delve into a brief overview of these schools:

  • Best for American Curriculum: American School of Barcelona
  • Best for British Education: The British School of Barcelona
  • Best for Trilingual Learning: Hamelin-Laie International School
  • Best for IB Continuum: St. Peter’s School Barcelona
  • Best for Cultural Diversity: Benjamin Franklin International School
  • Best for Personalized Education: Kensington School
  • Best for Innovation in Learning: LearnLife
  • Best for Montessori Education: Colegio Akua
  • Best for Language Proficiency: European International School of Barcelona
  • Best for Outdoor Education: SEK Catalunya International School

Best for American Curriculum: American School of Barcelona

Best for American Curriculum: American School of Barcelona

Pros:

  • Exceptional American curriculum
  • Comprehensive International Baccalaureate program
  • Culturally diverse student body

Cons:

  • Competitive admission process

The Barcelona High School, American School of Barcelona (ASB), stands out for its rigorous university preparatory environment, offering an American curriculum, including Advanced Placement courses, alongside the International Baccalaureate program. Spanish and Catalan programs are available in addition to English, which serves as the primary language of instruction in this international American school. This diverse language offering caters to a student body of over 55 nationalities, of which approximately 22% are North American. The school aims to empower students by helping them reach their maximum potential and develop into global citizens with critical thinking skills and self-confidence. This is accomplished through a dedicated mission. Despite its rigorous academic program, the admission process can be competitive, and securing a place may require some persistence.

Rating:

  • Curriculum: 9/10
  • Diversity: 8/10
  • Admission Process: 6/10

Best for British Education: The British School of Barcelona

Best for British Education: The British School of Barcelona

Pros:

  • Compliant with English National Curriculum
  • Modern facilities
  • Emphasis on student development

Cons:

  • May not cater to non-British curriculum preferences

The British School of Barcelona offers:

  • A high-quality British education, compliant with the English National Curriculum and incorporating the Primary Years Programme
  • Catering to students aged 3 to 18 years old
  • Providing an educational pathway from early years through to pre-university levels
  • Impressive modern facilities
  • A commitment to student development

A visit to the campus reveals the school’s dedication to providing a top-notch education.

While the private British school offers a top-notch British education, families seeking a non-British curriculum might find a different private school less suitable.

Rating:

  • Curriculum: 9/10
  • Facilities: 8/10
  • Student Development: 9/10

Best for Trilingual Learning: Hamelin-Laie International School

Best for Trilingual Learning: Hamelin-Laie International School

Pros:

  • A bilingual learning program
  • Wide range of student age groups
  • Emphasis on global citizenship

Cons:

  • May not cater to non-trilingual preferences

Hamelin-Laie International School offers a unique trilingual learning program, incorporating English, Spanish, and Catalan into its curriculum. The school provides education for a wide age range of students, from 1 to 18 years old, accommodating early learning through to the cusp of higher education. Reviews often emphasize the school’s nurturing atmosphere and its efficacy in fostering students who are prepared to become global citizens. However, families seeking a non-trilingual learning environment might find it less suitable.

Rating:

  • Curriculum: 9/10
  • Student Age Range: 8/10
  • Global Citizenship Focus: 9/10

Best for IB Continuum: St. Peter's School Barcelona

Best for IB Continuum - St. Peter's School Barcelona

Pros:

  • Offers full IB continuum
  • Focus on innovation
  • Ranked as the best school in Spain by Forbes

Cons:

  • Location may be inconvenient for some

St. Peter’s School Barcelona offers the following:

  • The full International Baccalaureate (IB) continuum, catering to students from 1 to 18 years old
  • English as the primary language of instruction
  • A curriculum that focuses on innovation, including cutting-edge subjects like Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence
  • Forbes magazine has ranked it as the top school in Spain

However, its location may present a challenge for students living in the urban center of Barcelona, requiring additional travel time.

Rating:

  • Curriculum: 10/10
  • Innovation Focus: 9/10
  • Location: 7/10

Best for Cultural Diversity: Benjamin Franklin International School

Best for Cultural Diversity - Benjamin Franklin International School

Pros:

  • Diverse student body
  • Strong language programs
  • Emphasizes educational excellence

Cons:

  • Limited sports facilities

Benjamin Franklin International School (BFIS) is known for its cultural diversity, with more than 60 nationalities represented in the student body. The school offers language instruction in English, Spanish, Catalan, and French. BFIS offers a comprehensive American curriculum up to Grade 10 and the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP) and Diploma Programme (IBDP) while emphasizing educational excellence, nurturing student learning, and fostering intellectual curiosity and creativity. As an IB World School, BFIS graduates are known for their excellent IB diploma results and for receiving offers from prestigious universities worldwide. However, the school might lack comprehensive sports facilities when compared with larger international schools, potentially affecting students for whom such facilities are important.

Rating:

  • Cultural Diversity: 9/10
  • Language Programs: 8/10
  • Sports Facilities: 6/10

Best for Personalized Education: Kensington School

Best for Personalized Education: Kensington School

Pros:

  • Personalized teaching approach
  • Emphasis on emotional education
  • ‘Pure’ British educational pathway

Cons:

  • Less focus on Spanish language and culture

Kensington School offers:

  • The British National Curriculum
  • Personalized teaching and specialized classrooms
  • A strong emphasis on emotional education integrated into the British curriculum

However, it has a less pronounced focus on Spanish language and culture, which might not suit families seeking a balanced bilingual education.

Rating:

  • Personalized Teaching: 9/10
  • Emotional Education: 8/10
  • Bilingual Education: 6/10

Best for Innovation in Learning: Learnlife

Best for Innovation in Learning: LearnLife

Pros:

  • Emphasizes personal learning programs
  • Focuses on individual learning styles
  • Encourages exploration and understanding of the universe

Cons:

  • Diverges from conventional education norms

LearnLife’s educational philosophy emphasizes:

  • Personal learning programs that are tailored to the needs and interests of the individual learner
  • Each learner embarking on a personal journey that involves exploring their unique passions, skills, and needs
  • Guidance by research and best practices in education

While innovative and tailored to individual learning styles, LearnLife’s methods may diverge from conventional education norms and may not align with every family’s expectations. Learners at Learnlife appear to thrive with the increased autonomy and creative freedom provided by the school’s innovative approach to education.

Rating:

  • Personal Learning Programs: 9/10
  • Individual Learning Styles: 8/10
  • Conventional Education Norms: 7/10

Best for Montessori Education: Colegio Akua

Best for Montessori Education: Colegio Akua

Pros:

  • Integrates Montessori principles
  • Encourages children to explore and understand the universe
  • Noted for hands-on learning experiences

Cons:

  • Primarily for younger age groups

Colegio Akua has a unique educational model that integrates Montessori principles with other educational philosophies to encourage children to explore and understand the universe. Parents of children at Colegio Akua frequently express their appreciation for the school’s hands-on learning experiences and its commitment to addressing the educational needs of each student in a holistic manner. However, one potential limitation of Colegio Akua is that its Montessori-based education is primarily available for younger age groups, which may not cover the needs of older students.

Rating:

  • Montessori Principles: 9/10
  • Hands-On Learning: 8/10
  • Age Group Limitations: 7/10

Best for Language Proficiency: European International School of Barcelona

Best for Language Proficiency: European International School of Barcelona

Pros:

  • Combines Spanish educational frameworks with International Baccalaureate program
  • Students known to excel in multilingualism
  • Culturally diverse community

Cons:

  • Limited sports facilities

The European International School of Barcelona, a private international school, offers a curriculum that combines Spanish educational frameworks with the International Baccalaureate program. Students at the European International School of Barcelona are known to excel in multilingualism, according to community feedback, which relates to the strong language programs at the school. However, the school might lack comprehensive sports facilities when compared with larger international schools, potentially affecting students for whom such facilities are important.

Rating:

  • Curriculum: 9/10
  • Multilingualism: 9/10
  • Sports Facilities: 7/10

Best for Outdoor Education: SEK Catalunya International School

Best for Outdoor Education: SEK Catalunya International School

Pros:

  • Combines academic rigor with extensive outdoor education
  • Robust music program
  • Provides education for a complete age range

Cons:

  • Location may be inconvenient for some

SEK Catalunya International School caters to students from ages 2 to 18 years old, providing a complete educational journey from early childhood to pre-university levels. The school is renowned for its unique approach that combines academic rigor with extensive outdoor education, enhancing the learning experience with nature and physical activity. SEK Catalunya offers a robust educational offering, including:

  • Academic rigor
  • Extensive outdoor education
  • Music program
  • Wide array of outdoor activities

However, its location may present a challenge for students living in the urban center of Barcelona, requiring additional travel time.

Rating:

  • Outdoor Education: 9/10
  • Music Program: 8/10
  • Location: 7/10

Choosing the Right International School in Barcelona

Choosing the right international school in Barcelona involves considering a number of factors, including finding the best international schools that cater to your child’s needs. Each school offers a unique blend of curriculum, teaching methodology, and extracurricular activities, so it’s important to find a school that aligns with your child’s learning style and interests.

Schools like the American School of Barcelona and the British School of Barcelona offer:

  • Accreditations from recognized bodies
  • Focus on the professional development of their teaching staff
  • Small class sizes for a supportive learning environment
  • Facilities that may need expansion or repair to accommodate growing student numbers

These factors contribute to a high standard of education at Catholic schools, promoting academic excellence in a catholic school environment.

International schools in Barcelona typically teach in English, providing platforms for international students to integrate, resulting in a culturally diverse community with students from a range of nationalities. Schools also provide extracurricular opportunities alongside academic education, aiming to foster personal growth, teamwork, and coordination of academic and athletic achievements.

The decision ultimately depends on what you believe would best suit your child’s educational growth and development.

Summary

Barcelona offers a rich tapestry of international schools, each with its own unique strengths and educational philosophies. From the American curriculum at the American School of Barcelona to the personalized education at Kensington School, the city is home to a diverse range of schools that cater to the individual needs of every child. Whether your child thrives in a Montessori environment at Colegio Akua or in an innovative learning environment at Learnlife, there is a school to meet every child’s educational aspirations.

In conclusion, the choice of an international school in Barcelona should hinge on aligning your child’s learning style and interests with the school’s curriculum, teaching methodologies, and extracurricular activities. As we navigate this globalized world, an international education can equip your child with the skills and knowledge to thrive and become a global citizen.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of choosing an international school in Barcelona?

Choosing an international school in Barcelona offers diverse curricula, small class sizes, a culturally diverse community, and a range of extracurricular opportunities for personal growth and teamwork. These factors can greatly enrich a student's educational experience.

How do I choose the right international school for my child?

When choosing an international school for your child, consider factors such as the curriculum, teaching methodologies, language of instruction, class sizes, and extracurricular activities to align with your child's learning style and interests.

Do these schools offer extracurricular activities?

Yes, most international schools in Barcelona offer a variety of extracurricular opportunities, including sports, music, art, and clubs.

Do these schools teach in English?

Yes, most international schools in Barcelona primarily teach in English, with additional language instruction available in Spanish, Catalan, and other languages.

Are these schools accredited?

Yes, recognized bodies have accredited both the American School of Barcelona and the British School of Barcelona to guarantee a high level of education.

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