Novaschool Sunland International is a private British school on the Costa del Sol. It welcomes students from Foundation to Key Stage 5 giving students the possibility to obtain both Spanish and British qualification.
Founded in 2001, Novaschool Sunland International, has grown to become the number one British private school in the Malaga area. Mr. Francisco Barrionuevo, the owner and president of Novaschool, and Ms. Rachel Evans, the Principal of the school, with the support and enthusiasm of the school’s staff, have led this incredible transformation.
Rachel Evans has talked to us about how success is achieved in Novaschool Education Group’s most international school.
Over the last few years, the number of students attending Novaschool Sunland has increased. More and more families are looking to British schools for the education of their children. Ms. Evans, what do you see as the main differences between Spanish and British curriculum schools?
The main difference between a British curriculum school and a bilingual Spanish school is what we call language immersion. When a student chooses to study in Novaschool Sunland, they aren’t in a school where they will learn English, it goes much further than that. They are in an environment that is 100% British, taught by native Englishteachers who fully understand the English National Curriculum and have the pedagogical expertise to implement it successfully.
At Novaschool Sunland our British curriculum is designed to meet the needs of all students, stretching brighter children and supporting those who need it through differentiated teaching and learning activities. Students are taught to learn by questioning, problem-solving and creative thinking rather than by the mere retention of facts, hence giving them analytical and creative thinking skills that they will need in the working world.
English is our students’ main language for learning. They use this language on a day to day basis with their teachers, and to socialise with their classmates in and out of the classroom. Students are expected to speak in English at all times apart from in their Spanish, French and German lessons.
Another essential aspect which sets Novaschool Sunland apart from other schools is the quality of the school’s facilities and environment. Novaschool Sunland benefits from a wonderful and secure 40,000 square meters campus which is surrounded by nature, as well as wonderful facilities which provide the atmosphere needed for teaching and learning of the very highest standard.
There are many private schools in the Malaga area, what do you believe are the main differences between these and Novaschool Sunland?
It is true that there are many private schools in the area that, on paper, offer the same thing. It is not until you visit Novaschool Sunland for yourself that you realise we are different to other private schools in the Malaga area, in fact based on the beautiful location, the exceptional education we offer and first-rate facilities I would go as far as to say we are unique.
Another key factor is the care we give to our students. British education is renowned for concerning itself with the development of the whole personality. Learning is important, but not enough in itself. Young people need to develop their potential to explore and discover the world around them, to think for themselves and form opinions, to relate to others, to develop their bodies through sport and physical education, and to gain experience in taking responsibility and risks. We want our students to become independent and responsible young people with a global awareness. For this purpose, we deliver a rounded education so that our students acquire these essential life skills.
Finally, because Novaschool Sunland is part of dynamic and cohesive team of schools, we can achieve anything we set our mind to. This team is the Novaschool Education Group whose core value is the personalised attention given to each one of its students for both academic and personal development matters. Novaschool is focused on enabling each student to develop their full potential in a positive and caring environment.We strive to excite all students, whatever their interests or ability; to identify, celebrate and nurture the talents and intelligences of our students.
One of the main aspects of concern for families looking for schools and interested in a British school, is the qualifications awarded at the end of the different stages of education. Ms. Evans, once students have finished their studies, which qualifications are they awarded at the end of Year 11 and Year 13?
This is definitely one of the most frequent question we are asked as it is very important, for most of our families, that the qualifications have an equivalent in the Spanish educational system. In Novaschool Sunland, we have implemented a system so that once our students finish Year 11 and their IGCSEs, we start the procedure to homologate their qualification with the Spanish system. Upon completion of year 13 and once the AS and A Levels results are out, we repeat this process so that students can be awarded the equivalent Spanish secondary qualification (Bachillerato).
In the school, we also complete all the administrative paperwork for access to Spanish universities and provide our students with all the documents required by the university of their choice. Our aim is always to make life easy for our families and students. We believe that by obtaining globally recognised British qualifications (Cambridge and Edexcel) and their Spanish equivalent, our students have greater opportunities, and this opensmore doors for them.
In a globalised world, that gives young people the opportunity to study in any international university, the majority of students who go to school in Spain will choose a Spanish university to complete their education. Ms. Evans, is it difficult for students from a British school to be admitted on demanding courses such as Medicine or Nursing?
Our students are lucky to be able to study wherever they please once they finish their secondary studies: in a Spanish or international university. Therefore, in Novaschool Sunland, we guarantee our students access to any Spanish university. Very recently, we were visited by two Sunland alumni who have just completed their studies in the University of Cadiz and will soon qualify as nurses.
To ensure that our British qualification can be homologated by the Spanish Government, we have implemented our EBAU project. We give students the opportunity to prepare the special Spanish exams they will need to sit in order to obtain those extra points required for the most demanding university courses, and therefore ensure that they have a competitive grade. This year we have taught five specific subjects adapted to the curricular needs of our students. All this has been possible thanks to the support of Novaschool Añoreta and the expertise of these teachers who enabled our pre-university students to be examined in these subjects. These extra lessons are all taught in our school for the convenience of our students on a weekly basis and has been one of the most successful projects we have launched. Spanish families need reassurance their children can enter a Spanish university and with Novaschool Sunland’s EBAU project they have that guarantee.