surinenglish

British education in Spain still a benchmark despite uncertainty

Austerfield, Hughes, Fossey, Hernández and Bell during the roundtable discussion on Thursday morning.
Austerfield, Hughes, Fossey, Hernández and Bell during the roundtable discussion on Thursday morning. / D. F.
  • Speakers at a seminar organised by the British Chamber of Commerce outlined the qualities of the UK system across the globe

Representatives across the education spectrum delivered their verdict on the state of British education in Spain at a seminar organised by the British Chamber of Commerce in Malaga on Thursday morning.

Despite the uncertainty over Brexit, there was consensus overall: a British education is still very highly valued in Spain. As president of the Nabss (National Association of British Schools in Spain) executive committee and keynote speaker, Adrian Massam, explained: "There are 128 schools with over 60,000 children in total and more than half of those are from Spanish families. There's been a 60 per cent increase in the number of British schools in Spain in the last ten years."

Jane Cooper, former Chief Inspector of British Schools Overseas, explained, "Just adding the word 'British' is reputationally good," describing a British education as "the golden standard" around the world.

This is because not only is English "the dominant language of the internet, pop music and more", the teaching style in the British education system encourages "a spirit of discovery, inquiry and independence of thought".

This was a sentiment echoed by Adam Austerfield, National Vice-President of the British Chamber and Director of Global Development of the London School of Economics, who argued that British teaching improves "problem-solving skills" and gives children the ability to "deconstruct the issue".

What's more, schools which form part of the British system offer "a high-level experience to make you globally-minded", said Nigel Fossey, Chief Academic Officer at King's Group. Whether that is through a house system encouraging competition and team spirit or through the broad range of extra-curricular activities British schools can offer as part of a global network, having an education at a British school can turn pupils into "world citizens", according to Cooper.

Amanda Hughes, principal at Laude San Pedro International College, joined Austerfield, Fossey, the head of the British Council School in Madrid, Mercedes Hernández, and Heather Bell of the British School of Barcelona as the seminar concluded with a roundtable event and a Q&A session. The panel discussed a wide variety of topics, including the most inevitable: Brexit.

"We do talk about it," said Hughes who, when asked whether British universities still represented good value given the likely increase in fees and bureaucracy, said: "You have to look at the end result."

"Of course you have to look at the individual but British universities are still among the very best in the world."