After 30 years working in Spain, 16 years on the executive committee of Nabss (the National Association of British Schools in Spain), and four years as president, Adrian Massam, shared his experience as keynote speaker at the BCC event on Thursday.
Speaking to SUR in English prior to the event, Massam, who is head teacher at Morna International College in Ibiza, explained the main reasons why he thinks British education is so successful in Spain.
"The first attraction is that families want their children's education to be delivered in English," he said, pointing out that more than half of pupils at British schools in Spain come from Spanish families.
Secondly they like the style of education: "The British education system lends itself to some very creative learning styles, it's hands-on, practical and children enjoy it."
Another factor is that British qualifications have such a strong international recognition, he explained. In fact, when the crisis hit in Spain, he said, the British schools not only survived but continued to grow as families were looking for opportunities for their children to study and work abroad.
Finally, the head teacher pointed out that "success breeds success". A lot of British schools have established themselves as "a strong, reliable and attractive option within the private education system in Spain", with parents focusing on reputation in their school choice.
To keep the standards high and maintain that reputation, the schools have to be inspected and this is one of the roles of Nabss, the association of the British schools in Spain that was founded in the 1970s.
Schools using the British system have to be inspected using the British model which is a service provided by Nabss, explained Massam. This then has to be signed off by the British authorities, in this case the British Council, and passed on to the Spanish authorities.
The president added, however, that being inspected by Nabss does not mean that a school is a member of the association.