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School v Collegio

By Mr Grumpy - Fri 29th Apr 2011

The whole of my daughter's life has, to date, been Spanish. Spain for her is 'the norm'. Most of her friends, schoolmates and teachers are Spanish and she talks and sings to herself in Valenciano - she speaks English as fluently as any 4 year old can, but other than that, she is basically a Spaniard.

So when I think of my time at my Tom Brown's schooldays, English boys-only grammar school, I find it hard to imagine just how different her experience of school will be at the 'Academia' in the next town up the valley.

For one, school uniforms are almost unheard of in Spanish schools, so there will be no regulation school blazer that everybody was forced to wear 3 sizes too big (you'll grow into it...), None of the Black socks (Not grey, not white, not blue...), None of the Grey Trousers with the ridiculously baggy legs etc.... I wonder if the lack of uniform hinders the learning process in the adolscent mind ?

She undoubtedly won't be taught Latin or Classics, as I was, and will probably be taught something completely useless instead, like IT (Classes for her start at 5 years old, so I'm guessing will continue when she is at the Academia) - I heard a rumour that my school had actually had a PC by the time I left in '91 but I never actually saw it with my own eyes.

She is already being taught English as a foreign language (get your head around that one if you can), and by the time she gets to the Acadamy, she will be taught languages in the 'full immersion' way - IE she will be taught Art and Maths in the English Language, History and Science in Castillian, Humanities and Religion in Valencian, and Geography and P.E. in French (Why do PE teachers always double up as a Geography teachers ?- Is is some kind of educational BOGOF offer ?). At my school I was forced into doing two half hour lessons in French and two half hour lessons of German a week. Or at least I did between the ages of 11 to 13 when it was compulsory - I wonder why I never reached fluency ?

The School will be closed for holidays throughout the whole of July and August, aswell as for 3 weeks at Christmas and a week at Easter. No messing about with half terms (what would you do with a week off in february and november anyway ?)

School hours will be 8am until 1.30pm for June and September - an early start, but plenty of time to make the most of the nice weather and nip to the beach in the afternoon. For October to May the hours change to 8am - 1pm (Dinner time) and then 3pm-5pm - slightly more punishing, but worth it to get the time off in the summer.

Hopefully being able to speak 3 languages will be a big advantage to her in the years to come, whether a completely alien educational system will or not remains to be seen. Let's hope so.

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