29 Mar, 2020 @ 14:23
2 mins read

How a private school on Spain’s Costa del Sol still provides top level education for its students during the coronavirus lockdown

Sotogrande International

SINCE the state of emergency came into effect in Spain, our everyday life has been affected severely.

In particular for children and parents who now have to get adjusted to homeschooling.

Does homeschooling work though or are children missing out on their education?

Jak Kearney, Headmaster of Sotogrande International School – one of the Costa del Sol’s most prestigious schools – spoke to the Olive Press about what he and his staff have been doing to give their students the best education they can during the current circumstances.

The coronavirus crisis escalated very quickly in Spain, within a matter of a few short weeks.

Sotogrande International Indoors
MODERN: Sotogrande International School has very modern facilities

“We returned after Semana Blanca to temperature checks, instructed self-isolation, stopped visitors and parents coming on-site and finally moved to total shutdown from March 16,” he said.

“By the time the authorities announced the closure of schools in our region, we had already established a plan with the assistance and experience of our parent company, Inspired Education Group.”

This shows that Sotogrande International had started planning ahead in anticipation for the closure of schools and were in a strong position to be able to start homeschooling.

A difficulty for the institution however was to repatriate all their students as it’s a boarding school.

Kearney very proudly said that within a two day period, all the students had returned to their homes.

Sotogrande International Outside
CONNECTED: Students at the boarding school are still connected with each other even from home

Once they were at home, they started their learning on what the school calls ‘going virtual’.

Kearney described it as: “Lessons include a mixture of virtual classes, video tutorials, daily exercises and group dynamics, and is provided during usual school hours, Monday through to Friday. 

“Sessions are being delivered interactively via a variety of online programmes, some of which are already a part of Sotogrande International School’s innovative approach to learning, which means the transition to a virtual school was made simpler for both students and teachers.”

But how does it compare to the normality of classroom lessons?

“Teachers are learning this new system at the same time as the students, but our students are receiving the same high-quality education they are accustomed to, in a new and innovative format.”

Sotogrande International Overview
BIRD’S EYE: View of the school’s campus

It’s a challenge for parents nationwide to make it clear to their kids that this period isn’t a part of their holidays, but still counts as term-time.

However, the students will still get their holidays as normal to relax and recharge their batteries.

“Regardless of where the learning takes place, students and staff need time to disconnect and relax. 

“During the holidays, all students will still have access to a multitude of online activities that can be used independently to keep them focused and entertained.”

Yes, the current situation the world is in is making us deal with some very drastic changes to our routines, but schools such as Sotogrande International are trying to make this adjustment as easy as possible for your children.

Dimitris Kouimtsidis

GOT A STORY? Contact me now: dimitris@theolivepress.es or call +34 951 273 575 or +44 75 358 167 18. Twitter: @dkouimtsidis.
Dimitris has a BA in History from the University of Leeds and an MA in Journalism (Sports) from the University of Lincoln.
He joined the Olive Press team as a journalist in January 2020.

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