4 May, 2022 @ 11:00
2 mins read

EXCLUSIVE: €10,000-a-year expat school on Spain’s Costa del Sol forced to close doors after stinging inspection

Cameron International School 1
Image website Cameron International School

PARENTS at a private school in Andalucia are furious, having been left scrambling to find places when it was closed overnight by inspectors.

Some claim to be thousands of euros out of pocket, while some teachers are owed pay.

One parent at Sotogrande’s Cameron International school is threatening legal action having paid nearly €10,000 upfront in fees for the year.

Sara Sanchez said: “I am furious as nobody told me anything.”

The supermarket worker, from San Roque, added: “We had to find another school for my six-year-old daughter with no notice, and I am still waiting for my money back.”

A teacher,  who does not want to be named, is under medication for anxiety and depression due to the stress she suffered. “I had to take phone calls from creditors demanding cash and my workload was getting bigger and bigger. My thanks was to wait for my salary – I have not been paid since January.”

Cameron International School 1
Cameron International School in San Roque (Cadiz). Image from Cameron International School

This week, the owner of the school confirmed to the Olive Press that it was the end of the line for her 12-year-old school.

Janice Pennie, 58, said the doors had been shut for a month, and added: “It is now in the hands of my accountants.”

The businesswoman insisted the collapse had come due to the pandemic.

“It happened so quickly and some of the parents need to be a little more patient,” she said.

“It has only been a little over a month since we closed and the accounts are working out the best way forward. It is my main concern to get the money back to the parents.

“I sympathise because they have had to find another school, but it is me who has lost everything”

The school, which opened in 2010 beside San Roque golf club, had plans to expand into a sports academy linked to Tottenham Hotspur football club.

At its peak around 100 pupils attended the school, most of them British, although it had students from many different countries.

But when the pandemic struck two years ago things rapidly deteriorated.

“A lot of our pupils left. Many were from an international background and went to their home countries,” explained Pennie, originally from Glasgow.

Janice Penie
Janice Pennie owner of the school. Image from website Cameron International School

“I would rather the school had survived, so I put everything I had into it.”

But she said it was very hard to continue and when Junta inspectors arrived at the premises in March this year they ordered the school to shut.

A Junta spokesman said that it had acted after a number of ‘different issues’ had been reported to them over the past year. 

A complaint against the school was put before San Roque Court and the closure was authorised.

He added that the school was only licensed for infants under the name Kiddibank Day Care Center.

“It was verified that Primary and Secondary Education were being taught on the upper floor of the building in an unauthorised location.”

The Junta spokesman added that classrooms were in ‘poor hygienic-sanitary conditions, with a lack of natural ventilation and dirt on the floor and on the furniture. 

Pennie denies this insisting the school was cleaned morning and night.

“Typically the inspectors came in the middle of the afternoon when children had brought dirt in – the school was cleaned every morning and evening.”

She added: “I don’t sleep at night, I have panic attacks and anxiety, I am broken hearted, I have given everything.”


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Jorge Hinojosa

Jorge Hinojosa Mena was born and bred in Madrid before moving to the UK to study. After an undergraduate degree in Manchester, he completed an MA in International Journalism at City. He has worked in radio and for Spain’s Efe news agency before joining the Olive Press in March 2022. Contact: [email protected]

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