VALENCIAN COMMUNITY classrooms have absorbed the highest number of Ukraine refugee children in Spain since Russia’s invasion of their homeland on February 24 last year.
The Ministry of Education says there are almost 14,000 students from Ukraine in the Valencia region, of which 10,224 are children.
The rest are adults mainly studying Spanish in language schools and adult education centres.
The Valencia region has over twice as many Ukraine students as Madrid(6,160) and Catalunya(4,949).
The main regional concentration is in Torrevieja with 1,733 non-university students, with Ukrainians being the largest non-Spanish residential group in the city, ahead of Russians and British.
Torrevieja’s IES Mediterraneo college has 122 Ukrainian children enrolled- the biggest number of any school in Spain.
IES Mediterraneo head teacher, Manuel Albadalejo, said: “It has been a challenge of unknown dimensions and we enrol Ukrainian students practically every day.”
“It has been a very difficult time for them and we had to expand our classrooms and ask for extra resources,“ Albadalejo added.
Understandably language proved to be a barrier for the youngsters who were helped last year by 55 language assistants supplied to the Valencia Education system, but numbers have been cut this year.
There’s also positive news on the interaction between Russian and Ukraine children at the IES Mediterraneo.
82 Russian children go there, but ‘there is no conflict between them when they share Spanish language and other classes’, said Manuel Albadelejo.