Just six weeks after the new international school based in Crestatx opened, we went along and met the Head of Primary, Laura Nash to see how it is all coming along.
Over a year of immense organization, from furniture and renovation to licensing and staffing, Mallorca International School, known as My School, opened with pupils aged from 3 up to 11, or Year 6 of primary. Years 1 and 2 are together in the class as are Years 3 and 4, Years 5 and 6, and the reception-aged children. All is running smoothly. This should be no surprise given that this is a project borne of great passion and drive for an international school that serves families living in the north. Laura has chosen her team well and together her teachers are a solid, like-minded bunch, equally passionate about what they do.
Now in operation and everyone is settling into term time, Laura can assess the children’s needs and how focus groups can help.
Intervention and extra ‘focus group’ support is open to the children who need it and this will adapt continuously thought the year. Teachers continuously assess the needs of the children and do what is needed to ensure they make the required progress. For example, in the coming weeks native English pupils will have focussed classes with Laura. Teaching is personalized for all children and groups are taught in the ‘normal’ classroom setting.
English for secondary education
With the secondary education opening next year, it’s clear that pupils joining the school will need to have a certain level of English. Laura explains, “This is not a language school, we follow an academic programme so the children joining us for secondary education will need a level of understanding, they will need language skills that allows them access to academic learning. We are currently looking at how we will assess their level of English and we are also drawing up a programme that will form a pre-entry requirement. This means that the children will be part of the school already, they will know what to expect, making the transition that much easier.”
A Community school
Lessons are taught in English but the children have one hour a day of Spanish or Catalan. For English-speaking residents, some could be concerned that the children will lose the connection with the community they live in. Laura responds, “We are an international school but we are not cutting ourselves off. We are not claiming to be the best we are just choosing the way we do things. We are very mindful of not shutting the doors and are completely open to both the local and international community. We would like to look into links with other schools, here and abroad. For example through local sports tournaments. We look into ways of maintaining cultural links, one example of this is on Friday when some grandparents are coming in to make bunyoles. While we have a duty to open doors to the wider world, we are committed to teaching children in preparation for life in Mallorca and let’s not forget, the roots of the school are created by someone who loves Mallorca, who is actually from Pollensa.”
It seems that while this is a business venture, money is far from the sole purpose. Coming away from MySchool you leave with a sense of warmth and of community. It’s a great service for the north and it’s exciting to see how the school will grow.