British School of Barcelona (The)
BSB is an all-through school with four campuses: BSB Castelldefels (3-16 years old), BSB Nexus (16-18 years old), BSB Sitges (2-10 years old) and BSB City (3- 10 years old); accredited Outstanding by BSO.
- British School of Barcelona (The)
Carrer de la Ginesta, 26
- T +34 93 707 9598
- E [email protected]
- W www.britishsch…olbarcelona.com
- Lower School Ages: 3-10
- Senior School Ages: 10-18
- Total School Numbers: 1,745 boys and girls
- Teaching Language: English
- SEN: SEN considered case by case
- Boarding: Not available
- Uniform: Yes
- School Year: September - June: 3 terms
- School Hours: Monday-Thursday: 8.00-18.00 / Friday: 8.00-17.00
- Fee Currency: EURO
- Fee Details: Nursery: €8,125 (3 full days) €10,185 (4 full days) €7,100 (5 half days) €10,900 (Full time); Reception: €10,900; Year 1 & 2: €12,230; Year 3 to 6: €14,310; Year 7-9: €13,800; Year 10 & 11: €14,525; Year 12 A levels €16,225; Year 12 IB €16,725; Year 13 €16,225
- Fee Extras: Matriculation €3,000, Uniform, Lunch from Year 7, Trips, Bus service, After school activities, Childcare, External exam fees
- Religion: Non-denominational
- Memberships: NABSS, COBIS, HMC, BISA
- State/Independent: Independent: privately owned (individual/corporation)
- A levels
- IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education)
- International Baccalaureate (Diploma)
- National Curriculum for England
- Spanish Baccalaureate
- ESO (Educación Secundaria Obligatoria)
- BSO (British Schools Overseas inspection programme)
- National Association of British Schools in Spain (NABSS)
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What The Good Schools Guide International says
Acting executive principal
Since 2023, James Petrie. Previously deputy head of BSB secondary and head teacher of secondary and pre-university. Has taught and led in UK state and independent schools as well as working in the international sector.
James has a degree in English and related literature from the University of York and a PGCE from Cambridge University.
Interests include history, literature, art and sport.
Depending on your child’s age, the school will arrange a meeting with the head of the relevant department to assess their level of English and ability. Children applying for nursery and reception places are not required to have any prior knowledge of English. Pupils applying for places in year 2 and above must have an age-appropriate level of spoken and written English.
Summer day camp options offered prior to starting at school, giving students exposure to Spanish language if they have come from abroad.
In 2022, 60 per cent A*/A or 7-9 at GCSE; 27 per cent of all grades achieved were at 9 and several students achieved level 8 and 9 grades across all their subjects. This is consistent with 2021 (both years exams were actually sat) and an increase from those in 2020 (teacher-assessed due to Covid).
In 2022, average IB score of 35 points (world average was 32), with 33.5 in 2021 and 33 in 2020. In 2022, at A level, 50 per cent A*-A (compared to 63 per cent in 2021).
Teaching and learning
School prides itself on academic excellence. The learning habits chart, which can be found in every classroom and every office, sets the tone for the whole school: curiosity, organisation, socialising, imagination, attention, determination, reflection, thinking and leadership. Younger children have the same chart but with photos of animals to exemplify the traits: leadership is a lion, thinking an owl, determination a tortoise and reflection an octopus.
Playing, exploring, creating and thinking freely in their own way is the basis of early years education and is the start of a journey of growth and development which continues through the school. Early years classrooms are designed to connect indoor and outdoor spaces to engage the imagination and inspire discovery.
IPads are introduced from year 3 and from year 9 students are given laptops (both included in the fees).
Parents have been impressed with the development of STEM facilities (a new innovative technology centre opened in October 2021, shared with the nearby pre-university Nexus Campus). Some parents say their children have developed an interest in science because of the multidisciplinary approach to teaching and learning in this new facility.
Experienced teachers listen and are willing to give support. Parents say teachers help pupils believe in themselves and have inspired intelligent students who lacked motivation.
Learning support and SEN
Coincidentally our school visit occurred during Dyslexia Awareness Week, when school held a series of talks and activities to engage students, parents and teachers. Parents were invited into school to watch videos of students and other parents sharing how dyslexia had affected them and what had helped them. They were simple yet powerful - what came across clearly was that teachers and parents could do worse than listen to children with special needs as they often know for themselves the best or easiest way to learn.
English language core offer provided within the curriculum. Additional intensive EAL offered at an additional cost.
The arts and extracurricular
Wednesday societies, rolled out across the whole school, are very popular. The rolling 4-week programme allows students to try different things from designing mosaic tiles to first aid.
In September 2019 the school expanded its sports facilities with a new 9,000 sqm rugby pitch and football stadium allowing the school to upgrade its sports offering. The pitch is also marked out for 7 and 11-a-side football games.
Badminton and trampolining are part of the curriculum. Netball is popular but there are limited opportunities to play. Students have had to rely on trips to the UK and visiting British schools to Barcelona (pre-Covid) as there aren’t many netball teams locally.
Ethos and heritage
Founded in 1958 as the Anglo-American School of Castelldefels, the school became The British School of Barcelona in 1999. Ownership was transferred to the Cognita Group in 2007. In January 2016 Cognita acquired the International School of Barcelona, located in Sitges, and integrated the school as a second (primary only) campus under the BSB brand. April 2018 saw the opening of BSB Nexus, the new pre-university campus of BSB, also in Castelldefels. BSB City Foundation Campus (3-10 years old) was opened in 2021 in the affluent suburb Sarrià-Sant Gervasi. The Main City Campus (all through from 3-18 years) will open in September 2023.
Despite the school having four quite separate campuses, they share the same brand and values and some teachers move between the different locations. The curriculum is consistent across the campuses and the same concept topics will be found in all schools. Some activities cross campuses too and academic trips and school camps combine children from the different locations.
From year 7 students allowed to bring in their own food; microwaves are available.
Pastoral care, inclusivity and discipline
Pastoral care has improved beyond recognition in the past decade – an initiative started by the previous headteacher and continued by the current one. In January 2022 BSB achieved the Wellbeing Award for Schools (WAS), demonstrating its high standards of provision for emotional wellbeing and mental health within the school community. BSB is the only school in Catalonia that has been accredited with the award and one of the only two schools in all Spain. Families agree that ‘wellbeing is at the heart of everything.’ The student support team includes learning support, wellbeing and personal development staff, but all staff are educated in safeguarding and child protection. School responsive to parent questions, however broad or specific about child's personal development, with meditation, yoga and wellbeing incorporated into daily life. Lives up to its mission of being ‘a caring learning community with high expectations,’ said a parent.
Physical and academic wellbeing are intrinsically linked. With this in mind, Cognita have introduced a Global Be Well Day. All Cognita schools around the world collapse the curriculum for a day with activities and events involving the entire school community of students, staff and parents. The first Global Be Well Day in 2019 saw BSB smash the Guinness World Record for greatest number of people standing on one leg simultaneously!
Emphasis on celebrating achievement – ‘behaviour and achievement’ rather than ‘behaviour and sanctions.’ The office of celebration is popular with primary students, where specific achievements in learning habits are recognised including achievements outside of school. Walk past the head of primary’s office and you’ll find a wall of celebration with photos of all the students proudly displaying their celebratory wristbands.
Pupils and Parents
Families say opportunities for parents to be involved have increased in more recent years but all agree there is still room for improvement. BSB Sporting Saturdays - football and basketball parents v staff - are popular. Talks for parents on topics such as digital safety or exam preparation are appreciated.
For a school with such a mix of nationalities (40 per cent of students are Spanish), there are a good number of events such as the International Fair, but they could perhaps do more to celebrate the diversity, helping to break up some cliques within certain nationalities.
While the school does the utmost to keep in touch with parents some say there are too many different digital communication channels. Tapestry is a secure online learning journal which shows the development of children’s activities in line with the early years foundation stage curriculum. Seesaw platform allows older students, teachers, and parents to complete and share classroom work. There is also a weekly newsletter, which is shared through the bespoke parents' app which most parents use. Parents are encouraged to use these apps, but teachers also send emails.
Active parent year group WhatsApp groups for selling uniform etc.
No complaints about fees in general but specifically after school activities and bus were singled out as being expensive.
The last word
When asked what stands out here, parents are unanimous in their reply - teaching staff and leadership. The expansion of BSB over additional campuses has been successful largely due to the head’s ability to bring the best-fit staff into his leadership team. The result is that BSB has been accredited as an ‘Outstanding School in every Category’ by the English Department for Education (DfE) of the British Government (inspection BSO). BSB is the only school in Catalunya to have gained this prestigious accreditation.
Click on each specific BSB campus to see a full write-up for each:
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