On the outskirts of Madrid, in a spacious campus that is home to around 2,000 pupils ranging in age from two to 18, the British Council School Madrid offers a bicultural education designed for Spanish students. “Parents choose us for the English curriculum that we offer, for our inclusive approach to education, and for the investigative homework tasks we set,” says Gillian Flaxman OBE, Head of the British Council School Madrid. “We encourage critical thinking, a sense of responsibility and self-reflection.”

The school has the highest British Schools Overseas-assessed results of any British school in Spain and is proud of its reputation for innovation. “Society is constantly changing,” says Flaxman, “and we lead in adapting to and embracing these shifts.”

The BiBac qualification developed at the school is a direct response to changes in further education choices in Spain. “It is still unusual for a Spanish student to go to university abroad,” says Flaxman, “but that is changing. The BiBac bilingual baccalaureate sits alongside the International and Spanish Baccalaureates. With it, students can gain enough credits for the top universities in the world.”


A personal journey

Throughout their time at the school, students take part in public speaking activities and debates, improving their confidence and oracy. “When we help our students prepare their university applications, they already have really strong portfolios, with at least three languages and strong communication skills,” says Flaxman.

The academic journey from early years to secondary level values every aspect of a pupil’s personal development. In the technology department students study robotics, coding and 3D printing and the school’s five state-of-the-art science laboratories are equipped with electron microscopes. At the same time participation in the school choir is a curriculum requirement and the 300-seat Teatro del Britanico is in constant use due to the school’s dynamic drama and music programme. The school’s “Family” system, which mirrors the English house system, encourages a sense of belonging and is bolstered by a supportive parent body. The school’s charity is The Oncological Investigation Grant, which parents help support with regular fundraising events that to date have financed five cancer research projects.

The British Council School Madrid offers a stimulating, rigorous and broadly based bilingual environment, one that, “celebrates both Spanish and English culture,” as Flaxman puts it. “With a curriculum tailored to the needs of a modern Spanish society and framed within the English system,” she adds, “families feel proud to be here.”