As just about every real estate listing demonstrates, most people want to live close to a good school. Happily, there are two very good international schools in Andorra, and the principality is so compact that just about everywhere is relatively close.
With school attendance mandatory in Andorra and homeschooling not allowed, schools are essential for those who have children, and those considering it.
Of course, their presence also has a positive effect on nearby property values.
Agora International School of Andorra and the British College of Andorra are the two international schools in Andorra.
In this article we’ll review the details you need to know about them.
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General Details of Schooling in Andorra
There are three public school systems in Andorra. French, Spanish and Andorran schools co-exist with Catalan used as the primary language in the latter, and is a language taught in all schools in the country. They all operate under similar parameters:
- All children from ages 5 to 16 must be enrolled in school.
- Andorran law does not allow children to be home-schooled.
- If you plan to live in Andorra, the residence permit application process will have to be completed before you search for a school.
Recent enrolment statistics show that there are about 11,000 students in all of Andorra’s schools put together.
The two private, international schools that we’re focussing on today are separate from the three-stream public school system in Andorra.
Agora International School
Located in l’Aldosa in La Massana valley, this is the most established international school in Andorra. It is part of the NACE Schools group of 31 schools across the world and was, until the recent rebranding, known as The Col·legi del Pirineu.
Curriculum at Agora International School
Currently, Agora Andorra offers students the chance to qualify for the Spanish Baccalaureate and an American high school diploma. The former is the secondary-school diploma in Spain (roughly equivalent to A levels in the UK). Achieving the latter makes it easier for graduates to apply to American universities.
Their plan, for the near future, is to add the International Baccalaureate programme. This will cover the Primary Years, Middle Years, and Diploma programmes. IB accreditation will give the Agora International School of Andorra the added level of prestige and global recognition that comes with its international curriculum and extraordinary focus on teacher development.
Extracurriculars at Agora International School
There is a very strong focus on athletics at Agora Andorra. The school is located in l’Aldosa’s sports centre. Some of the athletics offerings here are geared specifically to young athletes with the highest aspirations. For instance, those who benefitted from the programme competed in the Winter Olympics in both Vancouver and Sochi.
Boarding at Agora International Andorra
Adjacent to the main school, there are facilities for boarding approximately 50 students. Boarders, both boys and girls, range in age from 9 to 18.
British College of Andorra
Located in a former hostel in Andorra la Vella, called La Comella, the British College of Andorra plans to open for its first classes in September 2018.
To begin with, students will range from 3 to 11 years-old. As more cohorts are added, each year, the range will expand to include 18 year-olds in their last year before university.
The Curriculum at British College of Andorra
BCA will teach the National Curriculum of England and Wales. The school claims that students can more easily move from BCA to a school (or vice versa) in the UK or abroad that also uses the British curriculum.
Completing the curriculum will also ease admission process into universities in the UK, US and elsewhere. The British College of Andorra will be an official centre for GCSE and A levels exams.
All classes are taught in English, plus students receive the mandatory four weekly lessons (or equivalent) in Catalan so they learn the local language.
The plan is for BCA to also apply to be a World International Baccalaureate (IB) school.
Extracurriculars at British College of Andorra
Understandably, since the school has not yet opened, planning for extracurriculars is in the early stages. But athletic and artistic activities will share the focus for the out-of-class time.
Fees and Other Costs for Private Schools in Andorra
Fees for both the British College of Andorra from €9,250 to €12,750 per year, depending on the student’s age. There are additional application and enrollment fees. More details can be found on the BCA website.
The fees for Agora International School of Andorra vary depending both on age and the type of diploma programme selected, starting at €7,450 per year.
What Languages Are Taught at International Schools in Andorra?
Andorra is situated between Spain and France and is the only country in the world with Catalan as its official language. These attributes mean that private schools in Andorra are particularly well-suited for parents (and their kids) who are keen on a multi-lingual education.
At BCA, almost all classes are taught in English, but Catalan is also included in the curriculum. Starting when they’re 11 years-old, students will have the chance to study foreign languages.
International Schools in Andorra in a Nutshell
For such a small country, Andorra is very well served with international schools.
Both Agora International Andorra and the British College of Andorra offer parents the opportunity to enroll their children in academic programmes that are geared to achieving a diploma with global recognition and participating in an international community.
If you’re seeking more information on sending your child to an international school here in Andorra, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.