Discover The British School of Barcelona

April 8, 2024 | Blog, Education

The British School of Barcelona (BSB) is a highly-regarded school offering a fantastic British and IB World education across four impressive campuses in Barcelona city centre, Sitges and Castelldefels.

We spoke with Acting Executive Principal, James Petrie about their approach to education, setting up a new campus in Barcelona City Centre and what makes them so unique in the region.


The British School of Barcelona

What do you think that The British School of Barcelona offers that sets itself apart from other leading international schools in Barcelona?

The British School of Barcelona offers our proven, well-established BSB education, which has been accredited as ‘Outstanding in every category’ by the British government. We have 4 distinct characteristics that ensure we provide an outstanding education for our students:

1. Academic excellence: We ensure our students leave BSB with great qualifications in order to access places at the best universities in Spain and across the world. We have achieved this for many years, and it is ingrained into the way we operate.

2. Student Choice: We focus on giving students more say in their curriculum, determining what they learn. This begins in Primary where we take an inquiry-based learning approach and extends into Secondary where, depending on the year group, 25%-40% of their curriculum is made up of subjects they have chosen. After that, students can choose to follow A Levels or the IB pathway when they enter Pre-University.

3. Wider skills: We also focus on the skills and habits our students will need to be successful in life after BSB. They need to be resourceful, curious, resilient, as well as able to socialise, think deeply and focus on tasks. We have developed an innovative pedagogical approach around nine Learning Habits, which are divided into four key areas – emotional engagement, strategic skills, thinking for oneself and collaborative skills. These learning habits are intertwined in our curriculum, so developing these skills is a seamless process at BSB.

4. Superb care and support: We aim to provide the best possible personal, social and academic support for every one of our students. Our staff develop great relationships with their students, getting to know and understand them, ensuring they feel able to share any problems or concerns they may have. When students are identified as struggling emotionally or socially, the wellbeing support team create an individual support plan. We also guide parents as they tackle issues for the first time. It is definitely a joined-up approach. 

BSB Castelldefels has long been established as one of the leading international schools in Spain, what was the thinking behind setting up a campus in Barcelona City Centre?

 

 

Our all-through school in Castelldefels is the original site of The British School of Barcelona. It dates from 1958 and is one of the oldest British schools in Spain. This campus has changed immeasurably over the past decade and now includes a theatre, a state-of-the-art STEM Centre, a separate Pre-University campus (BSB Nexus) and a rugby and football stadium. In 2016 BSB Sitges was opened as a beautiful, more intimate school for EY and Primary children, who then come to Castelldefels Secondary school. This works really well and is a natural ‘growing up’ moment for students. 

The high demand of more and more families willing to give their children a BSB education near their home was what encouraged us to open a campus in the heart of Barcelona. In September 2021 we launched the BSB City project with the opening of the Foundation Campus for children aged 3 to 6 in carrer de l’Esperança, 32, in Sarrià-Sant Gervasi. In September 2023 we opened the BSB City Main Campus in carrer Lucà, 1, in the same neighbourhood. This is a state-of-the art site for around 650 students aged 6 to 18, with shared facilities of over 23000m2 from the highly regarded Club Tennis Barcino next door. The new building adds to the sense of anticipation and excitement for our younger students, who begin their BSB school learning journey in the very intimate and familial Foundation Campus, as they move to their new ‘big’ school when they reach the age of six.

What curriculum(s) does BSB City new campus offer?

In all of our campuses in Barcelona, Castelldefels and Sitges, we follow the British curriculum from Early Years through to Primary and Secondary. When students reach Pre-University, they have the option to take the A Levels or the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP). This curriculum choice is available at our BSB Nexus campus in Castelldefels. At BSB City we focus exclusively on the IBDP pathway, building on our track record of excellence as an IB World School in Castelldefels. This is reflected in an outstanding pass rate, with scores exceeding the world average every year. 

What languages are lessons taught in?

At BSB all lessons are taught in English, which is the vehicular language in the school, with the exception of 2 hours of Spanish per week from Year 1, and 2 hours of Catalan per week from Year 2. French and German are offered from Year 7 to Year 13 as an additional language (French, at BSB City).

How many classes per year are there and approximately how many students per class? 

 

 

Depending on the campus, there are one or two classes in Early Years and Primary, with a maximum of 22 pupils in Early Years and a maximum of 25 pupils in Primary. In Secondary and Pre-University, students are split into tutor groups, with a maximum of 22 students per Secondary group and 16 students per Pre-University group.

What subjects are being offered at IB level?

The IB Diploma Programme requires all students to choose 6 subjects from a clearly defined series of areas. All students must study Maths, a Science, a Humanity subject and two Languages. Once these 6 subjects have been chosen, students then need to decide whether they will be studying them at Higher Level or Standard Level. They must choose 3 Higher Level subjects and 3 Standard Level subjects. Higher Level content is more sophisticated. Further to these subjects, IB students will have to complete the Core requirements of the IBDP programme: volunteer work (CAS), critical thinking (TOK) and 4000-word research project (EE).

What type of extracurricular activities are offered, including school trips?

 

 

Our after-school programme is divided into 4 main areas: sports clubs, creative clubs, academic clubs and languages clubs. Clubs on offer vary from campus to campus, but as a whole they include a wide range of activities, such as Basketball, Padel, Tennis, Fencing, Mini-Robotics, Cookery, Drama, Modern Dance & Jazz, StartTeensUp and Russian First Language, among many others.

Regarding educational visits, we are also immensely proud of our Barcelona context and our campuses are perfectly placed to make the most of the city and the stunning surrounding area, where students can truly feel inspired and thrive. Frequent educational visits and concrete experiences are a core part of our curriculum – and of our promise to our pupils.

Our trips offer is also very diverse, with opportunities to generate team building and comradeship in a relaxed atmosphere whether during the residential trips or trips abroad linked to subjects such as drama, geography, history, business, languages, among others. The fact that students across our campuses can join in and share the experience together is a unique opportunity to foster a sense of belonging and camaraderie within our school.

We have recently expanded our Secondary school trips offer to include sports tours to Miami and Milan, ski trips to Italy and Norway and a Geography trip to Iceland. 

Where have the teachers been recruited from?

Our exceptional team of teachers and support staff are all highly qualified educationalists, who are dedicated to the school and genuinely enjoy working with the children in their care. Every one of them brings something unique and special to the school which they share with the children. 

As a well-established school with enviable pedigree and proven track-record of excellence, our reputation and history allow us to attract and recruit the best professionals in the educational sector. 

Our process of recruitment includes an internal recruitment and external recruitment process. This allows some of our teaching staff at BSB Castelldefels, BSB Sitges or BSB City to apply for and take-up places at other campuses, which brings a wealth of expertise in BSB values and BSB education to all of our sites. 

What is the philosophy of BSB City and does it differ in any way to other Cognita schools?

 

 

All the campuses of The British School of Barcelona, whether in Barcelona, Castelldefels or Sitges, share the same mission and educational aims. 

Being part of the Cognita family connects us to over 100 schools globally. Our school maintains its unique identity while benefiting from shared experiences and support across the network. This diversity inspires collaboration and growth, shaping our students and teachers into active global citizens. It also fosters a learning space where young minds, guided by their teachers, are encouraged to express their unique ideas and talents, while instilling the values of respect and mutual understanding. It’s an individual approach that empowers our school, every teacher, and each student to discover what they do best and to thrive.

How are students prepared for education beyond 18 years once they have completed their studies at BSB?

We offer a genuine Pre-University experience, where students are equipped with the skills needed to thrive. Our Nexus programme encourages them to manage their time effectively, take on responsibility and value the wider community, in a caring, supportive environment. The Student Leadership Programme is also a key element of our wider provision and is central to our commitment to prepare students for a rapidly evolving world. 

Careers and Futures guidance is offered at BSB long before students reach Pre-University, but, once here, that programme is broadened and the advice increasingly personalised. We have a fantastic Futures Team offering first class support and guidance. We ensure all our students are made aware of the exciting future opportunities which await them and that they are given all the help they need to secure those futures in a rapidly evolving world.

Our BSB education will allow our students to study, live and work anywhere in the world. They achieve places at universities and on courses, where they can truly flourish. From studying Economics at NYU, to medicine at Cambridge or from Fashion in Milan to Management in Rotterdam, the possibilities are hugely exciting.

What mix of nationalities attends BSB City? 

In BSB we have a student body of 74 nationalities. In the BSB City campus 46 nationalities are represented.

How does having a different mix of nationalities enhance the learning experience?

At BSB, we believe in cultivating global citizens who appreciate and embrace difference. As an international school with a multicultural and multilingual community, we take every opportunity to celebrate our cultural richness by marking a variety of local and international days, cultural traditions, and religious festivities. These celebrations in school not only mark the occasion, but also deepen our students’ understanding and respect for cultural diversity, fostering global citizens with a global mindset, thus aligning with our educational aim of nurturing caring individuals principled in their beliefs.

Can you describe some of the state-of-art facilities that students are able to enjoy?

 

 

Significant investment in recent years has seen the development of each campus with excellent learning and sport facilities, which are unique in the local area, such as the BSB STEM Centre, the BSB Nexus Pre-University campus and the rugby stadium in Castelldefels. 

In Barcelona, the new BSB City Main Campus provides 5,500 m2 of indoor spaces divided into 11 floors and 1,200 m2 of outdoor spaces. The learning spaces include two first-class Science labs, an Art room with natural light and several multi-purpose classrooms and common areas. There is a large music room and three soundproofed individual rehearsal booths. There is an indoor gym, which spans 214 m2 and which is a multi-sports space marked out for four sports: basketball, badminton, volleyball and mini-football.

The fifth floor, called The Forum, has been designed as an independent workspace for Pre-University students. It contains furniture that allows for different work styles, with flexible spaces, which are adaptable for individual or group work. 

 

 

The outdoor spaces comprise a school playground and the padel tennis court. This is an area of 1,200 m2 with differentiated spaces for games such as the climbing wall and the multi-sports court, which is marked out for basketball, tennis, volleyball and mini-football. Thanks to an agreement with the Barcino Club, BSB students can enjoy 22,000 m2 of sports facilities which we are able to use for Physical Education and swimming lessons, with a 25-metre-long swimming pool with retractable cover, as well as for extracurricular activities.

For those unfamiliar with Sarrià in Barcelona, what does the neighbourhood offer students and how much will BSB City be taking advantage of being in Barcelona as opposed to being outside the city?

As previously mentioned, we view the city and our surrounding area as an extension of our classrooms supporting our dynamic and outward looking curriculum. In Barcelona, history and modernity coexist in a city which is the heart of major artistic, cultural and social events. The experiences presented to our students by living and learning in a global environment like Barcelona permeates every activity at our school. 

For those travelling to BSB City, what public transport does it have close by? 

 

 

At BSB we offer a school transport service with professional drivers and monitors and a well-maintained fleet of vehicles to bring students safely and promptly to and from school. We currently operate fifteen regular routes, plus three shuttles, covering most of the areas where our students live and travel to school. These are reviewed annually to meet the demands of families requiring the service. 

At BSB City We operate 4 bus routes covering different districts of Barcelona and also northwards to towns such as Sant Cugat, Valldoreix and La Floresta. An additional shuttle bus connects the two BSB City buildings (Foundations and Main Campus) at pick-up and drop-off times for those families with children of different ages attending both sites.

Additionally, BSB City has excellent public transport connections. Families can choose from the Barcelona public bus (TMB) or the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat (FGC) (L7 brown line) that stops in Plaça John Kennedy (Av. Tibidabo stop), very near the campus.

Are there still places available for the 23/24 school year? 

Depending on the campus we still have places available in some year groups. Our enrolment remains open throughout the year, with new students joining any time during the year. 

The enrolment period for the 2024/2025 school year has already started with significant interest and demand in all of our campuses.

From the moment a family arrives at BSB we ensure that they enjoy a smooth onboarding process and a positive experience, so that they quickly feel part of the BSB Community.

How can parents find more information in general and, specific information, about the fees?

We have a variety of ways for parents to experience what our school has to offer. We host regular Open Days at each of our campuses so that they can come and see our school in action and experience life at BSB. Alternatively, they can book a more personalised private tour with a member of our admissions team, who will give them the full tour of the school (both onsite and virtual) and answer any questions they may have. To arrange a visit, families can follow this link.

The school fees are published on the school website. We have a transparent fees system with different payment options available. We offer a range of optional services (operational, educational, sports and leisure), which require additional fees. These are charged monthly.

Read more about The British School of Barcelona and the admissions process on their website.


Find more highly recommended International Schools in Catalonia

Contact Details:

Admissions Enquiries: 

+34 93 707 95 98

enquiriesbcn@bsb.edu.es

BSB Sitges: Pre-Nursey, Early Years and Primary (2 to 11 years)
Passeig Isaac Albéniz, s/n, 08870 Sitges
+34 93 707 95 98
enquiries@bsb.edu.es

BSB Castelldefels: Early Years, Primary and Secondary (3 to 16 years)
C/Ginesta, 26, 08860 Castelldefels
+34 93 707 95 98
enquiries@bsb.edu.es

BSB Nexus: Pre-University Education (16 to 18 years)
C/Ginesta, 2-10, 08860 Castelldefels
+34 93 707 95 98
enquiries@bsb.edu.es

BSB City:
Foundation Campus (3 to 6 years): Carrer de l’Esperança, 32, 08017 Barcelona 

Foundation Campus (3 to 6 years): Carrer Lucà, 1, 08022 Barcelona

+34 93 707 95 98
enquiriesbcn@bsb.edu.es

 

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