22 Oct Interview with Mr Christopher Bromham, Principal of ICS Madrid
With over 70 nationalities, International College Spain (ICS) is a welcoming community school committed to giving every child a truly global learning experience. It is a day school providing Primary and Secondary education to children 3 to 18 years old, and is the only school in Madrid to offer all three IB programmes in English.
What is the philosophy of the school?
Our Mission is to provide students with a high quality international education that places a strong emphasis on fostering respect for other people’s identity and culture. Our ‘Be Ambitious’ philosophy drives our educational offer.
In addition, we are very proud of our collaborations with Juilliard and MIT. We believe there is no limit to what your child can achieve.
What curriculum does the school follow and which language and the students taught in?
We offer the three IB Programmes (Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme and the IB Programme). The medium of instruction is English throughout.
Are non-Spanish parents concerned that their children may not be getting a sufficient level of Spanish?
ICS students learn Spanish from K3 up to Grade 12, furthermore one of the highest pass rates and scores for our students in the IB Diploma are in Spanish Language and Literature. We adapt Spanish lessons to our students’ needs, offering different levels in both Primary and Secondary Schools for native and non-native students.
Approximately what is the ratio of local pupils to non-Spanish pupils? How many nationalities do you currently have within the college?
At present we have 72 different nationalities with approximately 30% with Spanish nationality.
With so many different nationalities, how do you ensure a sense of community within the school?
We are a welcoming and caring school community dedicated to building the social and emotional confidence of every child. Respect for all nations and cultures is instilled in our learning and a priority characteristic we instil in our students and staff.
Our Parent Association is a source of information and the parents’ link to our School through educational matters committees and organising social events. In addition, our Welcome Committee, Country Ambassadors and social events are fundamental in bringing our community together to celebrate our cultural and international environment.
How does the school ensure that children are sufficiently integrated in the local community?
International College Spain makes excellent use of cultural opportunities offered to us by our host country. School visits and trips are organised regularly throughout the school year to enhance the learning experiences in the classroom.
Our base in Madrid provides us with a rich cultural landscape to explore through day visits and trips with our students. Our students visit a number of local places such as galleries and museums, as well as sites of historical significance or scientific interests. We also offer residential visits and trips abroad for multicultural experiences and learning.
How can parents gauge the academic success of the school?
Our excellent academic outcomes and support throughout each child’s learning journey are testament to the academic success at ICS. Our students consistently score above the global average in the IB Diploma Programme and Middle Years Programme. Every year we achieve over 94% IB Diploma pass rate, which places us amongst the top 2 percent of schools in the world for IB success rates.
In addition, a healthy child will be more attentive in class and achieve more. We offer a disciplined and stable environment that helps our students feel happy and secure at all times allowing each child to develop self-confidence, self-esteem, maturity, stability and a genuine appreciation and respect for others.
Approximately what percentage of children go on to University from the school and do many of them go on to higher education outside of Spain?
Students at ICS can be assured of receiving an education that will prepare them for further education at universities worldwide. The 2020 ICS graduates planned to attend universities in the UK 50%, Spain 22%, USA 11% and other countries 14%. 88% of students who applied to the UK gained a place at their first-choice university.
How important are extracurricular activities at the school?
The importance of academic achievement for any student is essential but at ICS we believe that for a well-rounded education, fun and energetic interests are also key. Studies show that students enrolled in activities programmes have higher academic grades, learn to manage their time, relieve stress and learn to strive for excellence. These activities can also help with university applications and improve social skills as well as overall productivity.
The school is located 30 minutes north of the city centre. Can you tell us something about the campus?
Set in 3 hectares of beautiful gardens, ICS offers perfect surroundings for perfect learning. La Moraleja suburb is exclusive within the Madrid community, with high security patrols to help children and parents feel safe and secure.
Our Primary School students benefit from music rooms, spacious classrooms, a space for movement and dance, a large gym and three separate playgrounds. Early Years students have dedicated classrooms and a play area. Our Secondary School facilities include rooms for design technology, computer technology, art and design, music and drama. In addition, students can explore the wonders of science in one of seven science laboratories or revise for their Diploma Programme in a dedicated study room.
What makes the school stand out from other international schools in Madrid?
We are the only school in Madrid offering the three prestigious IB programmes in English, providing students with a stimulating academic curriculum in a caring learning environment combined with a unique international focus.