Boarding & International Education in Portugal

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Boarding & International Education in Portugal: more than a trend, it’s an opportunity

In our diverse and globalised world, from an educational perspective, an “international curriculum” will increasingly become a synonym for “curriculum”.

Providing children with an international education, thus maximising their opportunities and options, has gradually become a priority for families in Portugal. This is true not only for expats living in the country, but also for Portuguese families for whom having access to a network of prestigious institutions worldwide, like the Inspired Education Group, makes a huge difference in their children’s future.

With 5 schools in Portugal, the Group opened its first boarding project in September 2021: an on-campus Boarding House at St. Peter’s International School, a school with 37.000 square meters and a series of new and modern facilities built specifically for this purpose. The Group approaches academic excellence as the beginning rather than the end of a journey, an open door to a career and a life full of opportunities. This journey can now happen in a space which is 100% dedicated to the pedagogical development of students, with a balanced approach between soft and hard skills, and located only 30 minutes away from the Lisbon city centre.

Spurred by the pandemic, the number of families seeking this type of solution in Portugal is increasing. St Peter’s International School, with nearly 30 years of history, offers the options of weekly or full boarding for students from the age of 14. In this new boarding house, students find a safe and protected space where they can develop their skills without interruptions or unpredictable events. Boarders have the opportunity to join the diverse school community of over 1,000 students from 40 nationalities and benefit from a unique, individualised academic programme, as well as personalised guidance for career choices and university access, which will prepare them for the most prestigious institutions, in Portugal and abroad.

“Students begin their journey at St. Peter’s in Nursery (from 4 months) and the school provides a rigorous, challenging and modern curriculum for all students right through to 18 years of age. After a bilingual programme until Grade 4, students at St. Peter’s follow a National or International pathway to university and choose to study at universities both in Portugal and abroad. This year, the school posted its best ever set of IB DP results and this bodes very well for future cohorts”, says Alex Callow, Executive Head of School at St. Peter’s.

The Portuguese Curriculum, centred on humanities and social sciences, guarantees a wide range of alternatives, which effectively complement any type of curriculum. This aims to prepare students to enter the most demanding national and international universities.

The international curriculum, on the other hand, allows a greater adaptation to the students’ academic profile as they can choose different subjects and disciplines. Both the IGCSE and IB Diploma programmes are recognised by the most demanding international universities and employers. The IB Diploma, specifically, is a challenging but balanced educational programme that focuses on preparing the students for a fully international academic and professional environment. It seeks to develop not only technical and academic skills, but also social and human skills, endowing each student with a unique capacity to identify difference, to know how to deal and grow with it.

Telma Fresta, Head of the International Section at St. Peter’s, elaborates: “The International Section offers academically challenging and balanced programmes which are structured in such a way that develop the intellectual, social, emotional and physical well-being of our students. It is our aim to prepare students for effective participation in a rapidly evolving and increasingly global society. In order to do this, the International Curriculum courses we provide allow students to acquire breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding. The methodology that is followed in the international section undoubtedly prepares our students to use the knowledge and skills they acquire, helping them to become active, caring and determined members of society in the future.”

Finally, the boarding programme, like the school itself, offers the two different curriculum options from Grade 9, both focused on the development of the students’ cognitive and behavioural abilities, with a view to optimising their academic journey.

Troy Looms, Head of Boarding at St. Peter’s International School, comments: “The opening of this boarding school in Portugal is a direct response to an increasingly paradigmatic change in the way families look at their children’s education, which Portugal is no stranger to. We can see the growing demand for a globalised education as a response to a globalised world and, at the same time, the growing relevance of a multidisciplinary educational programme when choosing an institution. Above all, we believe that this Boarding House is much more than just a dorm, but rather a second home for all our students, where they can develop as human beings and, naturally, future professionals.”

The success of this ambitious boarding project has confirmed St. Peter’s plan to remain a leading school, but also reinforces its strategy of providing students with a prestigious international experience which, combined with their unique potential and ambitions, will place them on the map for major international projects and markets.


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