Eight million in investment, 2,000 students and 230 jobs. Two international schools open in Portugal

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At the start of the next school year, 2023-2024, there should be at least two new international schools in the country: The Lisboan International School and the Almada International School.

Being the choice of more and more foreigners, Portugal is seeing the birth of new private international schools. At the start of the next academic year 2023-2024 there should be at least two new international schools in the country. Together, The Lisboan International School and the Almada International School will have the capacity to receive about 2,050 students and create more than 230 jobs. Only one of them represents an investment of eight million euros, as ECO People knows.

“Lisbon is attracting a growing number of foreign families, who come to live and work in and around the city. After an exhaustive study, Artemis concluded that there was room in the market for a new international school, from three to 18 years old, that would guarantee high quality education for both the foreign and local markets”, explains the director of The Lisboan International School, Martin Harris.

The unlocker of the final decision was the location. “We needed a suitable location that was large enough to house a school of this type,” he says. “The space at the Fábrica Napolitana in Alcântara offers the perfect structure and safe environment to host a modern, forward-looking school. It is very well situated, both for family access and for the school to use Lisbon and the surrounding areas as an extended ‘classroom’.”

The private school to be born in Alcântara – the first in Portugal of the Artemis Education Group, which already has an international teaching school in Qatar – will have the capacity to receive 1,200 students, from pre-school to 12th grade, offering its students, whose ages range from three to 18, a complete curriculum that integrates British education based on the British, Cambridge International Education and International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, taught in English as the main language and in Portuguese as an additional language.

Without revealing the amount of investment involved in opening the school, Martin Harris says only that the amount is “significant.” He adds, “We are here for the long term and our parent company, Artemis Education, has an investment horizon that reflects that.”

Almada International School (AIS), the first project of the international school that has a South American group as investors, will have, in the first phase, the capacity to accommodate 400 students: 60 kindergarten, 140 nursery school, and 200 primary school. However, the plans are for expansion. In 2026/2027 the second phase of AIS will begin, with the extension of the second and third cycles of education, as well as secondary school. At that time, with its total expansion, the capacity will be 850 students, allowing the child’s academic pathway from the first year of age to high school.

“AIS is the first international school project we are implementing, but it is part of a ten-year plan that has a clear intention of organic expansion. This is our first investment that marks the beginning of a journey that will have its focus and implementation on the south bank of the Tagus,” says the school’s management.

During the first phase, AIS foresees an investment of six million Euros, while the expansion will involve a total investment of eight million Euros, including the opening of the new teaching cycles, as well as the creation of other infrastructures, such as a covered parking lot and a multi-sports pavilion.

In addition, building a boarding school is part of the ten-year plans. “We have the ambition, in our global project plan for ten years, to offer a boarding school. We still don’t have a location in Almada for sure”, says the boarding school’s management.

New colleges in Lisbon and Almada create more than 230 jobs
In its first year of operation, The Lisboan International School expects to employ about 50 people, a number that is expected to rise to more than 200 when the school reaches full capacity. The number of jobs includes teachers, coordinators, directors, administrative, cleaning and maintenance staff, among others.

Although he admits that it is difficult to pinpoint dates, Martin Harris believes that the full capacity of the school can be reached near 2030.

Rendering of The Lisboan International School
Rendering of The Lisboan International School

Currently in the “final construction phase,” the school will open in September 2023 on the premises of the former Napolitana Factory in the Alcântara area. “This building has been sustainably restored to firm up the value of its historical heritage, thus creating a very inspiring learning environment for all students. The renovation project is the responsibility of the Portuguese architect, Frederico Valsassina,” says the school’s director.

On the other side of the river, ACN saw Almada as a “natural choice”. It appears to be a strategic point from the point of view of the opportunity to implement an educational project of an international nature. This is the eighth most populated municipality in the country, according to the 2021 census. It is a municipality with a vision for the future, which is committed to offering favorable conditions for the establishment of foreign investment, as evidenced by the ‘Innovation District’ initiative, within which our school will be based. It is also a city very close to the capital, which offers unique conditions to live and grow,” says the board.

Almada International School Render
Almada International School Render

Scheduled to open also in September 2023, the school aims for a total of 30 jobs, including direct and indirect employees, during the first school year of operation. This number is also expected to increase in the following school years.

Education inside and outside the classroom

For now, only at The Lisboan International School are registrations already open for the next school year. “The number changes every day, but we are on our way to having 250 students enrolled at the school in September,” he says. Some teaching cycles are in greater demand than others. This is the case for children from three to four years old, as well as 13 to 14 years old, highlights the responsible.

When it comes to the main nationalities, Martin Harris says that, “so far, we have over 30 nationalities represented.” “The British, Americans and Portuguese represent the largest share, but we also have families from even further afield: Canada, Malaysia and Armenia.”

At Northview International School in Doha (Qatar), where the Artemis Education Group also owns an international school, there are 150 students, representing 34 nationalities. “The school staff comprises three academic leaders, ten administrative staff, 14 teachers, 12 assistant teachers, five security guards, six cleaning workers, one maintenance worker, and one nurse. The numbers will, of course, increase as the school grows.”

See here the project of The Lisboan International School in pictures:

 

Although The Lisboan International School’s teaching method is based on the British curriculum , the school has made some additions that include new subjects. “This is the case with life skills, where we teach children a huge variety of skills, from understanding finance, sewing a button or performing first aid; problem solving; and technologies,” explains Martin Harris.

“Beyond the different disciplines, there are core values in all subjects. We want our students to explore and investigate, rather than just listen or observe others. We want our students to be courageous and resilient, as well as emotionally intelligent in everything they do in school.”

“When we built the curriculum, we asked the senior staff two questions: what will the children need when they move on to univesity, and into adulthood? How can this be implemented in a school? Instead of simply replicating what has been taught for years, we have broadened the curriculum and complemented it with a wide range of extracurricular options.”

Martin Harris
Diretor da The Lisboan International School

The construction of the school curriculum involved the faculty. “When we built the curriculum, we asked the senior staff two questions : what will the children need when they move on to college, and into adulthood? How can that be implemented in a school? So instead of simply replicating what has been taught for years, we have broadened the curriculum and complemented it with a wide range of extracurricular options that enhance and expand the minds of our students. Our goal is not simply to be different, but to help equip children with a broad mix of skills for years to come.”

At Almada International School, although registrations are not even open yet, requests for clarification are already arriving. “So far we have already received a significant number of requests for information (around 400), through the intention forms that we make available online. We expect to be able to start receiving applications from families starting in March,” explains the directorate.

In this first phase, the school believes that there will be a greater predominance of Portuguese families. “But as the project gains solidity and effective implementation on the south bank of the Tagus, we foresee a 50% balance between Portuguese and expatriate families,” they believe.

See here the renders of Almada International School:

 

AIS has as its mission the integral development of students through academic and human formation , continuously rediscovering the taste and curiosity for learning. “We ensure a bilingual environment that responds to a multicultural universe, where the values of kindness, community living and respect are our daily choice. The student is the protagonist of the learning process and seeks, autonomously and responsibly, to discover and respond to interests or needs, according to their individual characteristics.”

Nature, sports, artistic creation and mastery of digital skills are fundamental premises at the school. “A curriculum built with our children’s happiness in mind,” concludes the board of directors.

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