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I.E.S. Urola Ikastola Azkoitia-Azpeitia B.H.I. is a public school with 762 students and a staff of 108 teachers. The school is distributed into two buildings in also two neighbouring towns. We range our academic scope from Compulsory Secondary Education to Post-Compulsory Education, including Batxilergoa-Bachiller (Sixth Form and A levels) and Intermediate Vocational Training (Mechanics, Woordwork and Furniture Manufacturing) and Upper Vocational Training (Administration and Finance).
Our area is basically industrial with unemployment rates around 14 % at the moment. Therefore, the L.L.P. funds enable many of our students’ participation in European projects that, otherwise, would hardly be afforded. There is a significant number of immigrant students but their integration has been quite successful so far.
We have always paid a special attention to management quality and pedagogical innovation. We meet ISO requirements and were awarded the silver Q to good quality in education management.
The education language in our school is Basque –the mother tongue of most of our students- alongside Spanish, as the two official languages. We have always endeavoured to offer a multilingual approach, being our European Projects an asset in this pursuit.
We are also involved in Innovation Projects targeting at the content based learning-teaching of languages and the reinforcement of speaking skills. The European dimension of education is particularly highlighted in curriculum subjects such as English Speaking Workshop (students 13-14 years old), English Oral Production (students aged 16-17) and Business English for Administration and Finance which, therefore, there is a CLIL approach to education.
For the last few years we have hosted Conversation Assistants from English speaking countries such as the USA, UK and New Zealand, who help us in our Speaking Workshops. Likewise we have been involved in the ICT update of the staff through our participation in the IT Model School programme run by the Department of Education of the Basque Government in which we were credited as a model school. Finally, for many years our school has been involved in programmes of conflict resolution in school and sex equality. These programmes run by the Department of Pedagogical Innovation of the Basque Government aim at the eradication of sexism and violence.
We also live up to our commitment of innovation through the European dimension of our school. Since 1998 we have been involved in Socrates and L.L.P. Comenius projects and Leonardo da Vinci and Erasmus in Vocational Training We have also held the extended Erasmus chart for six years. In the year 2000 we co-operated in the foundation of “Euro School Net 2000”, a network of European schools and 2 teacher training colleges. We are one of the six Elos schools in the Basque Country. This European aspect of our school has become a distinctive feature of our academic offer, having now to cater for the constant demand from parents and students for our participation in projects, in which almost 700 students and a good number of teachers have been involved since 1998. We struggle to meet this demand as well as tighten our bonds with other European schools in order to give our students better opportunities to work and live successfully as well-informed, critical citizens of the European Union.
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