Our guide to the top international private schools in Marbella, offering detailed insights into their academic programmes, extracurricular activities, and unique features.
Article by Sophie Anne Gatward-Wicks
Marbella is home to some of the best private schools in the country, offering excellent education opportunities for children of all ages. These schools provide a wide range of academic programs and extracurricular activities, ensuring that students have access to a well-rounded education. Whether you are looking for a school that follows the British national curriculum or the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, there is a private school in Marbella that will meet your needs. Whilst each school has its own style, one notable advantage is the preferable student to teacher ratios, which ensure a personalised and prestigious environment for everyone.
Less than 5 minutes drive from Puerto Banus, perched on a hill facing the stunning La Concha mountain, sits one of the most well-established schools in Southern Spain. Aloha College is a co-educational school that follows the British National Curriculum, offering the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme and International A-Level programmes. Students can also receive qualifications under the Spanish system, allowing them access to the best national and international universities. The school has gained long-standing popularity, and has been providing high-quality education to students for over 30 years. Accredited by the National Association of British Schools in Spain, it has become one of the top choices for parents along the Costa del Sol, operating successfully as a not-for-profit educational foundation. Boasting a 30,000 m2 campus which includes a multi-purpose sports area, a stage professional enough for any theatrical production, and a gymnasium/multi-purpose hall.
Swans International School
Founded in 1971, Swans primary school which is situated in the El Capricho urbanization on the Golden Mile, has naturally evolved to be in the fond memories of those who came to town when Marbella and Puerto Banus were still up and coming. Their secondary school is located in the luxurious urbanization of Sierra Blanca, and combines the best of British education programs with Singapore’s education system. Offering an exceptional language education that includes English, French, Spanish, and German, as well as Chinese and Arabic. Students aged 7-11 follow a program based on the UK National Curriculum, culminating in public examinations leading to the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE). Native Spanish speakers follow the Spanish system (EP and ESO). Baccalaureate students (ages 12 and 13) follow the IB Diploma Program. The school has a broad range of extracurricular activities to include an array of sports, cooking, painting and music.
Laude San Pedro International College
Located in Nueva Alcántara close to the sea in San Pedro de Alcántara, Laude San Pedro International College has a strong focus on technology and innovation, and has been recognized for its excellent use of technology in the classroom. The school also offers a wide range of extracurricular activities, including music, drama, and sports. It caters to students from ages 3 to 18 offering the full British Curriculum (the International Primary Curriculum, GCSEs and A Levels) as well as the Spanish equivalent (ESO and Bachillerato). The school offers excellent sports facilities, including a large AstroTurf football pitch, two multisport courts, and an indoor gymnasium with changing facilities and seating for over 400 people.
San José de Guadalmina
Coming up to 20 years since this school was established in the beautiful area of San José de Guadalmina, it now holds the accolade of being included in the esteemed Forbes list of the 50 best private schools in Spain. With another branch in the charming town of Estepona, the school is able to comfortably provide a full range of education for all stages. Offering a bilingual education in English and Spanish, from early Childhood Education, all the way through to National Baccalaureate, IB Diploma Program and Dual Baccalaureate Program. There is also a strong emphasis on French and German language instruction, with preparation for the DELF tests of the Alliance Française and those of the Goethe Institut. The school’s STREAMING methodological program, which stands for Science, Technology, Radio and multimedia, Engineering, Arts, and Maths, is a great example of their commitment to utilizing cutting-edge technology in their teaching.
The British International School of Marbella
Situated in the exclusive area of Nagüeles and established in 2010, The British International School of Marbella has gained a notable reputation as one of the finest international private schools in Marbella. Following the English National Curriculum (ENC), providing IGCSE and A Levels, with over a decade of experience gained from the global network of schools under the British Schools Foundation. The building itself is an architectural achievement, having been designed to run on renewable energy, and has been certified to the highest environmental standard (Grade A) whilst offering state-of-the-art facilities with an all-weather sports field, a 25-meter heated indoor swimming pool, basketball court and dance studio.
Located in the Linda Vista area of San Pedro de Alcántara, Calpe School is designed for the little ones, being a preschool and primary school catering to students aged 2 to 11. The Early Years Foundation Stage program is followed by children aged 2 to 5, which utilizes a “Happy to Learn” technique to introduce them to four key areas of learning, namely Language, Mathematics, Understanding the World, and Artistic Expression through various games. As the students progress through the following stages, they follow a comprehensive curriculum with subject-specific teachers. Calpe School prioritizes English and Mathematics, while also offering other subjects such as History, Geography, Science, Music, French, and Physical Education.
To note, this is not an exhaustive list of all the International schools available in Marbella, or the Costa del Sol for that matter. There are some fantastic options beyond the familiar postcodes well worth considering, such as Sotogrande International School and boarding, a 40-50 minute drive west along the coast from Marbella. Though no matter what school you choose, you will still be gaining access to one of the key features these international schools all have to offer: unmatched multiculturalism. The social benefit is bar none, with student bodies consisting on average of 50 different nationalities, naturally being an education in and of itself. The social pool of different languages, accents and cultures creates a diverse range of global inclusivity and networking which will stay with your child into their adulthood, as they develop their own passions alongside the unique talents and individualities of their peers.