1. School ownership
The school is under the governance of the Seventh-day Adventist Church therefore following Adventist educational principles and philosophy.
Col·legi Urgell (Urgell School) is a member of the Adventist educational system which currently encompasses a network of 7,842 educational institutions worldwide with over 1.8 million students covering all educational levels from pre-school to post-graduate level.
Col·legi Urgell is a private-public partnership school funded by the Educational Department of the Catalan Government and offers schooling from pre-school through to secondary school (ages 3-16).
2. Location, surroundings and context
Located in the left Eixample district of Barcelona on Urgell Street, which gives it its name, Col·legi Urgell was inaugurated in October 1960 in response to the needs and concerns of a group of Adventist families in Barcelona and surrounding area.
Since its foundation the school has been noted for having an open approach to its surroundings and cultural and religious diversity. The school has always encouraged both a family and student-centred approach where students’ educational needs are the focus points for the educational team at Col·legi Urgell. This has been, and still is, largely thanks to the school’s welcoming environment and to the one class per year policy.
Even though students at Col·legi Urgell currently stem from very diverse cultural, social and religious backgrounds, for most of the students and their families religion and spirituality is a very important aspect in their daily lives.
3. Educational principles
Here at Col·legi Urgell we understand that education and learning is an important aspect not only of ones philosophy of life but also an important concept in personal development. This approach is the main determinant of our educational project, influencing how our school is organised in terms of the values we encourage; our warm and welcoming environment, our teaching styles, the teacher’s profiles, our financial strategies, and basically the organisation and delivery of all our educational services.
Col·legi Urgell follows these five main principles upon which all educational aspects are founded:
- An education based on the values of the gospel
- A holistic and satisfactory student development
- Catalan as the lingua franca and Catalan cultural awareness
- A joint effort between school and parents and social engagement
- Health education and respect for nature
Furthermore, as a school one of our main focus points is on-going improvement in order to engage with the challenges and needs of the changing society which we live in.
3.1. Education based on the values of the gospel
Col·legi Urgell is an educational institution whose values are based on the doctrines and principles of the scriptures. These values make up the foundation of our educational system, a permanent point of reference and interest in all our initiatives.
We therefore identify in society as a Christian school aiming to educate our students in a way that they might be able to achieve self-fulfilment, personal development and carry out service unto others in all of life’s aspects: intellectually and academically, morally and spiritually as well as physically and mentally.
As a school, we encourage an integration of the message of the Gospel across all subject areas. Additionally, we offer an optional Bible School outside school hours. We are therefore not a secular school, we bear witness and use participatory teaching methods aiming to transform, welcome, orientate and guide our students’ development. It is our wish to teach compassion and sharing by creating spaces that encourage reflection and freedom of thought. We use an open style of teaching, where freedom of religious thought is always respected for students, teachers and parents alike. We strive to foster the following values in the hope that our students will make them their own.
- A sense of responsibility
- Reflection and critical thinking
- Self-demand and personal effort
- Respect of the self and of others
- Solidarity, cooperation and citizenship
- Tolerance and forgiveness
- Peace in terms of justice and equality
- Respect for the environment
- Hope for a better world
We believe that these values are the teachings passed on to us by the Gospels and Jesus and hope that these will become useful tools in creating a better world.
3.2. Holistic and satisfactory student development
We believe that a successful education is being able to achieve and perform across all educational subject areas to the student’s best abilities. We endeavour to offer our students the opportunity to develop all their capabilities, talents and gifts.
We aspire to teach in a way that concepts are always related to student’s vital development so that we are always at pace with their developmental milestones and therefore knowledge acquired will always be related to their age.
Our school develops teaching–learning processes by co-education and promotes respectful and tolerant attitudes towards others and their opinions within the Human Rights Framework. We pay special care and attention to those with special needs and minorities.
We have a very diverse student community, and we therefore endeavour to put strategies in place that will aid newcomers to settle in and feel welcome in our school.
Every member of staff in our school seeks to encourage staff-student relationships that promote security and self-esteem so that students not only develop to their full individual potential, but also raising their awareness of their achievements so that they are motivated to keep on improving and learning. We believe in the importance of emotional development as a key element of holistic education.
Assessment of the educational process is continuous. Two aspects are taken into account: learning and attitudes. Grades are a reference points for teachers, students and parents alike. Individual, personal and mitigating circumstances are also always taken into account.
To facilitate learning, the school enforces rules that must be followed. Failure to do so results in a reflection period for the student, and in some cases, a rectifying and reparation is encouraged.
We make use of the newest technologies available in our classrooms, using data and equipment as pedagogical tools in a creative and critical way.
Trips, visits and guided tours are used with the following ideas in mind: to bring our students closer to different contexts be it social, natural or technical environments. We aim to encourage the wonder of learning and discovery whilst at the same time installing frameworks for optimal social interaction and respect for the environment and nature.
With regards to Physical Education, our school promotes respect for the rules, individual effort and teamwork. The school also strives to help students’ discover their own physical capabilities and talents. Competitions of every kind be it sports, literary or artistic competitions, should be understood as a way to stimulate students to participate and to encourage self-improvement. We hope to help our students put the concepts of ‘victory’ and ‘loss’ into perspective.
Our teachers and staff have well defined programs, objectives, content and methodology which are periodically revised. We bear in mind that as students grow and get older there should be a progression from more flexible programmes to a more specialised and standardised approach. Therefore, the curriculum is adjusted to follow the Spanish rules and regulations regarding curricular content. Nevertheless, in accordance with existing self-regulation capacities that allows certain autonomy in educational institutions in Spain, Col·legi Urgell will strengthen the following aspects:
- Knowledge of the Bible and the Gospels
- The introduction of faith in learning
- Content and language integrated learning (CLIL) from pre-school through to secondary school. This approach involves learning subjects through an additional language, in this case English. It has a dual focussed aim: namely, subject and content learning as well as simultaneous second language learning.
- The introduction of German as a second foreign language in secondary school
- The use of music in all educational aspects
- The integral use of IT (Information Technology) across all subject areas
- Diversity outreach through flexible groups and other approaches
As a school we are committed to doing everything to ensure that our students reach the basic competencies that have been established for each key educational stage.
3.3. Catalan as the lingua franca and Catalan cultural awareness
We are a Catalan school deeply established in the country’s reality. And as such it is our aim to ensure that our students become integrated in all components of Catalan society through our language and culture.
We believe the positive feelings that arise from a sense of belonging to a community give way to a much wider feeling of belonging in society. It is therefore that we understand being Catalan not as closing oneself to the outside door but as an open door to a widening understanding of other cultures, societies and communities.
The written and spoken language used in school is Catalan. Other maternal languages are always respected and we provide help with students’ adaptation to the new language.
Our final aim as an educational institution is that all students finishing Escuela Secundaria Obligatoria (Legally Compulsory Education in Spain) will have acquired complete command and knowledge of our two official languages: Spanish and Catalan.
3.4. Parental and school joint educational effort and student social engagement
We believe that parents are children’s first line of education, and thus, the school complements the families’ educational work. This combined effort helps the students in their personal growth and maturing process. This process requires unity in the educational criteria and demands a close collaboration between the school and the parents.
We believe that it is our responsibility to warrant the best possible response to the mutual commitment made between the school and the families that choose us. We view our schooling as a collaboration in our student’s education between the school and the parents.
We always take the society in which we live in into account, and we endeavour to have a positive impact. Thus, we are aware of the reality that surrounds us and we try to compensate, when possible, for cultural and social inequalities.
We guide our students and their families through the final stages of compulsory education to help them make the best choice on what to do with their future in accordance with each student’s aptitudes and interests.
Thanks to the healthy and positive relationship between parents, tutors and management, we can provide a coherent and enriching framework for our student’s educational experience. Finally, this nurturing relationship contributes to achieving a high educational level across the whole student experience.
3.5. Health education and respect for nature
As an educational institution we encourage and promote holistic health education as part of a broader process in the acquisition of healthy habits and attitudes towards health.
We believe that health education is a basic resource for a complete physical, mental and social development. Health education has a cross-curricular application and is completely integrated in our educational project.
Some of the health subjects we focus on are: healthy diets, personal hygiene, physical activity, rest, risky behaviour prevention, self-esteem, and emotional intelligence amongst others.
In our opinion, health education amongst teenagers is especially important and necessary. In this developmental stage, illnesses are seen as a very distant and rare possibility. Teenagers learn new ways of relating amongst themselves and thus are exposed to different kind of influences, and may also be enticed by risky behaviours. For this reason, our school offers training programmes from a Christian perspective for secondary school students. Additionally, we endeavour to participate in initiatives that encourage healthcare and healthy habits.
We understand nature and the environment as part of God’s creation. For this reason we promote respect for the environment and we encourage eco-friendly practices.
Different types of activities are organised in order to give students the opportunity to interact with nature. Thus, their curiosity is stimulated and they can learn by experiencing new situations.
The school is organised in accordance to Catalan official regulations regarding Public-Private Partnership Schools (private schools receiving public funding). We also have an executive school board that monitors the proper running of the institution.
In order to guarantee quality, the school carries out periodical self-assessment evaluations with the aim of continuous improving of all action areas. During this process, the opinion of the entire educational community is taken into account.
The Adventist Accrediting Association carries out an accreditation process every five years that guarantees our excellence. This process is in accordance to the global criteria of the Department of Education of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
Barcelona, October 31st 2013