The prestigious Forbes Magazine has published its list of the 50 best private and charter schools in Spain in 2021. A small committee of educators, psychologists and professional experts in education, has analysed 36 indicators such as the educational model, academic results, teacher excellence, awards or recognitions, language offer, tutoring, infrastructure or teacher-student ratio to determine which schools are the best. Among them, two Aragonese schools are ranked: Colegio Británico in 19th position and Juan de Lanuza, in 34th position.
Forbes has highlighted the project of the Juan de Lanuza School in Zaragoza, a family co-operative created in 1978 with a vision “already ahead of its time”, as the school’s headmistress Pilar Fernández explains. “It was an education with an eye to internationalisation, based on bringing out the best in everyone and teaching more than just content, focusing even then on soft skills. This used to mean teaching in democracy, respecting other opinions, taking turns to speak… learning in a more global and pluralistic way”, says the headmistress of the school. A way of teaching that is reflected in the academic excellence of its students.
“It was an education with an eye to internationalisation, based on bringing out the best in everyone and teaching more than just content, focusing even then on soft skills. This used to mean teaching in democracy, respecting other opinions, taking turns to speak… learning in a more global and pluralistic way” the school’s headmistress Pilar Fernández
Project-based learning and cognitive stimulation of the students have earned the school this recognition from Forbes Magazine. “At the school we recognise multiple intelligences and we use a methodology based on student discovery, for us it is very important to respect the learning pace of each student, so we cater for diversity, we load different content for each student on their Chromebooks and so we can get the best out of each one, always at a level well above the law,” says Fernandez.
At Juan de Lanuza they don’t use books. Music is introduced from the age of 3, as well as artistic expression and responsibility for the environment from a very young age. “We encourage critical and creative skills, and in recent years we have given a boost to personalisation,” says the headmistress. This means that each pupil from secondary school onwards has an individual tutor.
This methodology is based on self-management and on promoting pupil autonomy. “From primary school we work on metacognition, we help them to formulate strategic questions, how should I think, if I should practise more or not, how should I deal with the content, and in this way they become aware of their learning. It’s very positive because we have feedback between the student and the teacher so that we can reorient the classes and the content at all times,” says the director.
This is always done through digital tools such as a collaborative digital whiteboard, a Google Jambord, as they have been a Google Reference School for two years, one of the seals that has earned them recognition from Forbes, in addition to many others such as being one of the 100 best schools in Spain according to EL MUNDO, since 2002, the e-Twinning School Seal, Chair of Educational Innovation, Official Cambridge and Goethe Institut Examination Centre, Founding Partner of Mensa Cívica and Partner of CVOL.
Excellent and illustrious alumni
Forbes Magazine itself has highlighted some of the school’s alumni, such as Belén Masiá, a renowned computer engineer specialising in computational imaging; Alejandro Egido, NOAA David Johnson 2020 Award-winning engineer; Eneko Igartua, Managing Director of SkyWay in London; Pablo Vela, Otorhinolaryngology Resident Intern at the Miguel Servet Hospital in Zaragoza; and Art teacher Sofía Basterra, a renowned visual artist. Mariola Sebastián, a data consultant in London who has led biology and space medicine projects worldwide, also studied at Juan de Lanuza. Another illustrious alumnus of the school is the current mayor of Zaragoza, Jorge Azcón.