The Lisboan


Mar 6 2023

The Lisboan in the media. Article originally published in ECO on 22nd February 2023.

Source: ECO, 22 Feb. 2023


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

Joana Nabais Ferreira

In the beginning 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 around 2,050 students and create more than 230 jobs. One of them alone represents an investment of eight million euros, ECO People knows.

“Lisbon is attracting a growing number of foreign families, who come to live and work in the city and its surroundings. After an exhaustive study, Artemis concluded that there was room in the market for a new international school, from three to 18 years old, which 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 site 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 school in Qatar – will have the capacity to receive 1,200 students, from Nursery to Year 13. The Lisboan will offer 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) programmes, taught in English.

Without revealing the investment involved in opening the school, Martin Harris only says 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 this”.

Almada International School (AIS), the first project of the international school that has a South American group as investors, will have, in a first phase, the capacity to receive 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 education. At that time, with its full expansion, the capacity will be 850 students, allowing the child’s academic pathway from their first year of age to secondary education.

“AIS is the first international school project we are implementing, but it is integrated into 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 board of the school.

“We have the ambition, in our global project plan for ten years, to offer a boarding school. We have not yet taken for granted that it will also be located in Almada”.

Almada International School Direction

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 car park and a multi-sports pavilion.

In addition, building a boarding school is part of the ten-year plan. “We have the ambition, in our global project plan for ten years, to offer a boarding school. We are not yet sure that it will also be located in Almada,” says the directors.

New schools in Lisbon and Almada create more than 230 jobs

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

While admitting that it is difficult to give dates, Martin Harris believes that the full capacity of the school could be reached close to 2030.

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 Principal.

Across the river, AIS 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 populous municipality in Portugal, according to the 2021 census. It is a municipality with a vision for the future, which is committed to offering favourable conditions for the establishment of foreign investment. This is proven by the ‘Innovation District’ initiative, in which our school will be based. It is also a city very close to the capital, which offers unique conditions to live and grow”, defends the direction.

Scheduled to open in September 2023, the school aims for a total of 30 jobs, including direct and indirect employees, during its first 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 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 states. Some teaching cycles are in greater demand than others. This is the case for children between three and four years old, as well as for 13 to 14 year olds.

Regarding the main nationalities, Martin Harris says that “so far, we have over 30 nationalities represented”. “The British, Americans and Portuguese represent the biggest slice, but we also have families from even further: Canada, Malaysia and Armenia.”

At Northview International School in Doha (Qatar), where the Artemis Education Group also has 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 naturally increase as the school grows.”

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 range of skills, from understanding finance, sewing a button or performing first aid; problem solving; and technologies,” explains Martin Harris.

“Beyond the different subjects, there are core values across 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 children need when they move on to university, and into adulthood? How can that be implemented in a school? Rather than simply replicating what has been taught for years, we extended the curriculum and complemented it with a wide range of extra-curricular options”.

Martin Harris

Principal of The Lisboan International School

Building the school curriculum involved the teaching staff. “When we built the curriculum, we asked the senior staff two questions: what will the children need when they move on to university, and into adult life? How can that be implemented in a school? So rather than 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 our students’ minds. Our aim 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 registration is not even open yet, enquiries are already pouring in. “We have so far received a significant number of enquiries (in the region of 400), through the intention forms we provide online. We hope to be able to start receiving registrations from families from 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.

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

Click here to read the original article in Portuguese.
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