Institut Ramon Berenguer IV is a public Secondary Education Institution offering both compulsory and post-compulsory secondary education courses to over 400 students aged 12 to 18. We offer five different specialised routes in post-compulsory education: Science, Arts (Plastic Arts and Drama Studies), Social Sciences, Humanities and Technology. All of our students take English and/or French as a foreign language.
Our school is set in a beautiful environment in the town of Santa Coloma de Gramenet, surrounded by green, but very well connected to the city centre of Barcelona by public transport. Technically, Santa Coloma de Gramenet belongs to the suburbs of Barcelona. It has a surface of 7 km2 and a population of approximately 120,800 inhabitants. Most of our students are from the area, with very few additions from abroad, and they come from varied socioeconomic backgrounds. They are generally well-behaved and respectful to their peers and members of staff. Based on the analysis of student performance in school tests and external examinations, in recent years the school focus has been on improving their basic skills and their communicative competence in English.
Our languages project revolves around CLIL: its gradual introduction into the teachinglearning practice and its potential to improve the skills and competence of young people, and to better prepare them for the educational, professional and personal challenges they might have to face throughout their lives. With this in mind, we adopted the CLIL approach in 2012. We received official training from the Languages Section of the local Department for Education and we embarked on this new experience with a team of only four teachers and with plenty of enthusiasm. The team has kept growing year after year, and we have now modified our school curriculum and linguistic portfolio in order to accommodate the new CLIL subjects. We currently teach several elective subjects in English (Drama, ICT, Cinema & Literature, and History).
We are also a very active school community and, over the years, we have developed the skills necessary to successfully organise and put into practice a large number of cultural projects. We have always been involved in a wide range of educational, environmental and artistic projects. We have a long history leading educational innovation in our area: we were a pioneer implementing the Spanish Education Reform in the 1990s and, since then, we have continued to play a leading role in the field of education, by organising and participating in a large number of initiatives: implementing innovation programmes organised by local universities, such as Universitat de Barcelona and Universitat Autònoma; sharing our experience with other schools and institutions in the area; offering training courses aimed at teaching staff; publishing articles in specialised magazines and sharing our experience and making it available to our community through the local media and through seminars held at primary schools and local associations. Every year we take part in events such as local Education Fairs (Diada de l’Ensenyament de Santa Coloma, Fira de l’Ensenyament de Badalona, Science Week…). With the support of experts from Universitat de Barcelona we have incorporated neuroscience to our teaching practice, and we have defined our school philosophy based on the idea of maintaining high academic standards while supporting each individual student though their journey of personal growth and achievement.
Our regular academic activity is strengthened and complemented by extracurricular projects based on three main pillars, i.e.: Solidarity, Environmental Education, and Cultural and Educational Innovation. We also place special emphasis on initiatives related to the field of Plastic Arts and Drama Studies, since we are the only school in our area that offers them at post-compulsory level.
For our Solidarity projects, which include a humanitarian project in the Sahara, we have enlisted the support of all of our community: the Town Hall of Santa Coloma de Gramenet; the local Neighbours’ Association; the local library (Biblioteca de Singuerlin); primary schools in our catchment area (CEIP Primavera, CEIP Salvatella, CEIP Sagrada Familia, CEIP Millet…); charities such as Fundació Tallers, focused on inclusion; food banks such as the local Banc d’Aliments; or the local senior citizens’ residence (Residència d’Avis de Santa Coloma), among others.
Our Environmental Education projects have led us to obtaining recognition as a Green School (Escola Verda) every single year since 2003. We are strongly committed to reducing waste, reusing and recycling materials, and to passing these values on to younger generations. We have support from the local Green Schools Network (Xarxa d’Escoles Verdes); the Barcelona City Council (Diputació de Barcelona), whose Euronet 50/50 project we are putting into practice; the Santa Coloma de Gramenet City Council Division for the Environment (Regidoria de Medi Ambient de Santa Coloma); the local Solar Schools Network (we were the first school in our area to have solar panels installed on our premises); the Network of Schools with a Weather Station; and the Centro de Innovación y Formación Ocupacional (CIFO), with which we have collaboration agreements for maintenance works on school premises and in the nearby forest area of Serralada de Marina, where we do reforestation works every winter. For our Cultural and Educational Innovation projects we have a wide range of associated institutions, the main ones being: Universitat de Barcelona and its facilities at the Torribera Campus, which are extremely close to our school (so much so that our science students have been doing their lab practices there since 2012); the Teacher-Training Units of Universitat de Barcelona and Universitat de Vic, from which we receive trainee teachers every year; local vocational training centres, such as CIFO, which send us students to do their traineeships on our premises; and the local libraries and theatres, which have hosted exhibitions and events organised by our school.
The Drama and Arts Studies that we offer have made us develop a good network of institutions where our students have shown their work and improved their skills over years of collaboration. The local libraries, the Sagarra Theatre, conference centres such as Can Sisteré or Mas Fonollar, and the Joan Miró Foundation are only some examples.