Colegio Mª Paz Orellana
Our school "Maria de la Paz Orellana" was founded in 1880 by a group of "Carmelitas", or to be more exact, by a woman called Santa Joaquina de Vedruna.
It had been a catholic school for 113 years until it was turned into a "Cooperativa de Profesores" in 1993, which means that our school, today, is a mixed form of a public-private school. This type of school is very common in Spain, but also very special for this country.
Only to give you a rough idea about this kind of system, I would like to mention that only a number of classes of our school are subsidised by the public authority of the region of Extremadura. For the rest, the "Cooperativa de Profesores" and the parents have to pay themselves.
The 21 teachers, of which 11 are "Cooperativistas", teach children who are between three and sixteen years old. The school is divided into three stages:
- The three to five year olds go to first, second and third year of "Educación Infantil".
- After that, they attend classes of the so-called "Primaria" until they are twelve years old.
- Teenagers between twelve and sixteen years attend four grades of the stage of the school that is called "Secundaria".
In total, there are approximately 360 boys and girls to be taught in our school.
Up to only 6 years ago, the school was situated in a different place. Now, we are lucky enough to be concentrated in one single building that was bequeathed by a woman, named Margarita de Iturralde, to the Church of Spain at the beginning of the 20th century, but only for the purpose and benefit of the community.
In our school, the pupils of "Educación Infantil" and "Primaria" attend classes from 09:00 a.m. to 02:00 p.m., from Mondays to Fridays, and the students of "Secundaria" are required to be in school from 08:30 a.m. to 02:30 p.m., five days a week.
The three to twelve year olds additionally have the opportunity to attend non-obligatory courses in the afternoon, such as Drama, Arts, Sports or Computing. Non-compulsory classes are only held from Mondays to Thursdays.