Statement from Aljezur International School

“We would like to thank The Resident newspaper for bringing our current unexpected
situation to the public’s attention.

“Aljezur International School was first issued with a licence from the Ministry of Education in 2010 and since then has worked with the full and continuing support of Aljezur Câmara.
Since 2010, we have complied with and fulfilled the responsibilities expected of all public
and private licenced schools in Portugal.  This includes access to the Ministry of Education
online portal into which student and teacher details must be entered every year.  We also
receive several emails every week from Ministry of Education representatives, the most
recent of which arrived on 10 th August.  These are emails which are only sent to licenced
schools.

“In 2015 Aljezur International School became a member of UNESCO and we have been a fully accredited Cambridge exam centre since 2010 – the only one in the Algarve to accept
external candidates.

“In 2021, we were accepted into the Blue School (Escola Azul) initiative and our students
recently presented their project work to a conference in Lisbon which was attended by the
Minister of Education, João Costa.

“We were therefore shocked to receive a closure notice from the Delegado of the Ministry of
Education office in Faro at the beginning of August.

“Although we have still not received a definitive reason for this closure notice, this is an
administrative decision, not a judicial one, and our legal team has submitted an appeal in
the court system.

“Until a final decision is reached by this judicial system, we will continue to educate our
students and will open as planned on 7 th September.

“We pride ourselves in providing a unique education with small class groups in a family
atmosphere and a high teacher to student ratio.  As well as mathematical, language, science and humanities subjects, our curriculum includes lessons such as Mindfulness and
Agriculture which we consider to be vitally important in providing a well-rounded education
to our students.  Our exam results are excellent and we are unbelievably proud of what our
students since 2010 have gone on to achieve.

“We currently have a waiting list of over 300 students and many families have moved from
all over the world to Aljezur and the western Algarve to enroll their children in our school.
With more and more “alternative” unlicenced schools popping up in the area, it would be
unfortunate if parents considering a move to the area did not have an option for their
children to be educated in a recognised and licenced school.

“Although we are both directors of Aljezur International School, we also teach and this is our passion and joy.  For the sake of all our students (past, present and future) and with our excellent legal team at our side, we will do everything we can to work with the Ministry of Education to resolve this administrative error.

“Karen Whitten and Sílvia Catarino  (Directors of Aljezur International School)”