One of the distinctive hallmarks of St. Patrick's is our firm commitment to trilingualism, with, of course, a special emphasis on English.
As soon as they start school, toddlers and pre-school pupils are immersed in English, Spanish and Basque, learning and playing simultaneously in the three languages. With at least half the time spent on English, considerable coordination is required on the part of the teachers to make sure that the educational goals of the three languages are met successfully.
In the first two years of Primary Education, the pupils continue to spend 50% of the school day on English. After the early years of schooling, which provide an intensive introduction to English, it continues to be of major importance, taking up 33% of the weekly timetable up to Year 3 of Secondary Education (ESO). English is used for working on Social and Civic Values, from Year 6 of Primary Education to Year 4 of Secondary Education where values are developed in the Ethics class. Other examples of the integrated use of language in the curriculum are, Natural Sciences, a subject taught through English for three hours every week up to Year 3 of Primary Education, and Scientific Culture, which is taught in English in Year 1 of the Baccalaureate cycle. IT and Technology are taught exclusively in English as is Art in Primary Education.
English from Years 3 to 6 in Primary Education is taught for six hours a week and is theme-based. In Secondary Education and the Baccalaureate cycle, however, classes are divided into three smaller groups of similar levels, so that progress is optimized and the pupils benefit from greater individual attention.
The longer primary school day has allowed greater dedication to the Basque language, now used for teaching Physical Education, thus reflecting the school's genuine commitment to trilingualism. Music and Art Education are taught through Basque, and children are given the choice of studying Social Sciences in Spanish or Basque from Year 3 of Primary Education on. From Year 5 of Primary Education on, the Basque classes are divided into three different levels so that the pupils' specific needs can be met more effectively. 26% of the curriculum is in Basque in Primary Education, while the figure reaches 34% at Secondary level.