International School of the Algarve was established in 1972 by a group of local residents led by Paul and Eva Schelfhout to provide an education for the growing Portuguese and International community in the Algarve.
There are two sections: the International Section (ages 3 to 18) and the National Section (ages 6 to 18). In the International Section the early years are organised to deliver the curriculum in a fully bi-lingual way (English/Portuguese). Thereafter a modified English National Curriculum is taught. The National Section follows the Portuguese National Curriculum.
Students work towards UK GCSEs and A Levels as well as Portuguese National Qualifications before moving on to university. Whilst the majority goes on to university in Portugal or the UK, some gain places in the USA or Canada as well as in a variety of other EC countries.
Music, Drama and the Arts play a significant role in school life. As well as an extensive Instrumental Music Programme, a variety of concerts, plays and exhibitions are prepared each year. Some of these take place in the Drama Studio/Gymnasium or School Library whilst others are performed at large local public venues such as Lagoa Church or the Municipal Auditorium.
School teams compete against other local schools through the officially promoted School Sports Organisation (Desporto Escolar). Soccer, basketball, tennis and gymnastics fall within this organisation. In addition there are a number of competitions against the other International Schools from all over Portugal, including soccer and basketball, for both boys and girls teams, as well as cross country.
For lunch pupils may choose to have a hot three course meal, cooked in the school kitchens and served in the dining room, or to eat a packed lunch. There is also a snack bar.
The school year runs from September to the end of June, with breaks for Christmas and Easter. Portuguese National holidays are observed.