Education is much more than academics

Posted on 28th Sep 2022 in School News, Spain, Sport, International Schools

ES American School combines an innovative, inspiring programme that combines high-quality education with elite sports training

Providing world class, future focused and enriching education is the most important gift we can give to our children.

Preparing students to be confident, successful participants in the diverse, rapidly changing world is a responsibility that we, in education, take extremely seriously. Reviewing and adapting the experience our students have, ensuring we can give the very best opportunities possible is therefore of the utmost importance.

So what does outstanding education look like?


As a leader in education, I came to the realization very early on that students thrive when they feel seen and heard. They flourish in a system where they feel highly involved in their learning instead of being a passive participant.

Personalization plays such a key role. Students only get one shot at growing up. Their formative school years should allow them to develop physically, emotionally, creatively, socially and cognitively. They should be encouraged to explore who they are and who they want to be.

Schools that have a focus on personalized learning employ teachers who care about each individual student. They do not allow students to get lost in a system. Students are never seen as just a class, they are seen as unique individuals, full of potential.

Outstanding education is flexible, adapting to meet the needs of each student. Outstanding education inspires, motivates, develops their talents and creates learners who love learning!

Internationally Minded Values

The world is becoming more and more connected and today’s students increasingly will live and work in several different countries. Providing them with truly international experiences ensure they are open minded and culturally aware. These students embrace and learn from a range of cultures and styles, which sees them able to thrive wherever they choose to go.

Excellent education should prepare students to be confident and successful within their world, whatever path they decide to tread. They should leave school with highly developed key skills:

Be excellent communicators who can work collaboratively and create strong networks.

Have the confidence to use their initiative, give it a go and take the lead in order to achieve their goals.

Be adaptable, think critically and act swiftly on feedback, realizing that failure is the next step towards success.

Have developed curiosity and imagination, creating new thoughts and ideas that move the world positively forwards.

Choosing a school that promotes these strong values as well as excellent academics is key to their success.

Sports and Education

A world class education should also enable students to excel in a sport as well as in the arts.

The American educational system has always placed an importance on sports, from elementary right through to university. It enables and encourages students to succeed in their chosen sport as well as in their academic studies.

Flexibility is given for students to be able to attend sport tournaments and competitions, without their academics being penalized. This is helped these days by the increasingly effective use of online resources, whereby teachers and students can now communicate with ease, enabling quality learning experiences to be had, and assignments to be completed.

Apart from the clear health benefits of sport, there are many other advantages to linking sport and education. Sport motivates students to do well. Student athletes recognize that success comes from perseverance and putting in the required hours to gain mastery. Not to mention that many American universities give sports scholarships to high-achieving academic and athletic students.

Arts and Education

As well as sport, having opportunities to develop creatively is also an important aspect of any student’s development. Whether this is studying the art of painting, playing a musical instrument or developing their acting skills, giving students time to develop in these areas teaches them so many skills for life.

Students learn that practice brings results and an enormous sense of achievement. They learn to manage their time more effectively. They have a greater appreciation of culture and a deeper understanding of the world around them.

Creating the Dream

Having worked in several different education systems, I am delighted to have found a very special place in the campus of Emilio Sanchez Academy and American School. Bringing together students from over 30 different cultures, we provide a wide-ranging educational experience. Many of our students also take part in sport at a high level, with the majority choosing to take advantage of the world class tennis facilities and training provided within the campus.

Bringing all of the very best educational practices together, alongside giving students the opportunity to take their sport to the highest level was the dream realized by Emilio Sanchez Vicario, following his outstanding career as a professional tennis player.

With one campus in Barcelona, Spain and one campus in Naples, Florida, students have the opportunity to have a different experience, but with the same world class quality of education and tennis training in both continents.

“It was always clear to me that if I created something, it would have to be an Academy where the players could also study. I feel I have achieved something great: offering young people a program combining tennis and studying over two continents alongside the possibility to experience two cultures, two life experiences provided by the innovative and unique Emilio Sanchez Academy Intercontinental Program together with ES American School.

Every year, when I see not just the number of graduates, but the human quality of these young people who are going on to study at university in the United States, I realize that this initial idea was the right one. Even more so when the United States continues to set the standards for universities that combine sport and studies.”

Emilio Sánchez Vicario

CEO & Founder at Emilio Sanchez Academy and American School

Having a dream and turning it into a reality is something that every child should believe is possible. I urge all parents looking to choose a school to make sure it’s a place where your child will thrive not only academically, but in all of these other ways that matter so greatly for their future success.

Mel Rose, Head of ES American School

This article first appeared in the 2022/23 edition of John Catt's Guide to International Schools, which you can read here: