Navigating A Levels in Barcelona: A Guide for Parents



Embarking on the journey of the final two years of high school and preparing for A levels is a significant milestone for both students and parents. The challenges and uncertainties that come with this period can be overwhelming, and it’s crucial for parents to have a comprehensive understanding of what lies ahead. To delve deeper into this topic, we’ve had the privilege of sitting down with Hannah Grech, the Director of The Learn Academy Barcelona (TLA), to discuss the challenges and concerns parents may have about their children navigating A levels in Barcelona.


Interview with Hannah Grech, Director of TLA:


Hannah Grech brings a wealth of experience to her role as Founder and Director of The Learn Academy Barcelona. With a background in education spanning 15 years, Hannah is passionate about fostering a holistic approach to learning. Her commitment to providing students with a well-rounded education that goes beyond the classroom has made her a respected figure in the field of pre-university education.


Hannah’s journey in education includes extensive experience in curriculum development, student support systems, and creating environments that promote academic excellence and personal growth. As the driving force behind TLA, she plays a crucial role in ensuring that students are not only academically prepared for A levels but also equipped with the skills necessary for success in higher education and beyond.


Now, let’s delve into our interview with Hannah Grech as she addresses the challenges and concerns parents may have about their children navigating A levels in Barcelona


Q: Can you provide some insights into the significance of the final two years of high school and the preparation for A levels at The Learn Academy Barcelona?


Hannah Grech (HG): Absolutely. The final two years at TLA represent a crucial period of academic and personal development. We are dedicated to preparing students not only for the A level exams but also for the challenges they will face in higher education and beyond. The emphasis is on holistic growth, encompassing critical thinking skills, resilience, and a strong work ethic. We also realise what a pivotal time this is in a young person’s life and we’re here for them, outside of simply teaching them. It isn’t uncommon for students to be in my office for a chat or to run an idea past me. I know it’s cliche, but we are really one big family here at TLA.


Q: One common concern among parents is the lack of awareness regarding the international recognition of A levels. How would you address this misconception?


HG: The A Levels are a globally recognised qualification that truly opens doors for students. The International A Levels, together with the International Baccalaureate (IB), are the two most highly regarded curriculums globally and are known for their academic rigour. 

It’s important for parents to understand that A levels hold significant weight globally. Universities and employers around the world value A levels as they provide a robust academic foundation, emphasising depth and specialisation. In fact, US Colleges, for example, often give students with International A Levels credits towards their degree because the level of content covered in these courses is so comprehensive.


Q: What distinguishes A levels from the IB, and how can parents comprehend the unique benefits A levels offer?


HG: The IB is a comprehensive program covering a broad spectrum of compulsory and elective subjects, fostering a holistic approach to education. In contrast, the A levels allow students to specialise in their chosen subjects, diving deep into their areas of interest and truly “play to their strengths.” This specialisation offers a more focused and in-depth learning experience, but also a more enjoyable one. At 16 years of age, students know what subjects they like and which subjects they don’t. And let’s face it, school is a much more enjoyable experience when you love what you are studying, and that’s what A Levels offers. Both the IB and the A Level are considered the benchmark in global curriculums and both offer strong pathways to top universities globally.


Q: As students transition into the final two years, how can parents support their children through the challenges they may face?


HG: Communication is paramount. Parents should engage in open and honest conversations with their children about the challenges ahead. Encouraging a healthy balance between academics and self-care is essential. It’s also crucial for parents to stay informed about the A level curriculum and the support systems in place at TLA, ensuring they can actively participate in their child’s educational journey.


Q: Following on from that, how does TLA support the transition to A Levels?


A: TLA is committed to ensuring a seamless transition for students entering the final two years and preparing for A Levels. We prioritise personal connections, fostering strong relationships between students, parents, and teachers to create a supportive network. The most important part of this transition is that our students know they are a valuable part of our community and that they are respected and cared for by our teaching team.


In addition, we are dedicated to providing high-quality teaching to ensure that students know what is expected of them, connect with the curriculum and are set up to succeed. Clear communication of expectations, coupled with regular, student-specific feedback, aids in their progression and addresses challenges. We don’t like parents left guessing and we’re here whenever they want to speak with us.


TLA’s robust assessment structure includes mock exams twice a year, complemented by parent-teacher conferences and comprehensive reports, keeping parents well-informed about their child’s academic journey. Recognising the importance of mental health and wellbeing, we offer in-school support, allowing students to book one-to-one sessions for confidential discussions about any challenges they may face. Leveraging technology, our use of Google Classroom centralises lesson slides and homework tasks, facilitating easy access for students to catch up on missed material or revise efficiently. Through this comprehensive approach, TLA empowers students to navigate the challenges of transitioning into the final two years and preparing for A Levels with confidence and success.


Q: The workload during A levels is often perceived as intense. How does TLA ensure students are well-supported in managing their academic responsibilities?


HG: At TLA, we recognize the intensity of the A level workload, and we have implemented a structured support system. This includes dedicated study periods, one-on-one sessions with teachers, and counselling services. We emphasise the development of time management skills, helping students navigate their academic responsibilities effectively. Our goal is to create an environment where students feel supported and confident in their ability to succeed.


Q: How does TLA address concerns about university admissions and the competitiveness of A levels compared to other qualifications?


HG: Recognizing the anxiety surrounding university admissions, TLA takes a proactive approach to prepare students globally. After completing the first year of A Levels, we dedicate the final week in May and the first two weeks in June to this process. Through group workshops, students gain insights into the application process in various countries, including The Netherlands, UK, and the US. They also have the opportunity to book one-to-one sessions with experts in their chosen countries, seeking guidance on specific questions, course research, and upcoming open days.


During this period, students initiate their applications, setting up profiles and starting to draft essay questions or personal statements. Our teachers provide specific feedback to enhance the quality of these applications. To further assist parents and students, we distribute university guides at the end of the school year, outlining tangible goals for the summer. This strategic approach allows us to fine-tune applications upon returning in September, ensuring our students can focus on completing their final year of school with minimal stress and time spent on applications.


Q: Lastly, what advice would you give to parents as they navigate the final two years of high school with their children?


HG:  My advice would be to stay actively engaged in your child’s education. At TLA, we highly value parental input and communication. We see our role as not just educating students academically but caring for them as individuals. We are here to help and ensure they receive a high-quality education whilst feeling happy and cared for. Encourage a healthy work-life balance, emphasising the importance of sleep for their well-being. Adequate sleep is crucial for memory consolidation and reducing anxiety. Consistency is key, urging students to study regularly for steady progress rather than last-minute cramming, promoting better mental health. Lastly, in the final two years, it’s essential for students to maintain a balanced life—getting fresh air, exercising, socialising, and finding ways to balance their lives around studying. Success is not only defined by grades; TLA focuses on holistic development, preparing students for challenges beyond exams, into higher education, and beyond.


In conclusion, navigating the final two years of high school and preparing for A levels in Barcelona is a journey filled with opportunities and challenges. By addressing common concerns and misconceptions, TLA ensures that parents and students are well-informed and supported in this crucial phase of education. As parents play an active role in their child’s educational journey, understanding the significance of A levels and the support systems in place at The Learn Academy is key to fostering a positive and successful experience. 


Ready to embark on this educational journey with TLA?


Discover the exceptional learning environment at The Learn Academy Barcelona, your gateway to internationally recognized A levels in the heart of Barcelona. Ensure your child’s success with our holistic approach to education, personalised support, and a curriculum that opens doors to global opportunities.


Experience the TLA Advantage:


  • Explore the benefits of an International School in Barcelona.
  • Embrace A Levels in Barcelona for a specialised and globally recognized education.
  • Elevate your child’s academic journey with a curriculum that rivals the best.


Secure Your Child’s Future Today:


Contact us at TLA Barcelona to schedule a personalised tour and consultation. Let us guide your child toward success in their final two years of high school and beyond. Together, we’ll pave the way for a bright academic future.


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