Pupils at the school in the 1940s
Pupils at The British Institute in the 1940s ©

British Council

The first British school in Spain

Our history

  • 1940: Professor Walter Starkie founded the British Council in Madrid and opened a school for 25 pupils. It was known as The British Institute or 'El British' and offered concerts, lectures, film screenings and exhibitions, as well as classes. It was the centre of British cultural relations in Madrid during the Second World War. 
  • 1943: pupil numbers rose to 1500.
  • 1940s-1980s: the UK curriculum was taught in the mornings and the Spanish curriculum in the afternoons. Pupils were aged from 5 to 14 and went on to Spanish state or private schools to complete their Secondary education.
  • 1990-1992: moved to a larger site in Pozuelo de Alarcón to accommodate more pupils, after parents requested for the curriculum to be extended up to University entrance.

See also