Elizabeth Poland arrived from Liverpool eleven years ago with her husband and three young sons in tow and is the owner of Cloud Nine
“On arriving here in Tenerife my main priority with a three, four and fourteen year old was to organise schooling. At the time the local nursery and primary school were Spanish and my younger ones were enrolled easily enough. The fourteen year old was a lot more difficult as he was due to start his GCSE´s but there was no place available for him in the English system of education so after six weeks he returned to the UK.
What I learned was that if anyone is thinking of bringing children to the island then a good twelve month plan is required as there is often lengthy waiting lists for the English system.
In the salon I get asked frequently by newcomers to the island or mothers with young children where is the best place for their children. Is it better to put them in a Spanish nursery, an English one or a mixed one?
From my experience I found that a mixed one would be better as my children went to a Spanish nursery until it closed at two and then to an English one later where they learned to read and write in English. In a mixed nursery they would learn both at the same place and have the best of both worlds, growing up bilingually.
Moving to Tenerife made me realise how much I relied on family and friends when it came to raising kids and working at the same time.
At the beginning it was near on impossible. But coming here was the best move I ever made in regards to my children as I feel they are safer, they enjoy the life they lead spending summers on the beach and have more freedom than they would have had in England.”
Zoe Randerson is the director of Tate properties, has been in Tenerife for twelve years and originally comes from Scarborough in North Yorkshire
“My son attends Wingate school and one of the immediate benefits is that they teach an English curriculum. The advantage with this is that if someone were only staying here for a few years then integrating their child back into the system when returning to England becomes very easy. We intend to do exactly that and return to the UK for our son´s secondary education .Also, even though I have only educated my son here, I think that compared to the UK the fees here are relatively cheap.
But at the same time I believe that the Spanish education system here is also very good and for anyone planning to stay here for the duration then that´s also a good way to go.
When Alfie, our son, was younger we sent him to a mixed nursery which housed different nationalities and I think that was very beneficial for him.
One of the things I did which in hindsight I would have done differently was when I went back to England for the birth and had to have an emergency caesarean which resulted in me getting septicaemia. All my friends who have given birth here have been more than happy with the service and treatment.
We returned to Tenerife when Alfie was six weeks old and were fortunate that at the time both mine and my husband´s parents lived here so we had all the family support that we could ask for. I can only imagine that for someone here without that family back-up would find it challenging to work and raise children here by themselves even though the environment in general is safer and the kids tend to spend more time playing outdoors. When I first came here I did notice that there was a lack of variety to buy designer clothes for boys but now there is a larger range of affordable good quality clothes for sale and more companies are starting to import products from the UK.”
Lorna Stevenson was born in Scotland but grew up in Middlesborough and has been in Tenerife now for the last 20 years and is the owner of Hoppers Bar and the new Hoppers Sports Lounge
“My daughter, Paige, is only fifteen months old but already I have to start looking for schools when she turns three. At the moment she is in a babies nursery where I can pop in anytime time to see how she´s doing although she is looked after extremely well. It is mixed as I think it is important that she grasps the Spanish language from an early age to integrate her fully into this society when she´s older.
I have a lot of friends whose children are either in Spanish schools or in the English system and all say that their kids are doing well. At the end of the day the decision where to place your child can come down to personal choice as long as the children get the education they need.
Being a single mum and running a business has been made easier by the support I have been able to get from family and friends as well as the wonderful nursery Paige is in. Without it I don´t know how I would have coped.
Paige was born in Las Americas in the Green Clinic last year and I have to say that the service at the birth, eighteen hours without any pain relief, and the aftercare were fantastic. When not in the nursery she goes everywhere with me, whether it´s down to the beach, shopping or when I go out for meals. I think that in England to take her with me so much would be harder, more stressful and not so much fun.On weekends, we often go hiking to Mount Teide.
When I first came here there was not a great variety for a lot of things, not just children´s clothes, and I always had friends bringing me items when they came over. Tenerife has definitely caught up now and hopefully by the time I have my next birth they will have a handy supply for pain relief.”