International School Algarve

In 2002, Vale Verde International School opened its large modern premises in Burgau, Luz (on the outskirts of Lagos), fully complying with all the newly-implemented European Community regulations. The school provides parents in the Western Algarve with the opportunity to give their child a secondary education, based on the British National Curriculum with international adaptations.

Since its opening, the school has achieved a 100% pass rate for all students in all subjects undertaken in the final IGCSE examinations each year. This remarkable feat has been made possible by the school’s well-qualified, dedicated and experienced staff of whom we are justly proud.

Vale Verde International School has some of the most modern schooling facilities in the country and is almost daily broadening the range of educational opportunity we can offer.

The school employs a fully qualified staff of specialists, recognised by the Portuguese authorities, with a rich diversity of backgrounds, experience and nationalities. Our aim is to ensure that our growing number of pupils will receive a high quality education experience in a healthy environment.

The Vale Verde International School offers a wide and balanced curriculum based on the English National Curriculum for Key Stages 3 and 4 and leading to internationally recognised qualifications – the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and the International Certificate of Education (ICE) – administered by the Cambridge University International Exams.

Pupils in Years 6 and 7 follow a common curriculum of English, Maths, General Science, French, Portuguese, Geography, History, I.C.T., Art, Drama and Physical Education. As from September 2006 Chemistry will be offered.

In Year 9 individual Sciences are introduced (presently Physics and Biology) and Business Studies is also added to the time table. Pupils are offered the option of English Literature as an IGCSE course as from Year 10.

In Years 10 and 11 a limited but expanding option system is put into operation allowing pupils to “play to their strengths” while ensuring that they continue with priority subjects. Eventually all students will study 12 subjects throughout these two years leading to IGCSE’s in 8 or 9 of these. As from September 2006, Chemistry and Food and Nutrition Technology will be introduced.

Increasingly throughout the school I.C.T. is assuming the role of a means to learn and exercise other subjects as well as an independent discipline in its own right.

You can find out more information by visiting the VVIS website on http://www.vvis.org or e-mailing admissions on [email protected]

Holiday & Travel Guide For the Cape Verde Islands

Beaches

The Cape Verde are a cluster of 10 small islands very close together, ideal for island hopping and spending every day on a new palm beach. Many of the beaches have not been developed, so they are ideal for those wanting absolute peace and privacy. The more popular tourist beaches offer a small variety of water sports from snorkelling, boating and some jet skiing, with small kiosks selling drinks and snacks to keep you refreshed. The waters are warm and inviting and ideal for swimming, and for those that want to learn to surf. For the divers there is a 16th century ship wreck to explore, as well as the variety of colourful sea life in the area.

Sightseeing

Cape Verde Islands are more of a romantic retreat, or a place for the business person to get away from their busy working lives. There isn’t a great deal to see on the smaller islands but there is a little more on Santiago Island. Vogo has volcanic peaks and beautiful scenery and most of the islands are lush in foliage and also have beautiful botanical gardens. There are rare African birds to be seen in the area too, so it is great for birdwatchers. Island hop over to Sal where within one of the volcanoes there are salt mines that you can explore with a very informative local guide, they can be quite eerie, but fascinating. There are many cultural festivals held on the different islands between the months of February and September. They are quite exotic carnivals and a must see if you’re lucky enough to be holidaying at the right time on one of these beautiful islands. There are some lovely nature walks on the islands, which can be done by horseback, making it a more interesting and leisurely experience with many photo opportunities with the variety of landscapes. For those who love to fish, then the Cape Verde is an ideal place for deep sea fishing.

Shopping

Shopping on such small islands can be quite pleasant, with a variety of handmade items and colourful works of local art to choose from on Santiago and a few of the other islands. There is a bit more shopping to be had on some of the other islands, but as their goods are mostly imported you will find these items to be quite expensive. Local musicians record their music on to CD and sell them around the villages, so you can take home a real piece of Cape Verde atmosphere. Beaded jewellery items and small inexpensive gifts are readily available for you to take back home for souvenirs and with the local people being a mix of Senegal and Brazilian, it makes very colourful shopping with cloths and decorative items mixed in with the rest of the goods.

Nightlife

There isn’t what you call vibrant nightlife on the islands, there are the local bands playing live in the cafe’s and bars, which make up the main entertainment. The music is Salsa with a mix of African rhythms, it’s very relaxing to listen to while having an evening meal made with the islands tropical crops and seafood. There are also a few beach parties which can be entertaining, but the night life is very low key. But after a long day in the all year round sun, an early night is welcomed.

Happy Holidays.

Cape Verde Property Watch Out Another Hyped Destination!

Have you been tempted to invest in Cape Verde property?

You certainly aren’t alone as many people are purchasing property in this former Portuguese colony located off the West coast of Africa.

These 10 islands are within a one-hour flight from the Canary Islands and they’re being promoted as the “new Canary Islands”. In fact, this area was touted as one of the top 20 foreign property investments during 2005 which led to an increase in UK investors.

Sounds like a great investment, right?

Well, read on…

Many real estate agents are busy convincing investors to purchase Cape Verde property. They hype the huge growth potential for tourism, the 70% increase in property prices in the next 2 years and the new international airport on the island of Sal. They also discuss the proximity of these tropical islands to Europe and the low cost of living with no VAT. They even claim that Cape Verde was voted the second-best investment location worldwide.

It sounds even better, doesn’t it?

Well, I’m going to tell you the real facts. The ones the real estate agents DON’T want you to know.

The Cape Verde islands are very poor in natural resources and they often suffer droughts. Residents often have to rely on international aid for receiving food, and severe droughts have caused many deaths and heavy emigration.

Cape Verde no longer has salt-mining or shipbuilding industries, so it must rely on tourism. Santiago is the largest island, and it contains almost half of the total population of the islands. Unfortunately, the beaches are terrible and Praia, the capital, is dirty and poor.

Tourists are attracted to the quiet island of Maio which is closest to Santiago. The area contains a relaxing atmosphere.

Sal is the main tourist island. Although it’s quite barren, it contains beautiful white beaches and many restaurants and bars. Boavista is closest to the West African coast, and the development is almost 5 years behind Sal’s.

I personally visited the Cape Verde islands and discovered the following:

  • Overdevelopment which affects capital growth
  • Six-hour flight from London – much further than other property hotspots
  • Poor communications
  • Little infrastructure
  • No local resale market
  • High interest rates & difficult to obtain mortgages
  • No opportunity to join the EU since the islands are in Africa
  • Sales prompted by get-rich-quick schemes, not actual demand

Given the true facts, I recommend investing in Scotland or some of the Eastern European countries instead of Cape Verde property.

To find valuable information about other potential investment areas, visit my website.