Editorial Team

Founded in 1980 in Funchal, Madeira Island, International Sharing School Madeira traces its origins back to the Madeira British School, established to cater to the educational needs of English residents’ children on the island. Initially overseen by a former university professor and his wife, both educators, the school later transitioned management to their children, marking the inception of the Sharing Education Group.

The evolution of the institution led to the establishment of three schools across Portugal, including International Sharing School – Madeira, International Sharing School – Taguspark in Lisbon, and Bright International School – Algarve in Algarve. In response to the growing demands of the market and the increasing number of international families relocating to Madeira, the school embarked on an accreditation journey to become an IB World School in 2013. This endeavour culminated in success in 2017, coinciding with the adoption of its current name.

Excitement fills the air as the school eagerly anticipates the opening of its new campus in September 2024. The acquisition of the historic “Seminário da Encarnação” building in 2022 marked a significant milestone in its expansion journey. Collaborating with esteemed partners such as the Danish design studio Rosan Bosch Studio and renowned Portuguese Architects Saraiva + Associados, renovation works commenced in early 2024 to revitalize the century-old building, which had remained vacant since 2005.

The project embodies a delicate balance between preserving the historical significance of the building and incorporating innovative learning spaces tailored to the ISS Pedagogical Framework. Designed with students’ needs at the forefront, the new facilities offer a range of versatile working areas conducive to various learning styles, preferences, and personalities. Beyond a curriculum-cantered approach, International Sharing School – Madeira epitomizes a student-cantered ethos, fostering an environment where learners can explore, create, and continuously evolve guided by the institution’s Core Values.

Miguel Ladeira Santos, CEO of Sharing Education Group, shares, “More than a student-based curriculum, International Sharing School – Madeira is a student-based school, organically designed for learners to explore learning, to fuel their creativity and imagination, and to continuously develop themselves in each Core Value.”

Redefining Education

International Sharing School Madeira stands out among educational institutions in Madeira for its commitment to breaking down barriers—both physical and mental—and fostering dynamic open-space classrooms where learning flourishes. At the heart of this approach is the integration of technology, seamlessly woven into both the physical environment and pedagogical methods.

Designed by the esteemed Danish studio Rosan Bosch Studio, renowned for crafting innovative learning environments, the school’s interior and exterior spaces epitomize creativity. Tailored from the students’ perspective, these spaces adapt to the subjects being studied, ensuring an immersive and engaging learning experience. From welcoming, physically bounded environments for younger students to collaborative, open spaces for older students, the design evolves in tandem with students’ academic journey and personal growth.

At International Sharing School Madeira, students experience high levels of autonomy and independence, coupled with individual and collective responsibility—a cornerstone of the institution’s innovative educational model. This emphasis on accountability cultivates young adults who are not only prepared for the present but also equipped to thrive in the future job market.

Miguel Santos emphasizes, “The focus is on student learning, not on teaching by the teacher.” This philosophy is evident in the bustling common areas of the campus, where a myriad of activities unfolds—ranging from independent to collaborative, focused to multidisciplinary—all geared towards nurturing student growth and development.

The Holistic Approach

International Sharing School Madeira follows the IB Framework, offering a holistic curriculum with a multicultural and multilingual approach to learning, championing diversity in languages and cultural events. Within its safe and empowering learning environment, students are nurtured to reach their full potential. While maintaining academic rigor, the school prioritizes the development of students’ soft skills, moulding them into exemplary citizens of the future.

In addition to its status as an IB World School, ISS has pioneered the Sharing Pedagogical Concept, fostering collaborative learning experiences. Developed in partnership with Rosan Bosch Studio, this approach provides students with a dynamic and personalized learning environment, nurturing their creativity and imagination within a multicultural setting.

“Guided by the principles of Caring, Multiculture, and Hospitality, we strive to instil values that transcend traditional academics, moulding well-rounded individuals prepared for success in a globalized world,” states Miguel Santos. Recognized internationally for its innovative teaching methods, ISS places a strong emphasis on individuality, respecting each student’s unique profile and promoting a holistic approach to education—a rarity in the Portuguese educational landscape.

Through an open learning environment, students develop vital soft skills such as communication, teamwork, creativity, resilience, and social-emotional intelligence. International Sharing School also offers a diverse range of extracurricular activities, including Dance, Sailing, Coding, Robotics, Yoga, Golf, Handball, Volleyball, Football, Maths Games, Musical Performance, and Creative Writing, enriching students’ educational experience beyond the classroom.

Embracing neuroplasticity, ISS champions language exposure as a catalyst for accelerated and deepened learning. This organic teaching approach has garnered numerous accolades for schools within the Sharing Education Group, including inclusion in the Top 10 Must Watch International Schools in Europe by K12 Digest and the prestigious Learning Community of the Year 2023 award by Portugal Prestige Awards.

Nurturing Individuality

At International Sharing School Madeira, every student is valued and respected for their unique identity, fostering a learning environment where individuality is celebrated and core values are shared. “We aspire to instil values that transcend the confines of the classroom, shaping students into well-rounded individuals primed for success in an interconnected world,” says Miguel Santos.

The cultivation of Care is central to ISS’s philosophy, encompassing self-care, care for others, and care for the environment. Through hands-on activities such as nurturing living beings and cultivating ecosystems, students develop a sustainable mindset while fostering a culture of mutual support and empowerment.

Multiculturalism lies at the heart of ISS, with a strong emphasis on cultural interaction and global citizenship. Embracing inclusivity and diversity, students are encouraged to share their unique backgrounds, fostering a sense of belonging and building a common identity within the school community.

Hospitality is another cornerstone of ISS’s values, teaching students the importance of generosity and companionship towards their peers and the wider community. By fostering a culture of hospitality, ISS promotes empowerment, shared resources, and a sense of familiarity within the school environment. Miguel Santos affirms, “Caring about one’s self, caring about others, and caring about the environment are fundamental values that shape the fabric of our school community. At ISS, we prioritize the holistic development of each student, nurturing them to become compassionate global citizens.”

Innovations in Education

At the core of the Sharing Pedagogical Concept lies a deep appreciation for the transformative role of technology in education, shaping an innovative learning model that prepares students for both their academic journey and future professional endeavours.

Through strategic partnerships with leading organizations such as Lego Education and Microsoft Education, ISS integrates technology seamlessly into its curriculum. From Steam classes for children as young as 5, featuring Lego Robotics and Minecraft Learning software, to embracing the gamification of education, ISS leverages technology to enhance learning experiences and foster critical skills for the future job market.

In addition to its technological advancements, ISS emphasizes collaboration with other educational institutions, participating in a diverse array of activities including the Model United Nations and Math Competitions. As part of the Sharing Education Group, ISS students also benefit from opportunities to engage with sister schools through various activities and exchanges.

Moreover, ISS has forged partnerships with local professional orders such as the Bar Association of Madeira and the Professional Association of Doctors, enriching students’ experiences and offering special agreements for the children of these professionals. Miguel Santos asserts, “Our focus is not merely on teaching current subjects in a stagnant manner, but on cultivating a generation of Lifelong Learners.” Recognizing the evolving landscape of professions, ISS prioritizes the development of skills and mindsets that transcend traditional education, preparing students to adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing world.

Fostering Community Engagement

While the curriculum is taught exclusively in English, International Sharing School Madeira ensures that all students study Portuguese as a subject, facilitating integration into the local Madeiran community. With a student body comprising 40% local Madeiran families and 60% international families, ISS has forged partnerships with local entities to extend its innovative pedagogical concepts to the local community.

ISS is dedicated to community service and inspires students to take proactive steps in making a difference, be it locally, regionally, or internationally. Engaging in a variety of initiatives, students participate in beach cleanings, fundraising for animal shelters, collecting clothing and donations for young single mothers, volunteering at the local food bank, and more. Miguel Santos emphasizes, “We promote a culture of giving back to the community. Through hands-on projects and initiatives, students learn the importance of social responsibility and compassion, making a tangible impact on the world around them.”

Charting the Course

International Sharing School Madeira’s long-term vision encompasses a comprehensive approach to nurturing holistic growth and development in its students, underpinned by a steadfast commitment to excellence and innovation in education. Recognizing the imperative to adapt to the dynamic global landscape, the school’s programs and curriculum undergo continuous refinement and enhancement.

Miguel Santos affirms, “We continually raise our own standards higher and higher to ensure that our students receive the best possible education.” This relentless pursuit of excellence reflects ISS’s unwavering dedication to empowering students to excel in an ever-evolving world.

The upcoming transition to a new, state-of-the-art campus heralds a pivotal moment for ISS Madeira. Set against the backdrop of a small island in the Atlantic Ocean, the new campus will serve as a flagship school, embodying the school’s commitment to innovation and offering students an inspiring and distinctive learning environment.

“It’s a truly exciting time for ISS Madeira and its students,” remarks Miguel Santos. With the promise of world-class facilities and a forward-thinking educational approach, the school is poised to embark on a new chapter of growth and achievement, shaping the future leaders of tomorrow.

For More Info: https://sharingschool.org/


Miguel Ladeira Santos, CEO, Sharing Education Group

Miguel Ladeira Santos is the CEO of the Sharing Education Group; he is an enthusiastic young leader and an entrepreneur, with a passion for innovative working solutions and follows a high-end customer service culture. With a background in Luxury Hospitality Management and Corporate Finance, Miguel has been running the International Sharing School in Oeiras since the beginning of the project. He is the driver of innovation within the organisation. The young entrepreneur is also involved in real-estate projects, also working in the private equity sector. Miguel also invests in and manages other ventures in the fields of sports, luxury lifestyle media, and hospitality.

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