Society 04/01/2022

Vila-seca school forced to teach 25% of classes in Spanish

Catalan High Court upholds appeal by family of a pupil at Ramon Barbat secondary school

2 min
A classroom in a school without female students, in an archive image.

BarcelonaExactly the same day that the Catalan Government passed a resolution in defence of linguistic immersion and announced that it would give "legal protection" to teachers and boards that defended Catalan of the "illegitimate attacks" of people or organisations against the Catalan school model, Catalonia's High Court has published a new ruling forcing a school to teach 25% of its classes in Spanish because one family asked for it. It is Institut Ramon Barbat, in Vila-seca: the magistrates consider that a student who in 2019-20 was doing 2nd ESO has the right, along with his classmates, to receive an education "that includes Spanish as a vehicular language in a reasonable proportion", which the court sets at 25% of teaching hours. The High Court thus overturns the school's linguistic project, This takes the tally of schools who hace been issued similar rulings to eight.

The ruling partially accepts the family's appeal, which asked for the child to receive education in an "equivalent proportion" in Spanish and Catalan and that the signs at the school were also in both languages, two requests that the judges do not accept. The rest of the family's requests are well received by the judges. Thus, they reproach that the linguistic project, approved in 2020, establishes that only Catalan is the usual language at the school and, despite the fact that German and English are also used, the centre does not include "any provision regarding Spanish as a classroom and learning language, without establishing percentages". "It is clear that the forecast in the linguistic project does not respect the minimum percentage established [25%] nor is this percentage applied in areas, subjects or non-linguistic curricular subjects of a core nature," say the judges.

On the school's website you can consult the school's language project, in which the management explains that they have raised the "need to increase the use of Catalan in informal relations" because they have found that a "very low" percentage of students use it when talking to teachers and an "almost non-existent" percentage use it to interact with their classmates.

Similar sentences to come

The family in question appealed to the courts advised by the organisation Assembly for a Bilingual School, which has already celebrated the court decision on social media. In fact, it is one of the organisations that are promoting the campaign a School for All to channel and process the requests of families who want 25% of their children's schooling to be in Spanish or who choose to report and sue the schools which follow the Catalan educational model.

In fact, the organisation warns that in the coming months similar rulings along this line will be published. The first sentences to overthrow entire language projects came in March 2021, and the anti-immersion entity warned that they had a "historical significance" because they forced a change in "all language projects of state schools in Catalonia, which in 95% of cases establish that only Catalan is the classroom language". Some time ago, the same entity assured that no public school in Catalonia taught 25% of classes in Spanish, based on a study that it carried out after getting the Generalitat itself to ask the centres to send their linguistic projects to this anti-immersion organisation.