Another Inspired first, Sotogrande International School in Spain has launched this unique programme, which will facilitate promising future polo careers for students while also providing a world class education.
In September 2021, the Sotogrande Polo Academy (SPA) will open its doors in Cadiz, south of Spain, to students in both the Junior (14-16 years old) and Elite (16-18 years old) Champions categories for a world’s first programme that will combine a world-class education with professional polo coaching. Set in Sotogrande, an area world-renowned for polo, the academy will offer young players the opportunity to board full-time, or as a weekly boarder at the premium Sotogrande International School boarding house.
This pioneering programme joins the many academic initiatives that have placed Inspired schools at the forefront of educational innovation. Across its network of more than 60 schools in the world, Inspired offers an extensive range of subjects and programmes that go beyond the mandatory school curriculum. Inspired schools follow the three pillars that form their unique approach to education: Academic excellence, sports and performing arts, all of which help develop lateral thinking, comprehension and innovative application of skills and concepts.
Nadim M Nsouli, Founder, Chairman & CEO of Inspired, commented, “We are very proud of each Inspired school and the unique opportunities our schools provide. At Sotogrande International School, we strive to make our school an exciting learning experience where every idea and dream is nurtured. The Sotogrande Polo Academy is a fantastic example of how we are doing this. Junior Polo enthusiasts will now be able to follow their dreams and get an exceptional education at the same time, so they are set up for success in life.”
In the case of SPA, the objective of the programme is to facilitate the dreams of passionate, ambitious, and athletic students who want to acquire the skills and confidence necessary to succeed in the competitive world of polo. Recognising the need for training facilities for young polo enthusiasts, the SPA will support the transformation of amateur riders into seasoned polo professionals.
SPA will combine over twenty hours of physical and theoretical polo training per week at Polo Valley, alongside a specially designed academic programme at Sotogrande International School, where students will receive an academically rigorous international education that follows the IB (International Baccalaureate) programme.
James Kearney, Head of Sotogrande International School, said: “Sotogrande International School is deeply excited to be partnering with Polo Valley. Our new partnership expands our existing sports academy provision of Tennis and Golf and enables even more students to follow their dreams and explore their passions whilst receiving a world class education. Our boarding provision and support for non-EU student access means that any student can now really focus on their sporting passion. Our model keeps opportunities open and does not limit a student at a young age, like so many pathways do. This really is a world first.”
Premium training on and off the polo field
SPA will ensure a unique balance between a training system ensuring ultimate accountability for success on and off the polo fields, and education programmes for students from14 to 18 years old.
At Sotogrande International School, students will follow the school’s renowned Elite Sports Programme, a structured pathway for student-athletes that has already enabled several students to gain scholarships in the USA in golf and tennis. These programmes allow students age 14-16 to leave school at 2pm and join their chosen academy for an afternoon of sports. For students aged 16 plus, they use the morning to pursue their passion in sports and join the school from 1.30pm for an afternoon of schooling.
The young polo players can also choose to stay at the Sotogrande International School boarding house, that offers both full-time and weekday boarding, where students stay on campus during the week and return to their families on the weekends.
Sotogrande International School boarding house is a student accommodation of an incredibly high standard that offers a deeply rewarding and enriching environment in which to study and live. With dedicated staff who care for each student, the stunning campus is set among the luscious green golf courses of Southern Spain, conveniently located only 30 minutes from Gibraltar, and 1 hour from both Malaga and Jerez airports.
As this is a dual training programme of both polo and academic studies, children will be provided with a safe and reliable transportation service between Polo Valley and the Sotogrande International School.
Alongside the academic provision, the Polo training has been designed as a comprehensive programme, taught by leading polo coaches and riding professionals, that will include Riding lessons, Polo lessons, Fitness, Theoretical lessons, HPA Rules and Umpiring Test, Horse Care, Horse Management and The Business of Polo.
The purpose-built ranch is home to over sixty-five expertly trained polo ponies, where students will have exclusive access to the knowledge and skills required to gain a handicap per year at a uniquely young age, ensuring they are in excellent stead for a future in polo.
Christian Byrne, director of Polo Valley said: “At Polo Valley, we know how difficult it can be to access the professional polo world at a young age if your family is not already involved in the sport. Therefore, we are delighted to announce the launch of the first Elite Polo Programme, in partnership with a world class school - the Sotogrande International School. Now students will have the opportunity to excel academically whilst also having access to intense polo tuition, this is a once in a lifetime chance at such a pivotal stage, it will change the lives of these students and the world of polo”
About Sotogrande International School
Sotogrande International School is a day and boarding school that follows the IB programme from 3-18 years, located in Cádiz (South of Spain). Home to a passionate learning community who inspire and encourage learning and intercultural understanding, promoting education as a force for good in the world.
With more than 1000 children from 50 countries, Sotogrande International School is more than just a school; it's a place where individuals flourish. Throughout the IB programmes, internationally qualified teachers provide a challenging, nurturing and academically rigorous education. Academic results are consistently excellent, with both MYP and Diploma students achieving well above world average scores year after year. As a result of the impressive average point score of 34.2 in 2019, 90% of students went on to be placed at their first choice of university.
Specialist programmes combine a world-class education with professional golf, tennis, and music tuition, creating opportunities for talented students to excel in their chosen field. These programmes follow a structured pathway and provide expert support and guidance, helping students work towards university scholarships in the USA and beyond.