1. What do these schools have in common?
When a school joins the Arenales network, it assumes the “I AM” competencies and values model (Innovation, Autonomy, Mentoring). It also incorporates the code of good practice, the internal regime regulation and the equality plan. These three documents seek to guarantee equity, inclusion and equality.
2. What changes in a school when you join the network?
When a school joins our network, it assumes all those issues that we have mentioned before, which is usually compatible with respecting its previous style and its own historical path. Typically, we keep both the name of the school, its roots, and especially its staff due to their extensive experience. Our goal is not to dilute the personality of that school through the network but to further enrich what others contribute with the support of belonging to an international network.
3. Why is the Arenales network growing?
The goal of the network is not to grow but to work better and fulfill our mission and corporate values. We want to meet the needs presented in each school, and we want to do it in a personalized way. We seek each institution to maintain their characteristics, adaptation to their surroundings and history in an autonomous and sustainable way. This approach is the main reason so many schools request to join the network each year. The identity of each organization is respected, their own talent is encouraged and integration is facilitated.
4. How is this growth of the network of schools financed?
The new schools were born a few years ago, with bank financing according to the usual parameters in the market, and they are only a few. Most of the current schools in the network have their origin in management agreements and have hardly involved economic investment. Sometimes we help to provide a loan for some punctual improvement, but always with the idea that it is repaid and that each school is sustained with its own resources. We operate with criteria of austerity, and any economic margin that comes from the schools is always destined to the improvement of education and to promote new projects, according to our foundational purposes.
5. Has there been any failure or setback between the projects of the Arenales network?
Naturally, among dozens of projects, not everything can be perfect. Since we started in 2009, we have had various experiences. In 2013 we promoted the start of a new center in Valladolid, which brought an enthusiastic response with hundreds of requests to join, but a political conflict prevented it from starting. In 2015 we wanted to start a new school in Bulgaria, which was cut short by administrative issues, but we were able to resume our plans in another location in 2019. In 2015 we assumed the management of the Miraflores College of Ourense, but we had to give it up in 2018 for reasons beyond our control. In 2016 we signed an agreement with the Juniors College of Santiago de Compostela, but we had to suspend it in 2018 due to lack of viability of the project. In any case, most have gone well and that has been thanks to the effort and enthusiasm from our employees and supporters. We have had the opportunity to gain enough experience and learn from previous circumstances to guide us towards a brighter future.
6. Is there an institution behind the Arenales Educational Network?
We have always been transparent in sharing that our network is comprised of people who are from Opus Dei, Neocatechumenal Way, other Catholic institutions, or none in particular. Institutionally, there is no link to any of them. Each person acts in their own accordance without influence from other institutions.
7. Can a student of any religion or cultural context study at a school in the Arenales network?
Arenales schools are in fact open to all no matter their beliefs. The values they promote – hard-work, honesty, a sense of justice and equality, concern for others and gratitude – are shared by people from diverse cultures, religions and backgrounds. There are non-Christian parents who choose Arenales for their children because they relate to the same values and principles at home. Each school individually handles their admissions process.