It’s often said that OIS couldn’t exist on any other campus. Our unique setting is a pleasant green, rural valley with a river flowing through it. The environment would be special enough but add to that the 17th century palace at the heart of the school, the chapel (a national monument) and our superb modern facilities and you have a special space for an extraordinary school. The main campus is on the site of a traditional Portuguese farm or Quinta, and so is still called The Quinta. A short walk up the valley along a winding trail is the PYP Years 2-4 building. Students often make the journey on foot with their teachers, and it takes around 15 minutes as there is always something to see along the way. No vehicles are allowed on the track, so the students can hear the birds and insects, and if they’re really quiet see the rabbits too. The walk is always an enjoyable part of the lesson. The 2 campuses are connected by road too. School buses will drop-off at the Quinta before going over to drop-off at the PYP in the morning, and in the afternoon it’s PYP first and then the Quinta.
As part of our work to develop socially-aware young people, OIS students and teachers work in our campus gardens to grow food for the local food bank. This is just one of many initiatives by which we offer help to others.
We also have younger children taking care of our resident goats, ponies and donkeys, who roam freely over the campus, and we are beekeepers! We continue to develop our facilities to offer the best possible academic and sporting opportunities. In addition to our recently-opened multisport pavilion and our beautiful wooden exam hall, we plan to soon construct a new science and technology suite and a purpose-built PYP block. These will both be designed with sustainability and minimal environmental impact in mind.
- Our school is located in Oeiras, on land leased from the municipality. Oeiras is located about 15 minutes by car from Lisbon and the airport.
- Oeiras attracts a lot of high-tech companies as part of the initiative ‘Oeiras Valley‘.
- A ‘quinta’ is a Portuguese farm. The school quinta is a unique location, with lots of green space, a river and trees. It fits with our purpose of being a sustainable school.
- We are able to keep a variety of animals like donkeys and goats in our mini farm.
- We produce fruits and vegetables for social projects in our kitchen garden.
OIS has a a basketball court and a football pitch. Basketball takes place in our new covered sports area which we also use for outdoor assemblies. It’s also a superb venue for meetings and events. There is a play area with trampolines where students can relax and have their lunch, and a swimming pool to cool down on hot summer days. We keep bees so students can learn about the role of insects in ecosystems and have hands-on experience of the ancient craft of apiculture. There is a lot of space for students to explore, with woodlands, meadows and tracks to walk along during lunch and break times.
- The pavilion is our latest building, which is used for exams and has several classrooms. It is made from sustainable materials and was designed to be low-impact and visually in-keeping with our natural environment.
- The Palace is a 17th century historical building that houses our library, administration, science labs, art and music rooms.
- The white/orange building contains our main assembly area for lunches, a small gym, classrooms and staff rooms, a cafeteria and the computer labs.
- The PYP building is a separate building that hosts students from Year 2 to Year 4.
- Other buildings include a historic chapel, a memorial garden and an historic pigeon loft.
In the near future, we will build an outdoor classroom for the vegetable garden that allows us to expand our activities and provide sheltered teaching. Plus, in the coming years, we will expand the campus with two additional wooden-framed, environmentally-sensitive pavilion buildings. Our goal is to expand the school capacity from 450 to 650 students: large enough to be diverse and vibrant, yet small enough to maintain the community and family feel so important to us.