We are a Portuguese school located in the north of Portugal, in Vila Nova de Famalicão, which is a strategic point in the centre of River Ave Valley (Vale do Ave). River Ave Valley was an extremely dynamic and productive region and strongly industrialized. The activity sectors are mainly connected to industry (textile, clothing, shoes, electronics, and meat transformation), agriculture and services. However, due to a recession in the industry sector, mainly in textile and clothing, some families are facing difficult problems because of the closing down of factories. In some cases entire families are facing unemployment, and serious financial problems, which undoubtedly affects some of our students.
V. N. de Famalicão is a modern city near the metropolitan area of O’Porto (where the well-known Porto wine is produced), the second most important Portuguese city, with a very young population. Besides that, it plays a key role in the development of the Northern region.
D. Sancho I Association of Schools (Agrupamento de Escolas D. Sancho I) is a public institution that resulted from an aggregation of different schools. This aggregation includes Escola Secundária D. Sancho I, which was founded in 1957 and is one of the oldest schools in the region and the first one to implement technical education.
It is a post-elementary (7th, 8th and 9th forms) and secondary (10th, 11th and 12th forms) public institution with about 1980 students (for day and evening classes), whose ages range from 12 to 18 years old, and 200 teachers. Besides providing general teaching, it also provides vocational teaching in the areas of Electronics, Secretarial Studies, Accountancy, Laboratory Analysis, Management of Technological Equipment, Environmental and Rural Tourism, Automation and Computers, Telecommunications, Marketing, among others. It also has a long tradition in adult education for people belonging to different generations. Therefore, it receives pupils from almost all the elementary schools of the region and even outside the county. It is a school searched by a lot of students because it offers a wide range of courses and also for the fact that it is the only official school with evening classes. Thus, the school works from 8.00am till 12.00pm continuously.
Although it is an ancient school, it was recently completely rebuilt, being nowadays a brand new school. It has good equipment, specific classrooms for the teaching of information and communication technologies, electricity, mechanics, physics, chemistry and biology, as well as other rooms and spaces for leisure and activities. It has a canteen, a bar, Orientation and Psychology Services and a highly attended library. Despite all the teaching activities, there are also several clubs working as well as the school newspaper and school sports.