Agrupamento de Escolas Alexandre Herculano, Santarem, Portugal

Alexandre Herculano Schools Group was established in the academic year 2001/2002. This group is an organizational unit with its own board of directors and management that comprises the headquarter school “Escola Básica Alexandre Herculano” (Basic School, 5th to 9th grades, founded in 1987), 3 kindergartens, 4 primary schools and 3 primary schools with kindergartens, a total of 11 schools distributed over a large geographical area (urban and rural) somewhat dispersed that comprises about 1300 students. In Alexandre Herculano Group work around 160 teachers and 50 educational staff.
All schools in the group are in the municipality of the city of Santarem, in central Portugal, north of the “Tejo” river and about 70 km from the capital of Portugal, Lisbon. Four of the primary schools and one of the kindergartens are located in the rural part of the district and the remaining within the city area (Santarém).
The urban area covers areas ranging from the heart of the city to the suburbs, leading to social problems typical of large cities. In rural areas there is a marked aging of the population, loss of cultural traditions and exodus of the younger population. The economic structure is centralized in the urban area of the district, which concentrates almost half of the working population, leading to a clear reduction in the primary sector and a significant increase in the tertiary sector. The industrial framework is limited, with a predominance of small and medium enterprises.
The educational policy of the Alexandre Herculano Schools Group meets the educational needs of the students using self and specific projects and training offer.
In Alexandre Herculano's school, the main school, we have several educational resources for the benefit of students: School Library / Resource Center, Auditorium, ICT rooms, a Pro-Health Office, a Maths Lab and Experimental Sciences labs as well, a School Gymnasium, Field sports center, a Fitness Trail, a Reprographics, a Stationery, a Canteen, a Bar and Playroom.
This Institution offers a diversified educational offer, which includes arts, technology and sports (eg, Techniques of artistic expression, Theatre - representation arts, Multimedia and various arrangements in the context of school sports), with a good level of qualification framework teaching staff with specialized qualification and increasingly focused on the use of new technologies for communication, dissemination and teaching. It has a Specialized Support Unit for multiple disabilities - an ITC Resource Center for Special Education.
We also offer a wide diversity of activities in which students can enroll after classes: several sports activities such as swimming, horseriding, boccia, badminton, footbal, baskeball, handball, ...; different clubs: eTwinning, Robotics, Environment, Chess and Theatre.
We 've invested in the creation of Vocational Courses (mostly practical) properly structured and targeted for students from 13-15 years of age and who have difficulties to complete their studies in order to prevent early school leaving.These courses promote participation in school activities, the assimilation of team work rules, the spirit of initiative and the sense of responsibility, leading young people to acquire knowledge and develop skills and practices that eventually facilitate their integration into the labor market.
Currently, our educational offer includes vocational courses of “Image Technology”and “Food production, Confection and Table service”.