The Santo Tirso Vocational School of is located in Northern Portugal, in a small but active town called Santo Tirso, in the heart of the Douro region. Santo Tirso is a city with about 14,000 inhabitants in the Oporto district, in the Northwest of Portugal, a European region with a lot of youth, but where literacy levels are low, mainly in the areas of foreign language. It is a disadvantaged area, which has suffered severely from the fall of the textile industry and the relocation of companies, but which is also struggling to get out of an extremely dramatic economic crisis and achieving it. There are many different initiatives to fight unemployment and also to energize the region and attract young people. There are many traditions, many of them religious, which make it a lively place to live and study.
Right in the heart of Santo Tirso, with about 140 students and 20 teachers, the Santo Tirso Vocational School plays a very important role in fighting the growing drop-out rate that has affected our region and also in helping educate students as citizens. This School has three Vocational Courses - Secretarial Technician, Trade Technician and Computer Management and Programming Technician, three areas where foreign languages play a vital role. In these three-year courses, students not only complete a cycle of studies, achieving the year 12 of schooling but, being a professional school, also have the opportunity to carry out part of their training in a real work context. The school offers them traineeships in the first, second and third years of the course, where they can put into practice what they have learned throughout the year. Many of these which allow for students who otherwise would not have the opportunity to visit other countries to do so and come into contact with other cultures.
Our faculty also have extensive experience in teaching and European projects, and the school makes a permanent effort to provide teachers with the appropriate training so that there is never an outdated knowledge or form of teaching, which in turn increases the quality of our education.
The Portuguese education system attaches great importance to three areas of knowledge and learning: Portuguese Language, Mathematics and Foreign Languages. In Portuguese schools, as a result of growing globalization, students learn English from the moment they enter primary school, and then have the possibility to choose another language: French, Spanish or German. In our School, there are two main languages: English and French. In addition, students of the Trade Technician course have the opportunity to learn Spanish. All of these languages are vital in the areas which we focus on in our school because we are preparing them for the professions where contact with the general public, and even foreigners or emigrants, will happen on a daily basis. However, it is not only Languages and Mathematics which are the priorities of our educational system; there is also a great focus on new technologies, and our school is following this trend. The example of this is the Computer Management and Programming Technician Course, a very extensive course in this area and which allows for our students to acquire quite comprehensive skills with regard to new technologies.
The School has been developing European Projects since 2004. In 2015, it was awarded the KA1 Good Practice Award. Recently, our school received the VETCHARTER.