Spain offers a comprehensive and well-structured educational system, providing a wide range of opportunities for students of all ages. The system is divided into several stages, each designed to cater to the specific needs of students at different stages of their development. This guide aims to provide expats with a detailed overview of the Spanish educational system, including the main stages of education, enrollment procedures, language requirements, availability of bilingual schools, types of private schools, costs, and alternatives such as homeschooling and online schooling.
What are the main stages of education in Spain?
The Spanish educational system is divided into several stages. These include Educación Infantil (Pre-school), Educación Primaria (Primary School), Educación Secundaria Obligatoria (Compulsory Secondary Education), Bachillerato (Baccalaureate), and Educación Superior (Higher Education). Each stage is designed to cater to the specific needs of students at different stages of their development.
Educación Infantil (Pre-school)
Educación Infantil is the first stage of education in Spain, catering to children aged 0 to 6 years. This stage is voluntary and focuses on the physical, emotional, and social development of children. It is divided into two cycles: the first cycle (0-3 years) and the second cycle (3-6 years). The second cycle is free in public schools.
Educación Primaria (Primary School)
Educación Primaria is the second stage of education in Spain, catering to children aged 6 to 12 years. This stage is compulsory and free in public schools. It focuses on basic literacy, numeracy, and the development of fundamental knowledge and skills.
Educación Secundaria Obligatoria (Compulsory Secondary Education)
Educación Secundaria Obligatoria (ESO) is the third stage of education in Spain, catering to students aged 12 to 16 years. This stage is compulsory and free in public schools. It focuses on the development of academic and vocational skills.
Bachillerato is the fourth stage of education in Spain, catering to students aged 16 to 18 years. This stage is optional and prepares students for higher education. It is divided into different branches such as Arts, Sciences, and Humanities.
How does a newcomer from a different country enroll their kids in school?
To enroll your child in a Spanish school, you will need to provide a number of documents, including your child’s birth certificate, passport, proof of residence, and vaccination records. You will also need to fill out an application form. The enrollment process typically starts in the spring for the following academic year.
My children are still learning Spanish, can they enroll in a public school?
Yes, children who are still learning Spanish can enroll in public schools in Spain. Many schools offer additional language support for non-Spanish speaking students. However, the level of support may vary from school to school.
Are there public bilingual schools?
Yes, there are public bilingual schools in Spain. These schools offer instruction in both Spanish and a foreign language, typically English. Admission to these schools is usually based on a lottery system.
What types of private schools are common in Spain?
There are several types of private schools in Spain, including Catholic schools, international schools, and bilingual schools. Catholic schools are often subsidized by the government and offer a curriculum that includes religious education. International schools offer a curriculum based on a foreign educational system, while bilingual schools offer instruction in both Spanish and a foreign language.
Do expats typically send their children to public or private school?
Many expats in Spain choose to send their children to private schools, particularly international schools, due to the language support and international curriculum they offer. However, some expats also choose public schools, particularly bilingual schools, for their children.
How expensive are Private schools in Spain?
The cost of private schools in Spain can vary widely, depending on the type of school and the services it offers. On average, you can expect to pay between €4,000 and €8,000 per year for a private school in Spain.
Are you allowed to homeschool while living in Spain?
Homeschooling is not officially recognized in Spain and is considered a legal grey area. While some families do choose to homeschool, they may face legal challenges. It is recommended to seek legal advice if you are considering this option.
May kids attend online school instead of a local school while living in Spain?
Yes, children can attend online school while living in Spain. However, it is important to ensure that the online school is accredited and that the curriculum meets the requirements of the Spanish educational system.