Schools


Information about schooling

Spain is renowned for providing a good level of state education to all children. School is mandatory for children between the ages of 6-16 years although many Spanish state schools start at 3 years. When your child starts school, you will be given a list of any books or materials which must be provided by the parents, but the education is, of course, free. If your family is on a low income grants are available.

Children aim towards studying for a bachillerato degree with which they can then apply to university. This qualification is recognised by universities worldwide.

Whether you are choosing a state or a private school it is a good idea to visit and compare various schools. Make an appointment for a time when the teacher of the class is available, and you and your child can have the chance to take a look around. Try to talk to parents whose children attend the school. There may be a waiting list for your child to attend but this normally is only a term.


Lessons are mainly conducted in Spanish; however there are some teachers available who speak English. Attending a Spanish school your child will learn very quickly the new language and will integrate into the Spanish community, making new friends for themselves and for you. All children are invited to take part in the local fiestas.

Here in Spain pens, pencils, books and stationary have to be supplied by the parents...

Parents of children below the age of 3 years can apply for their child to attend a state run or private nursery. Infant school for children between 3 and 6 years is normally part time and it is not compulsory to attend.

Children 3 to 5 years are classed as infantil (Educación Infantil) and children 6 to 12 years Primary (Educación Primaria) Children 12 to 16 years are Secondary Education (Educación Secundaria Obligatorio).

There are residential schools for children in the Almeria area, a list of which can be obtained from any local school. If your child specialises in a particular subject such as music, dance or art, specialist schools are also available.

Special needs children are integrated into mainstream schools wherever possible.

A free school bus operates from most schools where designated pickup and drop off points are arranged, which is invaluable to those parents who work.

Secondary school (Educacion Secundaria Obligatorio) begins at the age of 12 years. There are no GCSE's taken, each student who successfully completes their secondary education is awarded a Graduado en Educacion Secundaria. At 16 years the child has a choice of either work or vocational training or continuing to a higher level of study gaining one of four types of Bachiller (academic or vocational).

If the child succeeds in all modules of Bachiller he or she will gain a Bachiller Diploma. To gain entry to a Spanish University all students (who have appropriate exam results) have to sit a further exam.

PLEASE NOTE: this information is purely experience and information about the schooling system in general information form, created by one of our members of staff who have been through the schooling system.

To be put simply, the schooling system works as follows in Spain:

OPTIONAL two years of nursery at the beginning of education, publicly funded and completely free: Ages 3-5 - Obligatory six years of primary school, publicly funded and completely free (except books and school supplies):

Ages 6-11/12 - OBLIGAORY four years of secondary school, publicly funded and completely free (except books and school supplies):

Ages 11/12-15/16 - OPTIONAL two years of “bachillerato”, publicly funded and completely free (except books and school supplies):

Ages 15/16-17/18 -UNIVERSITY, which is massively dependent of which university and what course you take. This can be from 4 years to 7 years and partially publicly funded, meaning that in some instances there is a fee as little as 1€ for the year up to several thousand.

One thing worth noting is the prevalence of the grading system in Spain; meaning throughout the entire system a student is marked from 1 to 10 in each subject. Anything 5 and above is deemed a pass, 4 and below is failed. No student can progress to the next year with 3 or more failed subjects but the opportunity to pass them arises around two weeks prior to the start of the next school year. Should a student progress to the next year but still has one or two failed subjects of the year before, these will carry over. Another opportunity to pass said subject will come round usually in the October/November of the school year. The final year of “bachillerato” must have ALL subjects passed in order to be completed or to progress to university.

To access university you must sit an entrance exam called “Selectividad” that determines your overall ability and ranking combined with your “Bachillerato” grades. Those with higher grades are prioritised when it comes to the selection of students for each course, with certain courses having higher limits than others (which is also dependent on the number of applicants).

The Spanish schooling system is exceptional when it comes to getting a foreign student up to speed with the rest, taking the student out of select classes to help improve their Spanish speaking skills. Usually, with students of foreign origin being in this environment almost all day, 5 days a week, it doesn’t take too long for them to get a grasp of the language and get up to speed with the rest.

Like in the UK, the Spanish system includes a wide variety of subjects including Spanish (like English in the UK), math, different areas of science, geography, history, art, music, technology, P.E, languages such as English (because the Spanish need to learn it), French etc.

Whether you are choosing a state or a private school it is a good idea to visit and compare various schools. Make an appointment for a time when the teacher of the class is available, and you and your child can have the chance to take a look around. Try to talk to parents whose children attend the school. There may be a waiting list for your child to attend but this normally is only a term.

Lessons are mainly conducted in Spanish; however there are some teachers available who speak English. Attending a Spanish school your child will learn very quickly the new language and will integrate into the Spanish community, making new friends for themselves and for you. All children are invited to take part in the local fiestas.