Education is compulsory for those between the ages of 6 to 16 in Spain.

Spanish state schools:

The state school system is on four levels:

  • Pre-school (non compulsory) – 3 to 6 years of age
  • Primary School (compulsory) six years of schooling – 6 to 12 years of age
  • Secondary Education (compulsory) four years of schooling – 12 to 16 years of age
  • Bachillerato (compulsory ) two years of schooling – 16 to 18 years of age

school spain 2


school spainThe Spanish School Leaving Certificate (ESO) is equivalent to a number of GCSEs, Junior Cert (in Ireland). or Standard Grades (in Scotland).

The Bachillerato is equivalent to A-levels, Leaving Certificate (in Ireland). and Scottish Highers .

In Madrid the admissions process is reasonably simple for state schools, applications must be submitted in spring for the following September.

Parents can choose their child’s school but if there aren’t enough places in a particular school, the child will be allocated a place at an alternative school.

Madrid now has 242 bilingual state primary schools and 32 bilingual state secondary schools, are some links for more information HERE and HERE.

Private schools:

Like state schools, private schools operate a Monday to Friday timetable. Private schools in Spain teach a variety of course levels, including the British GCSE and A-level examinations, the American High School Diploma and its college entrance examinations, the International Baccalaureate and the Spanish Bachillerato.

Most Spanish private schools are state-subsidised and follow the Spanish state-school curriculum.

Private school fees in Spain vary depending on the quality, reputation and location of a school, and are low compared to the cost of private education in Northern Europe and North America.

schools in madridInternational schools:

In addition to American and British schools there are also French, German, Swedish and other foreign-language schools in Spain. Under Spanish law, all foreign schools must be approved by their country’s embassy in Spain.

Your choice of foreign schools will depend on where you live in Spain. There’s a good choice of English-speaking schools (accepting children from ages three to 18) in Madrid, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Tenerife, and on the costas. For example, there are British schools in Alicante, Barcelona, Cádiz, Fuengirola, Ibiza, Lanzarote, Las Palmas, Madrid, Menorca, Palma de Mallorca, Marbella, Tenerife, Torremolinos, Valencia and many other places, for a list of schools in Spain see HERE.

Private, foreign and international schools may have smaller classes and a more relaxed, less rigid regime and curriculum than Spanish state schools. They provide a more varied and international approach to sport, culture and art, and a wider choice of academic subjects. Many also provide English-language summer school programmes combining academic lessons with sports, arts and crafts, and other extra-curricular activities.

For information and advice on English speaking schools in Madrid see HERE.