Types of School
Investing in your children’s future is important, and you have several excellent choices to choose from, either between the Spanish public and private schools, or between English, Scandinavian, Finnish and German International schools.
All international schools are fee paying. Fees vary from school to school.
See our guide for a list of International Schools.
Spanish Public Schools
Spanish state education is open to all EU citizens and is free from pre-school to 18 years of age.
There is, however, self-payment for books, stationery and extra-curricular activities.
Villages and suburbs have their own nursery and primary schools, but secondary schools get pupils from a larger catchment area.
The catchment area is of great importance. If you’re set on a particular school, make sure you look for a home in the right area.
Compulsory Education is divided between Primaria and Secundaria.
- 0 – 6 years Educación Infantíl or pre-school education is divided into a Primer Ciclo between 0 – 3 years, and a Segundo Ciclo between 3 – 6 years. Pre-school education is not compulsory, but is free during the second stage (3-6 years) in state-funded schools. There is also a range of nurseries, both state-funded and private, some run by expats.
- 6 – 12 years Educación Primaria or primary school
- 12 – 16 years Educación Secundaria Obligatoria –ESO or lower secondary school. Unlike schools in Northern Europe, if children fail their end of year exams at either primary or secondary levels, they risk having to repeat the entire academic year!
- 16 – 18 years Bachillerato or upper secondary school prepares students for university.
Alternatively the students can opt for a Módulo Prefesional, a general training for the workplace, as long as they have their certificate to show they have completed their ESO.
Higher education – applicants for Spanish universities are expected to complete the Selectividad entrance exam in their final year of Upper Secondary education.