There are private international schools in most major resort towns,
where your child can receive lessons in English. Some of these schools
also teach UK exam courses (GCSEs and A Levels) but most use the
International Baccalaureate or the Spanish bachilllerato syllabuses.
Price (and quality) varies, but overall private education in Spain is
cheaper than in the UK.
The National Association of British Schools in
Spain is a
good place to start looking for international schools.
National Association of British Schools in Spain (NABSS) was founded in
1978 and represents the interests of some 40 schools, dotted around
Spain, mainly in the areas where there are a high number of expatriates.
The main aim of the association is to protect the interests of the
member schools and those of the parents and children.
uses well qualified staff and up-to-date teaching methods. The schools
are also popular with Spanish parents for the quality they offer.
Further details can be obtained by visiting their website at
Association of British Schools in Spain.
Bilingual schools exist in many Spanish cities and teach the Spanish
curriculum, with additional lessons taught by native English speakers.
Most of the students in such schools are Spanish and therefore the
language will still be an issue you need to think about.
School in Spain is not
compulsory until the age of 6, but children generally start school in
the autumn of the year in which they turn 3. The legal maximum class
size in primary schools is 25, with one teacher and a "floating"
classroom assistant who helps out with several classes. There is special
provision for children over the age of 6 who don’t speak Spanish as a
education is free, but parents must usually pay for school books
(which are expensive, although they are provided free in certain
cases), school supplies and extra curricular activities. For
most Spanish children, school starts with nursery or pre-school
at the age of 4 or 5.
At fourteen, the
child receives a school leaving certificate. Those with higher marks are
able to attend a higher secondary school with less academic pupils
moving onto a vocational school.
Enrolling in a Spanish school
requires an interview. New arrivals in Spain must have their children's
education record verified which can be a long and expensive process.
This is called convalidation. A pupil will not
be accepted with the necessary paperwork so is best to get this done
before arriving in Spain so the child can immediately enter upon arrival
in the country.
Enrolment procedures vary
from region to region and also from school to school. However for most
schools, you will only be guaranteed a place if you enrol in the Spring
- usually March or April.
To enrol you must also have:
· proof of convalidation (see
· your child's birth certificate or passport, proof of immunization;
· proof of residence in the form of a bill in your name. If you haven't
got one then a rent receipt, or lease is acceptable.
· a passport-size photograph (for a student ID card) for a child
entering secondary school.
Teaching Your Child Spanish
Here are some sites and
products you might find helpful in helping your child learn Spanish.
Spanish Picture Dictionary
Useful for building your child's Spanish vocabulary. Your children will
either need to be able to read, or you will need to learn the basics of
Spanish pronunciation and read it with them.
Click on either the British flag or the Spanish flag to go to a list of
words with translations. Slightly awkward to use, but does contain sound
clips for pronunciation.
An excellent internet based course for adults and older children.
and Learn in Spanish
An excellent way to introduce younger children to the sounds of Spanish.
Includes a CD.
A good introductory text book with cassette for all ages.
Spanish school hours:
These vary from place to place and according to type of school. One
typical schedule would run from 09.00 until 17.00 with a two hour break
for lunch; another typical schedule would go from 09.00 with no break and
finish classes for the day at 14.00. When there is a lunch break of more
than hour, students typically have the option to go home for lunch,
which many do to take lunch with their entire family.