Getting to Know the Spanish Education System

Getting to Know the Spanish Education System. Image - Pixabay

Confused with the Spanish education system and the options available? The Euro Weekly News has got you covered in this article.


Spain has a strong education system. Scoring 491 in mathematics, reading literacy, and science, Spain ranks over the average of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Spanish students spend almost eighteen years in education (from five to thirty-nine), surpassing the OECD average of just over seventeen years.
Children are admitted into schools once a year (September), according to the calendar year of their birth. This means that children born in January are the oldest in their class, and children born between October and December will start school before their third birthday. The registration period for all ages is normally in May for the following September, this can be done via the local town hall or by applying to a school directly.
Spanish schools are governed by the ‘Ministerio de Educacion y Formacion Profesional’ (Ministry of Education and Vocational Training) and work closely with the autonomous communities. The local communities are responsible for much of the day-to-day running of schools, including the allocation of funding, steering the curriculum, and managing education standards across local schools.

The Spanish education system is divided into four stages:

  • Infant school (‘escuela infantil’)

    0 to 6 years. This teaches children about social, personal and environmental values, as well as developing their physical and mental skills.

  • Primary school (‘educacion primaria’)

    6 to 12 years. The objectives are planned over each two-year period, a child who is considered not to have achieved these objectives may have to repeat the second year of the cycle.

  • Compulsory secondary school (‘educacion secundaria obligatoria’)

    12 to 16 years. The system is modelled on the British comprehensive system.

  • University preparation (‘Bachillerato’) or vocational training (‘formacion profesional’)

    15 to 18 years. There are four types of Bachillerato– Arts, humanities, natural and health sciences and technology.

There are three types of schools in Spain; state schools (‘colegios publicos’), semi-private schools (‘colegios concertados’), and private schools (‘colegios privados’).
State schools have no tuition fees. Part of the tuition for ‘colegios concertados’ is subsidised by the government and the family cover the rest. Private schools (including international schools) have full tuition fees.
In primary school, homework is at the discretion of the class teacher but can be assigned to children from the first year of primary school onwards. It is usually assumed that parents will be involved in helping their children with their homework, although some hire tutors if their child is struggling.
At secondary school, there is usually quite a heavy load of homework as well as studying for exams which require considerable sacrifice and self-discipline on the part of students who want to do well at school.


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Written by

Laura Kemp

Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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