the spanish education system

If you are thinking about moving to Spain permanently, you must educate yourself about its education system. 

Usually, children start their education between the ages of 6 and 16. In fact, your child can start pre-school as early as 3-year-olds when they can learn to read and write.

English is one of the main languages taught in Spain, so your child might be a step ahead in school if you are an English speaker.

Types Of School

There are three types of schools in Spain: public, semi-public, and private. Let’s know about them in more detail!

Public schools: Public schools in Spain are free and most Spanish families decide to send their children to public schools. 

Semi-Public schools: Semi-public schools in Spain are not completely free. These schools are partly funded by the government and you would have to pay a monthly fee.

Private schools: Private schools in Spain are very expensive and they require a hefty sum of fees. Parents tend to pay fees of approximately 2000 to 10,000 euros annually. Most international schools in Spain fall in this category.

Not only that, whatever type of school you choose, you will have to bear the cost of many other types of expenses. Be it a monthly expense for books, study materials, canteen food, extracurricular activities, sports club or extra lessons.

School Timings

Before you make up your mind, there are more things you must understand. And one of those things is understanding the school timings.

When should, or can, your child start attending school? While you can definitely make the right choice, there is indeed a compulsory education for children between the ages of 6-16. 

In fact, some nursery schools admit children as young as 5-6 months old. Sounds strange but it makes sense – after all, parental leave in Spain is much smaller than it is in most other western countries. 

After the nursery, your child can be admitted to preschool at the age of 3. In preschool, your child will learn writing, counting, and reading. 

One of the biggest differences in the school system of Spain and other western countries like the US and UK comes in the form of their admission process.

Students in Spain are admitted to classes based on the year they were born. That makes all children in a particular class the same age.

Finishing School In Spain

Your child will have to finish a compulsory education till the age of 16. Only after this first phase is cleared will they be allowed to enroll in secondary education courses.

Secondary education lasts for about two years. After that, your child will be allowed to continue their graduation courses. 


Parents often worry about the quality of education in the schools their kids will be studying in. Although this is a completely valid concern, the answer differs greatly. 

What is your definition of a good school? To satisfy yourself, your best option is to talk to the school authorities yourself. Have a look at their curriculum, their methods of teaching, and their rules.

Also, consider other important aspects of your child’s school life. Do they deal well with school bullies and failures?

All these things considered, you can pick an ideal school for your child.