Educating Your Child in Spain: How Does It Work?

Naturally, the education of your children will be your top priority if you have children and intend to relocate to Spain.

When it comes to assessing whether or not a transfer to Spain is feasible, your children’s overall well-being and educational requirements may be the decisive factors. Undoubtedly, the success of your transfer depends heavily on your children’s happiness in Spain. When children aren’t happy, it puts a lot of pressure on the adults in the family, which can strain even the best of relationships.

Although schooling in Spain is generally outstanding, it does necessitate, like in the UK, a great deal of attention to detail in order to achieve the greatest outcomes. There’s a major difference for children in Spain, of course, because they will be taught in Spanish, rather than English (and sometimes in a regional dialect, such as Valenciano). To begin with, there aren’t a lot of North European children who understand Spanish, thus their transition into a Spanish-speaking school can be a challenge. The astonishing speed with which children learn a new language is a testament to this fact, and I can think of only one youngster who was unable to master it.

When it comes to enrolling a child in a regular Spanish school (as opposed to an international one), timing is everything. Obviously, the younger a child is, the easier it is for them to learn Spanish and adapt to the scholastic environment in Spain. Older students face a far more serious issue, and research has shown that youngsters reach a point where learning a new language and keeping up with the demands of increasingly difficult academic work becomes virtually impossible. Moving a child into a Spanish-speaking school when they are between the ages of 12 and 13 might be risky, especially if they do not speak the language. Most youngsters will be able to acquire the language and keep up with their schoolwork if they start at a younger age. At this vulnerable moment in their lives, not being able to keep up with their classmates will be a demoralising and destructive experience that will have a negative impact on them.
Children in Spain must attend school from the age of six up until the age of sixteen, during which time they must complete six years of primary education followed by four years of secondary education, at the conclusion of which they obtain an Education Certificate. State-funded Spanish schools are free, and students are not required to wear a school uniform. However, the cost of school textbooks falls on the shoulders of parents, who may find it difficult to afford (around 300 Euros per child per year). In Spain, children can continue their education after the age of 16 by attending vocational colleges or pursuing the highly esteemed Bachillerato degree. If a child plans to go to college, they’ll need to complete the second year of preparatory work.

As in the UK, the quality of state schools varies greatly depending on where they are located. The reputation of a potential Spanish school should therefore be thoroughly researched before enrolling. Private Spanish schools, on the other hand, can be an excellent option in many cases. A high-quality education can be provided to kids in a controlled, safe, and high-aspirational atmosphere. When compared to the cost of their UK (for example) counterparts, they are excellent value for money. If you can afford it, you should use them for your children. Fees in 2008 can run as high as 350 euros a month (10 months).

In addition, there are a few international schools in Spain that follow a British curriculum and teach in English. The rich Spanish have a strong desire to guarantee that their children are fluent in Spanish, hence these Spanish schools often have a high percentage of Spanish children. As long as your children are over the age of 12 and you plan to relocate to Spain, these considerations are critical. As a parent of two children, I have been awed by the quality of education in Spain, and my son is now a university student after passing the Bachillerato. Having started Spanish schooling when he was just 13 years old, he has proven that the current system of education in Spain works for non-Spaniards.