Education in Spain
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|Ministry of Education|
|Primary languages||Spanish alongside co-official languages within respective regions, including Catalan, Basque and Galician|
|System type||Democratic Constitutional Monarchy (check for accuracy)|
|Literacy (2016 literacy rank =)|
|Post secondary||767,528 (community college)|
Education in Spain is regulated by the Ley Orgánica 8/2013, de 9 de diciembre, para la mejora de la calidad educativa (LOMCE, Organic Law for the improvement of educational quality) that expands upon Article 27 of the Spanish Constitution of 1978. Education is compulsory and free for all children aged between 6 and 16 years and is supported by the national government together with the governments of each of the country's 17 autonomous communities.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Preschool
- 3 Public schools
- 4 Private schools
- 5 Up to secondary level
- 6 Provision and Costs
- 7 School terms
- 8 International education
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
In Spain, elementary school and middle school are considered basic education. These are Primaria (six years, starting the year you are 6 years old), which is the Spanish equivalent of elementary school and middle school, and Secundaria, or ESO (Educación Secundaria Obligatoria, starting the year you are 12), the Spanish equivalent of high school.
After the financial crisis in 2008, leaving many people, especially children in poverty, there have been many attempts to recover. In 2014, a bill was passed to increase the number of annual exams in order to fund schools. In the following years, the cost of higher education increased due to cuts in the education budget. In 2016, further studies were conducted to best assess education inequality, inclusiveness and diversity. Spain is also working towards reforming vocational education and modernizing education to improve the rising unemployment rates.
Preschool for children under the age of 6 is encouraged. There are two cycles of preschool which are divided by age; 0-3 year olds and 3-6 year olds. The first cycle is often held in daycare centers or preschools, and most of the time it isn't free for students, although some city councils offer scholarships for their public preschool centers with limited places. The second cycle is free for all students enrolled in public shcools that offer Educación Infantil (early childhood education). The first cycle focuses on. The second cycle of preschool in public schools focus in on emotional development, movement and control of body habits, communication and language, and positive body image. The documents required for public registration include proof of residence, passport or residence card, or child's birth certificate, and, in some areas, proof of the child’s vaccinations and a medical certificate of health.
At public schools, the language which classes are taught depends on the region. In Catalonia or Valencia, classes are taught in Catalan and Valencian respectively, and in Galacia and Basque Country, Gallego and Basque respectively. Some public schools are bilingual. Classes are taught in Spanish or the regional language in some schools. And English, French or German may be taught as a second language, depending the school. State schools in Spain have improved and have qualifications towards student studying abroad, however they are not on the same level as private institutions.
In Catalonia, language has been associated with identity. After the 1970s, when Spain became a democracy, Catalonia was given rights over its own education system. In 1986 the entire region shifted from teaching in Spanish to Catalan as teaching language up to high school except for the language subjects (Castilian, French and English). This system has been praised by EU and UNESCO. However, in 2013 the government of Spain at that time managed by the People's Party of Spain, passed a bill to increase the usage of Castilian as tuition language. The Catalan Government said they would take the bill to the Constitutional Court of Spain, which backed up Catalan system in two times, one in 1994 and again in 2010. In 2015 the Supreme Court ruled that at least 25% of school subjects have to use Castilian as teaching language.
Private schools in Spain vary, some of the schools teach entirely in Spanish, some are Catholic schools, others are private schools and are bilingual and some are international schools which place emphasis on a second language, generally English. Private schools that are state subsidized (educación concertada) are required to follow the Spanish syllabus, while international schools are free to follow other curriculums typically from other countries such as the US or UK. Private schools tend to be more costly especially in Barcelona or Madrid. Fees include tuition as well as school supplies and uniform.
Some curriculums include:
- The Bachillerato (Spain)
- British GCSE / A-level exams
- United States high school diploma, SAT, ACT or AP exam scores
- International Baccalaureate Diploma
Up to secondary level
Once students have finished Bachillerato, they can take their University Entrance Exam (Pruebas de Acceso a la Universidad, PAU, popularly called Selectividad), which differs greatly from region to region.
Basic education (Educación Primaria)
Divided into two stages:
- Primaria (Spanish for "elementary school and middle school": kindergarten or first grade through sixth grade)
- Secundaria (Spanish for "high school": grades six through eight)
In elementary school, children study the following subjects:
- Natural science
- Social science
- Spanish Language and Literature
- First Foreign Language
- Physical education
- Second Foreign Language
- Social and Civic Values
There are other differences between elementary schools and high schools:
- The playground is replaced by a courtyard.
- Recess becomes free period, used either to study or to rest from schoolwork. From ninth grade, students may be able to go out of school during this period if the school admits it.
High school (ESO y Bachillerato)
ESO or Educación Secundaria Obligatoria consists of 4 years, structured as two cycles:
- First Cycle: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year
- Second Cycle: 4th year
Bachillerato consists of 2 years (1st and 2nd year)
In high school, there are many changes and electives are introduced. Subjects remain more or less the same as those in elementary school, with little variation depending on the region.
|First year of ESO (7th grade, freshman year)||Second year of ESO (8th grade, sophomore year)||Third year of ESO (9th grade, freshman year)||Fourth year of ESO (10th grade, junior year)|
|Biology and Geology||Biology and Geology. Physics and Chemistry||Biology and Geology. Physics and Chemistry||Students have to choose 2 of the following subjects: Biology and Geology, Economy, Physics and Chemistry, or Latin|
|Mathematics||Mathematics||Mathematics oriented to
the academic teachings or Mathematics oriented to applied teachings
|Mathematics oriented to
the academic teachings
|Geography and History||Geography and History||Geography and History||Geography and History|
|Spanish Language and Literature, as well as the co-official language, where applicable||Spanish Language and Literature, as well as the co-official language, where applicable||Spanish Language and Literature, as well as the co-official language, where applicable||Spanish Language and Literature, as well as the co-official language, where applicable|
|First Foreign Language||First Foreign Language||First Foreign Language||First Foreign Language|
|Physical Education||Physical Education||Physical Education||Physical Education|
|Religion or Ethical Values||Religion or Ethical Values||Religion or Ethical Values||Religion or Ethical Values|
|Some electives courses at some schools are the following:
||Some electives courses at some schools are the following:
||Some elective courses are the following:
||Some elective courses are the following:
The next two years, known as Bachillerato or Bachiller, are not mandatory, since education is only compulsory in Spain until students are 16 years old. These two final years in high school are required if the student want to attend college later.
|First year of Bachillerato (11th grade, junior year)||Second year of Bachillerato (12th grade, senior year)|
|Spanish Language and Literature, as well as the co-official language, where applicable||Spanish Language and Literature, as well as the co-official language, where applicable|
|First Foreign Language||First Foreign Language|
|Physical Education||Physical Education|
|History of Spain|
Social science: Latin or Mathematics
Arts: Basics of Art
|Science: Mathematics |
Social science: Latin or Mathematics
Arts: Basics of Art
|Students have to choose 2 of the following subjects:
Science: Biology and Geology, Technical Drawing, or Physics and Chemistry.
Social Science: Economy, Greek, World History, or Universal Literature.
Arts: Audiovisual Culture, World History, or Universal Literature.
|Students have to choose 2 of the following subjects: |
Science: Biology, Technical Drawing, Geology, Physics, or Chemistry.
Social Science: Business Economics, Greek, Art History, or Georgraphy.
Arts: Audiovisual Culture, Scenic Arts, or Design.
|Some elective courses are the following:
||Some elective courses are the following:
Provision and Costs
Schools in Spain can be divided into 3 categories:
- State schools (colegios públicos)
- Privately run schools funded by the State (colegios concertados)
- Purely private schools (colegios privados)
According to summary data for the year 2008-2009 from the ministry, state schools educated 67.4%, private but state funded schools 26.0%, and purely private schools 6.6% of pupils the preceding year.
All non-university state education is free in Spain, but parents have to buy all of their children's books and materials. This, nominally at least, also applies to colegios concertados. Many schools are concertados, state funded up to the end of Primaria but purely private for the high school years. This drop in the fraction of pupils in educación concertada is matched by increases of approximately equal size in the fraction in both state and purely private education for ESO and Bachillerato.
There are private schools for all the range of compulsory education. At them, parents must pay a monthly/termly/yearly fee. Most of these schools are run by religious orders, and also include single-sex schools.
Schools supply a list of what is required at the start of each school year and which will include art and craft materials as well as text and exercise books. From 2009, this figure was around £300 and in 2011 was nearer £500; as of 2011, the cost of books averaged 170 euros for preschool and 300 euros for elementary school students. In some regions, the autonomous government is giving tokens to exchange them in book shops for free. This is being adapted in 2006 in regions, such as Andalusia, where kids from 3 to 10 years old will get the books for free, on the following years it is expected for all compulsory years. School uniform is not normally worn in state schools but is usually worn in private schools.
Usually, Primaria is studied in a colegio and ESO and Bachillerato are studied in an instituto. However, some schools only teach elementary school (K-6). Also, K-12 schools also exist, althought they are private schools or privately run schools funded by the State (colegios concertados)
Admissions to publicly funded schools
The details of admission publicly funded schools vary from autonomous community to autonomous community.
In Madrid, there is a largely uniform admissions process for state funded schools, both colegios públicos and colegios concertados. Here the main admissions procedures for pupils wishing to join a school in the autumn are carried out in the spring of the year in question.
Parents can choose the school to which they wish to send their child. It is not uncommon that there be insufficient places in a popular school for all the children for whom places are requested. In such cases, places are allocated according to rather strictly defined admissions criteria as defined in Annex IX to the order establishing the process.
The royal decree governing the same process in Extremadura includes admissions criteria structured in a very similar way but differing in the number of points allocated, notably for residence near to the school.
Broadly similar to the English three term system, but with slightly shorter holidays at Christmas (22 December – 7 January) and Easter (one week - 40 days after Ash Wednesday), and longer in the summer (normally from 23 June to 15 September). In 2005, the summer holiday ran from 22 June until 1–15 September, depending on the regions. The English half-term holiday does not exist, but there are frequent odd days and long weekends relating mainly to religious holidays and regional and national holidays. Schools use the trimester system (September to December, January to March/April, March/April to June).
As of January 2015, the International Schools Consultancy (ISC) listed Spain as having 210 international schools. ISC defines an 'international school' in the following terms "ISC includes an international school if the school delivers a curriculum to any combination of pre-school, primary or secondary students, wholly or partly in English outside an English-speaking country, or if a school in a country where English is one of the official languages, offers an English-medium curriculum other than the country’s national curriculum and is international in its orientation." This definition is used by publications including The Economist. In 1977 the International Baccalaureate authorized the first school in Spain to teach the Diploma Programme. There are now 86 IB World Schools in Spain, of which 71 deliver an international education but in Spanish.
- Text (in Spanish) of the Ley Orgánica de Educación
- Miret-Gamundi, Pau. "Educational Policies: Spain (2014)". Retrieved 21 March 2018.
- "Education and Training Monitor 2016" (PDF). 2016. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
- "Education Policy Outlook" (PDF). April 2014. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
- donQuijote (2018). "The Spanish Education System". Retrieved 16 March 2018.
- Expat. "Preschool in Spain". Expatica. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
- "State schools". Retrieved 21 March 2018.
- "Education in Spain State or Private". Retrieved 17 March 2018.
- "Education in Spain: State or private schools?". Retrieved 21 March 2018.
- "In Catalonia, language and identity go hand in hand | DW | 21.10.2017". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 2018-07-17.
- Benítez, Enrique (2017-07-11). "Catalonia's Language Immersion Education". Enrique Benítez. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
- Monzó, Quim (2012-11-23). "The Catalan language is still in danger, despite its resurgence | Quim Monzó". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
- "The Spanish Parliament approves the Education Reform against Catalan school model with only the PP's votes". Catalan News. 10 October 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
- "Supreme Court rules 25% of school subjects to be taught in Spanish, against Catalonia's own model". Catalan News. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 2018-07-17.
- "Private and international schools in Spain". 2015. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
- Clark, Nick (8 July 2014). "The Major International School Curriculums". Retrieved 21 March 2018.
- Data and Numbers for the year 2008-2009 p4, retrieved 25 February 2009, Ministry of Education, Social Policy and Sport
- Ambrosoli, Carlos (30 August 2011). "¿Cuánto le va a costar la vuelta al cole?" (TV news report (video)) (in Spanish). Canary Islands, Spain: Antena 3 Canarias. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
- Annexes to Order Establishing Admissions Process., see Annex IX for criteria for allocating places, retrieved 17 May 2009, Department of Education of the Community of Madrid
- Decree 42/2007 - Extremadura., see Annex (there is only one) 'Criterios de Prioridad Para La Admisión de Alumnos', retrieved 17 May 2009, Boletin Oficial del Estado - Extremadura
- Decrehie -----/2007, of the 20th February - Andalucia., retrieved 23 February 2010
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
- Spanish Ministry of Education (Spanish)
- Spain Study Guide for International Students
- Courses and universities in Spain
- Schools and Universities Guide to Study in Spain
- Spanish Ministry of Education, Social Politics and Sports In Spanish.
- Information on education in Spain, OECD - Contains indicators and information about Spain and how it compares to other OECD and non-OECD countries
- Diagram of Spanish education system, OECD - Using 1997 ISCED classification of programmes and typical ages. Also in Spanish