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Living in Spain - Key Information

Spanish Schools

Spain has a state funded school system along with private schools and a range of international / foreign schools. Around 30% of Spains' schoolchildren attend private schools the majority of which are co-educational. The line between public, private and church schools can be blurred, with many nominally private or church schools receiving their principal support from the state.

International and foreign schools are the only schools which use English as the teaching language. If your children attend any other schools they will be taught their lessons in Spanish.

Compulsory education begins at six years of age with the children attending primary school which, in most cases, is local. This lasts for eight years when, 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.

To enrol you must also have:

proof of convalidation (see above)
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.

Spanish school hours: These vary from place to place and according to type of school. One typical schedule would run from 0900 until 1700 with a two hour break for lunch; another typical schedule would go from 0900 with no break and finish classes for the day at 1400. 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.

For more in depth information on this topic, we highly recommend:

Living and Working in Spain: A Survival Guide

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