In Spain, education is compulsory for children aged 6 to 16 and the school system is considered one of the best in Europe. In recent years, an increasing number of public and private teaching have been bilingual (Spanish and English).
There are also many respected international schools on the Costa del Sol, offering classes in English, French, Norwegian, German, Finnish and Swedish.
International schools are the most frequently chosen by immigrants, although more and more parents want their children to benefit from the state system and be fluent in Spanish from an early age and culturally integrate.
Some international schools (all of which are paid) offer full bilingual education, while others only teach in English (or another European).
Spanish state education is free for all EU citizens from kindergarten to 18 years of age, parents only pay for books, stationery and extra-curricular activities.
Pre-school education (Educación Infantil) (0-6) is an excellent way to integrate children and parents into the Spanish-speaking community and culture. It is not compulsory and is divided into two three-year stages (0-3 and 3-6 years). Stage two (3-6 years) is free in state-funded schools.
Compulsory education (6-16 years old) consists of two stages:
Primary education (Educación Primaria) from 6 to 12 years old
Lower secondary education (Educación Secundaria Obligatoria – ESO) from 12 to 16 years of age
Non-compulsory education (16-18 years)
Secondary education (Bachillerato) – prepares students for university studies
Students are admitted to the university after passing the Selectividad entrance examination in the final year of secondary school. The study lasts three or four years and students obtain either a “license” (in academic subjects) or a “diploma” in vocational or technical subjects.
Thereafter, university graduates can continue their education for a master’s or doctoral degree