There are so many articles about moving to Spain with Kids, Education and School Reviews. Whilst we do recommend you do as much research as possible, you may well find yourself more confused than ever before. If you cannot afford or don´t want to put your child into Private Education, then your choice is quite simply Spanish State Education, which is a bit like the UK, where you do need to live in the area, and there is also a point system. So you may not get your first choice or there maybe a couple for you to look at, it all depends on the area.
If you are looking at a Private School, then you have much more choice and this is when it gets a little bit confusing. Our advice is to narrow your choice down to a handful of schools, and go see them for yourself. We believe that you will know which one is for you after you have walked around, seen the other kids and spoken to the teachers.
The choice of Schools here are, Spanish State, English Schools, Internationals Schools, Montessori Schools, Finnish Schools, German Schools, Swedish Schools, a Boarding School and even a Norweigan School. There are also Universities here, a fantastic Design College and also Les Roches School of Hotel Management, so there really is education for every age here
You need to think about the following…
Legally a child doesn´t have to start school until the year they become 6 , however many start from as young as 2 years 9 months to ensure a place. Spanish School System runs from January to December. In Public Schools, if the kids do not pass all their exams they will be held back to repeat. So this can mean, in secondary school (Institutos) you could have kids of 12 years with kids of 14 in the class. This can also happen in Spanish Private Schools too if the teachers feel it necessary.
Spanish Public Schools generally start around 9am and finish at 2pm with extra activities available. Private Spanish Schools generally start 9am to 9.30am and finish around 5pm, slightly earlier in the summer months. We know many people with kids in the Spanish Primary Schools that are more than happy, but their worries come at Secondary where Institutos unfortunately don´t have a great reputation so they often switch to the Private System. Most subjects are taught in Spanish with English being taught as a foreign language. In some Private Spanish Schools you may find other subjects like Art and Science are taught in English too.
The year runs as in the UK, September through to August. There can be some negotiation, as we have seen, if you want your child to be the oldest rather than the youngest, but sometimes the kids do struggle and often end up repeating the first year. We have also seen that sometimes Spanish kids enter the British System, but using the Spanish School year, so for example, if they are born between September and December, they will be pushed up to the class above. This is because should they swap to the Spanish System later on, they will continue at the same level.. It is a bit confusing, but basically the Spanish System runs a year ahead of the British System.
Most of the British / International Schools take kids from 2/3years right up until 18 years old. There are a couple of schools on the coast that are Primary only, which you can see in the list below. The British Curriculum is taught and in some schools the Spanish Curriculum too, however it will be only a few hours a week.
In secondary schools kids can do GCSE, A Levels and then you also have the IB, International Baccalaureate depending on the school you choose. Some people like the IB, some hate it. Its a personal choice for you and your child. Its not unusual for kids to change schools here, we know some people that have been to practically every Private School in Marbella, especially when it comes to choosing options. It all depends on what and where they want to study in the future.
We have lived here many years and whilst we know many kids that have been to these “International/Bilingual Schools” we dont know any that have gone onto Spanish Universities, unless of course they are Spanish. Most seem to go back to the UK at 18.
International School accepting children from 3 to 18 years old.
Formerly Kings &International School of San Pedro. International School accepting children from 2 to 18 years old
A very popular International School for 3 to 18 years old
A popular English School for 3 to 18 years old
A small school following the British Curriculum kids 2 to 9 years.
A small, bilingual school for 3 to 8 years
International school in Marbella accepting children up to primary age
An international school that takes kids from 4 until 18 years old
International Primary School for children from 3 to 12 years
International School for kids from 3 until 18 years old.
British Education for kids from 3 until 18 years old
International School for kids from 3 until 18 years old
International School for kids from 3 until 18 years old
Private School with boarding from 3 until 18 years old.
Alboran College is a Private Spanish School for 3 to 18 years old
A new Spanish / Bilingual School for kids from 3 until 18 years old.
San Jose have 2 sites, Guadalmina & Estepona Children from 3 to 18 years old.
Spanish Private School for 3 to 18 years.
Private Spanish School for 3 to 18 years old, quite religious.
Private Spanish School for 3 to 18 years old, the girls school of Ecos above, quite religious
If you are looking at Spanish State & Public Schools you need to find the schools within your area as in the UK. If you go to the Town Hall you can pick up a list of all the state schools in your area, or you can find all the Public Schools in Andalucia here.
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