State Schools in Andalucia
The Spanish state schools have undergone dramatic changed over the last decade and standards are fast approaching those in the rest of Europe. Furthermore, if a child wants to continue at a university elsewhere, such as the UK, there are no special examinations to take, the results may be convalidated directly without even translating the same before supplying the same to the respective university body (such as UCAS).
State education is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Science, although authority can be delegated to regional governments. This is the case in in Andalucía where the Junta de Andalucia has the responsibility for the educational system (including higher education). See our page on Enrolment procedures.
State education is free, but parents pay for some school books (for Infantil 3-5 years, and some in Primaria and Secundaria), school supplies and extra curricular activities, such as sports and art which do tend to be lacking, as compared to schools in the UK and, especially, the USA. For most Spanish children, school starts with nursery or pre-school at the age of two, followed by Infantil school from three to five years (usually on the same premises as primary school, called a CEIP - Centro de Educacion Infantil y Primaria).
Compulsory education termed the basic general education begins at six years of age in a primary school and lasts for six years. At the age of 12, students receive a school-leaving certificate, which determines the course of their future education. Those with high marks are awarded a titulo de graduado escolar certificate and may attend a higher secondary school to study for their baccalaureate. Less academic students are awarded a school certificate, and attend a vocational programme providing specialised training for a specific career.
Attending a local state school helps children integrate into the local community and learn the language and is highly recommended if you plan to stay in Spain indefinitely. Although it may not appeal initially, given the choice many foreign children prefer to attend Spanish school and become part of the local community. It is worth noting that, whereas it is fairly easy to switch from a state school to a private school, the reverse is not the case. If you need to move a child from a private school to a state school it can be difficult for that child to adjust, particularly a teenager.
There are special state schools in Andalucía for pupils with special education needs, however it can be commended that it is not unusual to see children with minor disabilities attending the normal state schools and being readily accepted by their peers.
On the page of the Junta de Andalucia, Consejeria de Educacion, is a search (in Spanish) of all the state schools in Andalucia. Enter town name of post code here