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Education and schools in the Andalucia region

old school bus
School buses aren't really like this one!

On this page you will find a list of private international schools in Andalucia, plus links to our lists of Spanish schools, both state and private, in selected places in each province of Andalucia.

School lists are organised into provinces in Andalucia. We've included lists of schools in popular resorts, villages and towns in the provinces of Almeria, Granada, Malaga, Cadiz and Huelva. If you can't find the place or school listed on our pages (which are being updated), you're welcome to join Pineapple's Spain forum for more information and debate.

State Education System in Andalucia

Education policy is controlled by the Junta De Andalucia, with each region having responsibility for the administration of education within their region. The local councils have a role to play too. Some offer educational services, but all councils will have a say in the infrastructure and buildings within their local areas. Local town halls can also often help with school lists once you have decided upon moving to their area.

Procedures for enrolment are much the same across Andalucia, but some (not all) town halls have departments set up to provide services for foreign families, however, you can choose to apply to a school directly for a place for your child. Each school has a catchment area or zone and it is best to apply to the school within the zone of where you live or intend to live permanently. Applying for a place according to where you work is also possible, but you would need proof of work address. Some children do attend school out of catchment, possible only if there are places. If you are already living in Andalucia, the correct time of the year to apply for a place for the coming academic year is usually around April. Application and enrolment dates are published annually. If you are coming from another area within Spain or from elsewhere in Europe, then you can apply for a school place for your child at any time of the year, although note, the schools are usually closed for most of the summer holidays in July and August, along with Easter (usually only a week) and during the Christmas holidays. There's a week holiday in February, but no half term in the autumn. The academic year ends around mid June and starts again in mid September. Families moving to Andalucia during the summer holidays can usually enrol their children at the very beginning of September, or if any staff are on duty at the schools, at the very end of August. The Secretary of the school is usually part of the management team and he or she would be the first contact, if you decide to apply to a school directly.

Formalities are often overstated. It is usually a fairly simple process to enrol your children, but you will need to be registered on the local electoral roll at the town hall, provide passports, full birth certificate/s of the child/ren, marriage/divorce papers if applicable and sometimes, the child/rens vaccination certificates. If you're not asked for any of this paperwork in rural Andalucia, do not worry, as sometimes a casual approach is taken, especially if the school has plenty of places available, which can sometimes be the case in less densely populated places. If you wish to apply for grants for books and materials (parents pay for these, along with cost of school transport and meals if available), then of course you'd need proof of income as grants may be available to low income families. School uniform isn't usually worn, except in private schools.

Children can often start school before their 5th or 6th birthday, but it isn't compulsory to attend below the age of 6 (children start school in the September of the calendar year in which they become 6), neither is there a right to schooling below the compulsory starting age. Many children can start pre-school in the year when they become 3 if there are places, with priority going to working parents. Children move to secondary education in the September of the year in which they become 12, although there is a system whereby children can repeat a year, so some will be older than 12 when they move up to secondary school. The school leaving age is 16, although some will be under 16 if their birthdays falls during the latter half of the calendar year and some will be older if year/s were repeated in secondary.

The equivalent qualification to 5 UK GCSE's grades A-C is the Graduado (of compulsory secondary education - ESO. After ESO students can go onto the 5th year of secondary education. Usually students in Andalucia study in schools, but they can attend adult education centres, often for basic skills or language courses, or go into work or work based training. The Bachillerato is the equivalent of A levels in the U.K. Parents with 15 or 16 year olds in their final UK school year should enquire about the Convalidacion procedure with the Spanish Ministry of Education in Madrid, if the student intend to continue their education in Andalucia or anywhere else in Spain.

Bilingual Education in the Andalucian State System

A comparitively recent project in Andalucia involved the introduction of bilingual education at pilot schools. Pilot schools have French, German or English sections as well as teaching conducted in Spanish. This programme is being extended to incorporate an intercultural programme amongst other things. Even parents of non Spanish children will receive Spanish language help. The language programmes has been expanded and introduced into selected primary schools throughout Andalucia, followed by the incorporation of language programmes into secondary. The Andalucian government had a sizeable budget for these programmes which were planned to run from 2005 until 2008.

Our Andalucia Schools web pages list private international schools, also Spanish state and private schools in selected areas in each region of Andalucia. If you cannot find what you're looking for, need any more information or would like to discuss with others, please join our free members forum at where you will be made most welcome!

Private International Schools in Andalucia

Private International Schools often offer part of the Spanish curriculum in addition to a non Spanish style of education, which in the case of offering a British style of education, the curriulum on offer would usually lead to IGCSE, AS or A level. One of the Marbella schools offers a vocational qualification in Travel and Tourism in addition to traditional AS and A levels at 16+. Teaching at British schools in Andalucia would normally be conducted in English. More information about curriculum and fees available from the schools.