International schools in Spain

education spainChoosing an International school to learn Spanish courses in Spain might be a sensible option if you are planning on moving to Spain.

Private foreign and international schools may have smaller classes and a more relaxed, less rigid regime and curriculum than Spanish state schools.

They provide a more varied and international approach to sport, culture and art and a wider choice of academic subjects. Approximately one third of the children in Spain are educated in private schools.

Placing a child in a Spanish speaking school at or above the age of 7-8 can affect a child's confidence if he is unable to understand the teacher or communicate with his peers.

In most foreign schools, Spanish language and culture are taught daily and your child will build language skills gradually. Once your child has a grasp of the language, assimilation into a state school will be far easier. In addition to American and British schools there are also French, German, Swedish and other foreign-language schools in Spain. Under Spanish law, all foreign schools must be approved by their country's embassy in Spain. Always prepare before you make a choice.

Many also provide English-language summer school programmes combining academic lessons with sports, arts and crafts, and other extra-curricular activities.


The focus in these schools is on the development of a child as an individual and the encouragement of his unique talents. This is made possible by small classes, which allow teachers to provide pupils with individually-tailored lessons and tuition. The results are self-evident and many private secondary schools have a near 100 per cent university placement rate.

On the other hand, one of the major problems of private foreign-language education in Spain is that children can grow up in cultural 'ghettos' and be 'illiterate' as far as the Spanish language and culture are concerned. Although attending a private school may be advantageous from an academic viewpoint, integration into Spanish society can be severely restricted.

Applications to private schools should me made as far in advance as possible, as some international schools have waiting lists for places. You may be asked to provide school reports, exam results and other records.

Most are co-educational, Catholic day schools, although a number (including some American and British schools) take weekly or term boarders.

Private schools in Spain teach a variety of syllabi, including the British GCSE and A-level examinations, the American High School Diploma and college entrance examinations (e.g. ACT, SAT, achievement tests and AP exams), the International Baccalaureate (IB) and the Spanish bachillerato.

Most Spanish private schools teach wholly in Spanish, are state-subsidised and follow the Spanish state-school curriculum. To receive state subsidies and accept Spanish pupils, 25 percent of a school's total number of pupils must be Spanish and at least 20 percent in each class. As a condition of receiving government funding, schools with Spanish pupils are subject to inspection by the Spanish school authorities

Information about Spain

Size: 506,000MM square meters (Spain is the second largest country in Europe after France).

Population size: 47 million.

Density: 80 inhabitants per square meter.

Mean Altitude: 600 m.

Highest Point: Pico de Teide (Tenerife), 3,719 m.

Tourism: Over 45 million tourists visit Spain each year (Spain is the second most visited country in the world).

Political Structure: Parliamentary monarchy (since 1978).

Regions: Spain is made up of 17 autonomous regions.

Time zone: +1 GMT.

Currency: Euros ( before 2002, pesetas).

Language: Spanish (Catalan, Valencian, Gallego, Euskera are independent languages spoken in Catalonia, Valencia, Galicia and The Basque Country).

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