Here you will find useful tips and information about education in Spain. You will find information from the time span from primary school until university and how to enroll you children to these schools.

In case you want to buy a property in Barcelona and emigrate with your family to Spain, it is useful to know how the education system works. Possibly you have one or more children that will deal with this for a short or long period. Education is mandatory in Spain for children at the age of 6 until 16.

Years and age groups in Spain

 Educación infantil (comparable with nursery school and a playgroup)

  •  Age group: 0-3 years
  • Age group: 3-6 years

 Educación Infantil consists out of 2 parts, the first part is from 0-3 years that you can compare with a nursery school and the second part is from 3-6 and can be compared with a playgroup. In most of the bigger cities you can find several schools.


Primaria (comparable with primary school)

 Primaria consists out of 3 cycles that each last for 2 years:

  •  First cycle, age group: 6-8 years
  • Second cycle, age group: 8-10 years
  • Third cycle, age group: 10-12 years


If you have young children it is recommendable to search for a home not too far away from the primary school (collegio). This because not every village has one.


Educación Secundaria Obligatoria (ESO) (comparable with college)

 The secundaria is build up out of 2 parts that both last 2 years:

  •  First cycle, age group: 12-14 years
  • Second cycle, age group: 14-16 years


Possibilities after graduating: going to ciclos formatives de grado medio (comparable with vocational school), Bachillerato (continuation secundaria) or immediately going to work.


Bachillerato (continuation of secundaria)

  •  Age group: 16-18 years

 Possibilities after graduating: work, university of applied sciences or university.

 At the old system of the bachillerato people could choose out of 4 directions: art, natural sciences & medicine, language & social sciences and science & technique.


With the new system, introduced in 2008/2009 people can choose:


  •  Art (shaping art, image and design of dramatic art, music and dance)
  • Language & Social sciences
  •  Science & Technique


Formación professional (comparable with vocational education)

 Entrance: Provided that the secundaria is finished, you’ll have to take an exam.

 Possibilities after graduating: entry to the Bachillerato or working.


 Enseñanzas de regimen especial (education with a special regime)

 Some educations have their own special regime and are in that way difficult to compare with certain established standards. At these educations you can graduate in different levels, it’s even possible to get your PhD.


Universidad (University)

 The university is also seperated in different parts.

 First part: After ending the first term titles like: certified master/maestro, technical architect or technical engineer can be achieved. With these titles you get access to the second term.


 First and second term: to become master of science, architect or engineer you have to pass the first term to go on with the second. After the first term you don’t have an official title, that can only be achieved after finishing the second term.


Second term: If you want to be allowed to the second term you need to be in the possession of a certificate of the first term or be in the possession of the title of certified, technical architect, technical engineer or master/maestro. If term 2 is completed you will get the title of PhD, architect or engineer.


Third term: If you have the title of PhD or engineer you can get your doctors degree in the third term.


Own titles: You also have the possibility to get your master at an university. The universities have their own standards system but the basic principals are the same everywhere.


Enrolling your child in school in Spain (h2)

 You need a few documents to enroll you kids into a state school:


  • Copy of passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Copy of education reports
  • Proof of residence
  • Vaccination certificate


 The normal period for enrollment is in May for the next September and is normally done at the local town hall (or sometimes by direct contact with school). Enrollment to Spanish schools requires an interview and in rare cases an exam. Newcomers to Spain have to officially confirm the education reports of their children with the help of a process that’s known under the name homogolacin or validation.



The state education is free but the private schools have to be paid. The costs vary between different schools and are among others dependent of the facilities and extra services like for example a school bus which takes the children to school.



 First compare a few schools with each other before you permanently choose one. Also with choosing a nursery school or playgroup it is smart to compare different schools. Important factors to compare are: education hours, location, people, teachers and other children.

© 2019 HomeSearch Barcelona. All Rights Reserved.