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Differences between Public, Concertado and Private Schools in Spain

Differences between Public, Concertado and Private Schools in Spain

The 3 types of school in Spain:

In Spain three different educational models currently coexist according to the type of center and its cost. These are public schools (managed by the State), schools with public subsidies, and private schools.

Public schools

These are public & lay centers directly funded and managed by the central government and local administrations. When you enrol your children in a school in Spain, you must take into account they will need to fulfill some requirements that generally have to do with issues such as geographical proximity or proximity to work.

Public schools are free, although depending on the method of study, the school may request contributions to pay for the materials that children use. In addition, most of the centers have extracurricular activities organized by the parents’ associations to extend the hours in which the children are in school for one to two hours. And it has a cost.

If you decide for a public school you should know that your child should get a place in the school, but it does not mean that school will be the first you chose from the list.

The biggest drawback is that schooling is divided into formative stages, so your children will start learning in a school and then they could have to move to a different school that provides high-school levels.

Semi-Private Schools (concertados)

These are private study centers that receive subsidies by the Spanish Government. That is why they are called “concertados”, which means they get some help from the Central Administration. Even when they are subject to certain conditions established by the Government, such as the limit of students, dates, admissions, etc., they have a high freedom of management.

Funding is combined between scholarships and family contributions. In other words, these schools are not free, but are partially financed. Among the characteristics of most semi-private schools is the uniform. In theory, parents only have to pay for the dining room and the school bus, but actually they are responsible for including additional costs such as nursing, conciliation or counseling.

Religion is also present in most of these schools and is, in fact, one of the pillars of this funded education. Since the public are lay schools, there is a need to offer an alternative at a limited cost for those who want a religious education for their children.

Private schools

As its name suggests, these are private schools of education. Within the limits established by law, they have complete freedom of management. Registration limits and  access are established by the private company that manages the center. Their funds depend exclusively on the contributions of the students’ families.

In this sense, one can not speak of homogeneity in private centers. Each school has its own rules, prices and processes. In this category we can find elite schools such as La Miranda in Barcelona, where  Piqué and Shakira and other celebrities have their children registered. But it does not have to be so “exclusive” school.

According to OECD data, 32% of Spanish students study in private schools, basically the double the average of the rest of countries.

About Zofia Piwecka

Mrs. Zofia is a mother of 3 children attending a school in Spain. She has been living in different parts of Spain for several years, so she got to know different schools around Spain. Our expat Zofia is the direct contact for schools and educational centers around Spain.

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