Learn how to register your children in a school in Spain

First, the enrollment period will depend on the school, although it is usually during the month of March. However, registration dates vary according to where you live and the school, but registration usually takes place for two months between February and May of the year you want your child to start the course (from September).

Expatriate parents should allow time to register their child in a Spanish public school, as the process can usually be large. Your local city council (ayuntamiento) in the area you will in can give you their formalities as the process and paperwork vary from area to area. It is recommended to ask if any foreign documents need to be sworn translated.

You will need to be registered on the padrón (local census) at your local city hall before you can register your child at a public school. Once registered you can go to the education department of the city hall to get a school registration form and medical certificate for your pupil.

Probably you need to provide:

  • your own passport
  • your child’s birth certificate or passport
  • proof of residence in Spain.
  • your NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero)
  • an up-to-date immunisation/medical certificate

You may also need to provide to take along two passport-sized pictures and any school results from a previous school. If your child will be starting the third year of secondary school, you may also need to get your child’s school records verified by the MECD in a process called convalidación (validation) or homologación (standarization, the official record of your child’s education).

The validation (convalidación) process requires you to provide the appropriate forms from the Department of Education (MECD) along with your child’s school record documents and/or examination qualifications, plus his/her birth certificate. A child will not be accepted until the official papers have been received and stamped by the Spanish Department of Education. The process may take between 3-6 months, although a document from the Education Ministry for the convalidacion documents for your child can be acceptable to start at the school.

What about Private schools in Spain?

Some private schools are stablished by the state (charter schools or colegio concertados) and fees are cheaper, and others are fully private or independent (private schools or colegios privados). Private schools usually have smaller classrooms, havemore choices of academic subjects, have better services and offer more extra-curricular activities than public schools. Most private schools are open from Monday-Friday, they may be day school or take boarders, and they will establish their own term dates regardless of the public Spanish education system. Most private schools in Spain are state subsidised (colegio concertados) and so follow the Spanish criter, and presents the same terms and regulations as state schools. They usually teach in Spanish, but currently you the most of them are bilingual schools.

Admission and registration procedures for Spanish private schools

If you want to send your pupil to a colegio concertado, you must apply though registering on the padrón and education department of the ayuntamiento  following the same process as for a public school (as described above).