» Spanish Educational System: Model and Characteristics | BSS

The Spanish education system: model and characteristics

The Spanish education system, which is state-funded and compulsory between the ages of 6 and 16, is based on the principles of accessibility and every citizen’s right to education.

 

The different regions, or Autonomous Communities, are responsible for education and develop the regulations in their territory based on the national LOMLOE educational law.

What is the new LOMLOE educational model?

In December 2020, a new educational law known as the LOMLOE was approved in our country. It brought about significant changes to the curriculum, organisation, assessment and objectives of all educational stages.

 

The purpose of this law is to offer all individuals the necessary educational elements to ensure they reach their full personal, professional and social potential. To achieve this, it adjusted the existing model to improve educational opportunities, reduce student segregation and strengthen digitalisation in the classroom.

» Spanish Educational System: Model and Characteristics | BSS

What is the new LOMLOE educational model?

In December 2020, a new educational law known as the LOMLOE was approved in our country. It brought about significant changes to the curriculum, organisation, assessment and objectives of all educational stages.

 

The purpose of this law is to offer all individuals the necessary educational elements to ensure they reach their full personal, professional and social potential. To achieve this, it adjusted the existing model to improve educational opportunities, reduce student segregation and strengthen digitalisation in the classroom.

Educational levels in Spain

The Spanish education system is structured in different general levels according to the category of education and the student’s age.

Early-years education

(0-6 years)

This voluntary stage aims to prepare children for compulsory education. It promotes intellectual, physical, social and emotional development and is divided into two 3-year cycles.

With the LOMLOE, the first cycle from 0 to 3 years of age is now no longer solely based on caring for students and has become an educational stage in its own right, with curricular objectives and a specific project.

Primary education

(6-12 years)

Primary education is compulsory in Spain. In state-funded schools, it must be free of charge. Students make continual progress as they acquire basic cultural elements, as well as knowledge related to oral expression, reading and writing and maths. They gradually become more autonomous in their environment.

Following the application of the new law, religion is now voluntary but must still be offered in schools, and students’ grade in this subject will not be taken into account for scholarships or admission processes. Schools may provide non-confessional religious culture classes.

In the last two years of primary education, a new subject will be taught — “Education in Civic and Ethical Values” — which pays special attention to respect for human rights and children, the values included in the Spanish Constitution and gender equality.

In addition, a new diagnostic evaluation will also be carried out in the 4th year of primary school, which will provide information to the institution, the student and families.

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Secondary education

(12-16 years)

Around the age of 12, students begin compulsory secondary education, known as “ESO”, which lasts for four years that are no longer divided into cycles following the application of the new law. During this stage, students prepare for professional life or to continue their studies.

In general terms, this stage is now more flexible following the application of the LOMLOE as the academic pathways of the 4th year of ESO are voluntary, thereby expanding the range of options as pathways can be completed in various ways. In this sense, there are more measures to cater for students with specific educational support needs.

During secondary education, special focus is placed on educational and professional guidance for students, and following the application of the new law, this is now provided from a perspective focused on gender and the inclusion of people with functional diversity.

Baccalaureate

(16-18 years)

During the two years of the Baccalaureate, students receive the education they need to mature both intellectually and as individuals, as well as the knowledge and skills required to perform social functions and join the world of work.

In addition, following the application of the new law, great importance is given to emotional and sexual education, as well as taking care of the environment and critical and reflective thinking. To begin this stage, students must have a compulsory secondary education diploma or have completed an intermediate vocational training course.

Once students have obtained their Spanish Baccalaureate diploma, they must take a national university entrance exam (EBAU) if they wish to follow this path. Schools prepare students to perform well in this exam and private establishments generally get good results.

 

With the LOMLOE, this stage has become more flexible as students can move on to the next academic year even if they have failed a maximum of two subjects, and in exceptional cases, they can obtain their Baccalaureate diploma without passing some subjects. What’s more, this stage can be completed in three years instead of two depending on the student’s situation and personal circumstances.

 

The biggest change brought about by the new law is the introduction of the General Baccalaureate, which joins the existing types (arts, sciences and humanities and social sciences). This new baccalaureate is aimed at students who are not yet sure what type of studies they want to pursue.

This new type of Spanish Baccalaureate provides a basic all-round education that represents a journey through different areas of study and promotes critical thinking,. This encourages students to develop both personally and intellectually and therefore helps them make decisions and fulfil their responsibilities or goals.

Vocational training

This is an alternative to the Spanish Baccalaureate that trains student in a specific professional area for two years, to later take exams for advanced vocational training or university.

 

The LOMLOE has made the admission process more flexible; for example, the age restriction and the requirement of having a compulsory secondary education diploma were eliminated.

 

In addition, vocational training definitively integrates the general and professional knowledge acquired with an intermediate vocational training course. This is because one of the objectives is to guarantee that this educational level is recognised in order to bring Spain into line with other countries.

School admission models in Spain

In Spain, there are currently three education models — private, public and charter — and you can access them in different ways.

Public and charter schools

These are state-funded establishments for children aged between 3 and 18 years old that provide free and secular education. In the case of charter schools, as they are privately owned, complementary services have a cost that is similar to private schools.

 

Public schools are directly administered by the regional educational authorities. Students must be a resident in our country to be admitted to these establishments and they must provide a series of documents to prove this in order to enrol.

Private schools

They do not receive any funding from the government, so they have more freedom to develop different and innovative educational projects or the curriculum followed by students.

 

Students can enrol or join the school throughout the academic year as long as there are places available. They can decide who to admit to their institution and establish their own admission requirements and fees. They also provide individual and personalised information to families.

University in Spain: What is the admission process like?

The last level of general education is higher or university studies. They are not compulsory and are generally governed by their own regulations, but some factors are also subject to certain provisions of the LOMLOE, such as admission.

In this regard, the law modifies the different forms of admission to university degree studies, which had previously been modified to give rise to the EBAU entrance exam, but which has now returned to the pre-existing system with the PAU entrance exam.

In addition, people who have an advanced vocational training diploma or an advanced plastic arts, design or technical-sports diploma do not need to take this entrance exam.

The Spanish education system for foreign students

Spain has become one of the most popular educational destinations for students from this country or further afield, as some families move to Spain to start a new stage in their lives or want their children to have an international academic experience and opportunity.

In Spain, these students will be able to validate their studies and therefore continue their academic education in our country. Families must send a request to the Spanish Ministry of Education and Vocational Training for this purpose.

The Best Schools in Spain welcome foreign students every year as they are the best prepared in the country to provide them with educational programmes adapted to their individual needs, offer support to help them progress in their education or improve their language level.

In addition, our teams advise families at any time of the year to make the whole process easier and allow children to begin their studies in these prestigious schools.

» Spanish Educational System: Model and Characteristics | BSS

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