In Spain, children attend a state school (primary or secondary) within a certain distance of their own home. Lists of locals school and their catchment areas can be obtained from town halls and provincial Ministry of Education offices. Those living in some rural areas may have little or no choice of schools, while those living in bigger cities such as Madrid may have a number of possibilities.
On arrival in a region, a family should register on the town hall list, the Padrón Municipal de Habitantes, then visit the Education Department at the Ayuntamiento. A school registration form and a medical certificate form (to be completed by a doctor) are issued. The medical report must include a child's full medical history and confirm that the vaccinations are all up to date.
The school registration form should be completed and include the NIE as well as other identifying information of the student's parent or guardian. This form also allows a parent to select if they want the child to be taught in Spanish or the local dialect, and whether the child should be taught religion or ethics. In state schools, Catholicism is taught, however some schools allow for other religions (Judaism, Islam) to be taught in the ethics classes.
The Education Department at the Ayuntamiento determines which school and class a child will attend and should notify the parents.
Applications to private schools and international schools should be made as far in advance as possible as many schools have waiting lists.
To enrol at a private international school, contact the school directly. Procedures for enrolment at a state school vary from one autonomous region to another. Enrolment usually takes place between February and April, but it is suggested to contact the school directly to confirm enrolment dates as they can vary from region to region.
To enrol a child in a school the following documents are usually required:
Children enroling in the second cycle of secondary school or higher must provide proof that the child's education record has been verified by the Spanish Ministry of Education. The process is known as homologación or convalidación. An official form is provided by the Ministry of Education, and is also available from most Consulates and Embassies. The completed form, the child's school record book and/or exam qualifications and birth certificate must be sent to the following address for verification:
Note: All documents not originally in Spanish must be translated into Spanish.
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