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Here in Spain we are in our final month of the very long school summer holidays, which begin around the 20th of June and end around the 10th of September and preparations for the new school term are beginning, so we thought it would be a good time to look at the education options for international families living on the Costa del Sol.
The first one is the Spanish state system, which is a free and a great idea for young children to allow them to become bilingual and really embrace the culture of their adopted countries. People often worry that the children won’t be able to cope with the change or the language, but our experience is that children under the age of 6 are super-flexible and take everything in their stride, between 6 and 8 more is required of them at school so they may need some extra help, but can still do it with support. Older than that it is tricky f them, but not impossible if you are all committed.
Please note that the normal admissions period for the September start is between the 1st and the 31st of March each year, so if you wish your kids to start next September you need to get prepared early! Here’s the Junta de Andalucia Education website with all the information you need. If you need your child to start mid school year, it is possible, but it depends on available places, so you’ll have to go and visit your local schools and find out the options.
When you’re making a decision, what we would suggest is that you consider yourself as a parent and how you would cope with the education system in a foreign language first, as this tends to be more of an issue than the kids. You need to have a pretty good level of Spanish, or be committed to developing the language fast in order to be able to handle it. If you can manage it, your kids will be able to, and for both parents and kids, it’s a brilliant way to integrate yourself into the community.
If your Spanish isn’t at a high enough level, you have older children, or your move to Spain may be temporary then the international school system would be better for you and there are loads of really great options here. There are over 20 international schools here which follow different curriculums including UK, German, Swedish and the International Baccalaureate. There are also a number of bi-lingual schools, which can be an excellent option if you want to make sure your child develops Spanish.
Here’s a list of some of the best known International Schools on the Costa del Sol and we’re lucky in that here the costs of private education are a lot lower than in the UK or elsewhere, so it can be an affordable option. As there are so many options, we’d suggest touring the schools closest to you, arranging meetings with the head and then putting your child in for a trial day with your favourites. This will give the whole family the most information possible and allow you to make the right decision for you. These schools are very flexible with when you start at the school and the applications process is shorter and less complicated than the state system and of course you are doing it in your native language, so it’s a lot easier. However, now that the economy is improving, the international schools have all seen a big increase in admissions, so there may not be spaces in all, so be prepared.
The Costa del Sol is a wonderful place for bringing up a family, with a wonderful lifestyle, great access to sports and outdoor activities, the chance to learn a new language and grow up in a place where they love kids. If you want to try out the lifestyle for a year and see how the family settles in, then renting long term on the Costa del Sol and trying an International School for an academic year is a great option.
We are here to help you find the perfect long term rental property and support you with our local knowledge. Browse our website for information on living in Spain as well as information about renting long term and of course an excellent selection of long term rental properties on the Costa del Sol, or contact us for any advice or information you need to make the move.