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Registering your child for Spanish state school

primaryAlthough it can seem early in the year to think about schools, the best month to register for a place at a Spanish state school is March.

Children can enter into school in the same year if they are three before the end of the year and the recommendation is to put children in at this stage if you want them to go into the state system, as after this age places are fewer and further between and so getting into the school of your choice could be difficult.

No matter what stage of education you’re at, March is the time to enter for the next academic year and there are descriptions, help and advice on the Junta de Andalucia Website.

You can search online for the schools in your area, or visit your local education office to ask your questions in person. Once you know the schools in your catchment area, ask around, post on forums and generally ask for advice on the best schools available as there don’t seem to be league tables where you can rate the school easily.

Once you know which school you want to apply to, fill in the application form which can be found online (different forms depending on the age of entry) and present it before 31st March at the chosen school to register for your place.

You need a “certificado de empadronamiento” from the town hall to prove where you live and documents which show your earnings and the hours you work such as your self-employment certificate or employment contract. You will also need copies of your identity documents such as your NIE certificates, Libro de familia and passports. It is recommended to go into your nearest centre for education to make sure you fully understand all the paperwork you need as it can get a bit complicated, especially if you don’t speak the language so well.

You apply for extras such as lunch and after school activity during the registration process when you have been allocated a school. This is at the beginning of June.

If this all seems a little daunting, there are professionals who can act as translator and advisor and guide you through the process and help avoid misunderstandings.

Alternatively there are many International schools on the Costa del Sol which are private and so have easier and more flexible entry requirements and all speak English and therefore make the process easier for you. There are schools teaching the English curriculum and also the International Baccalaureate which can be a good option if you’re not sure where you will be going next as it’s an easily transportable qualification for maximum flexibility.

For more information on relocating and renting long term on the Costa del Sol please visit our website.

International Schools on the Costa del Sol

We’re blessed with a large range of options for schooling here on the Costa del Sol, and due to the highly international population there are schools to suit all kids. Most of the International schools will either follow the English curriculum or the International Baccalaureate as it’s a more portable qualification. Many teach in English, but offer a lot of time for Spanish and factor it into the curriculum in the younger years so the kids get a good base in the language.

There’s a great list of the International schools in Andalucia on website Mum Abroad. Check out what you feel would suit your family best, many people choose the school first and then where to live to make it more straightforward, but if you’re renting long term on the Costa del Sol, you have the flexibility to move over to a preferred location, get a feel for the area, find the right school and then either decide to move closer to the school or look at transport options.

Sotogrande International School receives excellent comments for their IB education from primary to diploma, child-centred focus and outstanding sports and arts programmes. They also have transport options from Marbella and also from Gibraltar. Aloha, English International College and Laude also have good reputations, all the information and website addresses are on the Mum Abroad post.

If you want to ask questions for your specific circumstances or if your child has any individual difficulties, post a question on Marbella Family Fun or check out their list of popular schools in the area  this is an excellent resource for families moving to the Costa del Sol.

New British School Opens in Marbella

If you are moving with kids to the Costa del Sol, there are a whole host of Spanish and International schools to suit your needs.

The new kid on the block is The British School of Marbella which is opening in September for the new accademic year. It will start by taking children from 2-7 years old and will expand each year to take a larger age range. Visit their website for more information

This is the latest addition to the popular international schools in the area including:

Swans Primary & Secondary Schools, Marbella 

Mayfair Academy, San Pedro

European Sixth Form College, Calahonda

English International College at Elviria

St Anthonys College in Mijas Costa

Aloha College

If you’d like to find out more about the areas of the Costa del Sol, we have produced guides to the most popular Costa del Sol Rental Locations which can be seen on our website. If you’d just like to talk to us about what area would be best for you in terms of schooling and amenities, we’d be happy to help. Please email or call (+34) 952 83 95 95.