An important decision that faces everyone with children who are hoping to move to the Costa del Sol to live is where to send their children to school. Many go for the option of sending their children to a Spanish run state school which offer a good level of education. However, some opt to send them to one of the many International schools along the coast. Continue reading below and hopefully we can answer any questions you may have.
Private vs. State
This is something you will need to decide on quite early when making your plans to move. The state school system in Spain is actually very good. There is a points system here (factors such as where you live, whether siblings are already attending the school and your earnings can decide whether your child can attend a certain school) so you may find that even if you purchase a property right next door to the entrance of the school you may not be offered a place, though it is unlikely. Also bear in mind that Spanish school years run from January to December (so if your child was born at the end of December they will be amongst the youngest in the year), ordinarily this may not become a problem but remember that your child will not only be studying the same curriculum that every other child does but they will also be learning a new language and culture and some may struggle with this extra workload.
It is worth considering both a state school and also a private school in case you are turned down for a position at the State school. Spanish state education is open to all EU citizens and is free from pre-school to 18 although you will be expected to pay for books, stationery and other extra-curricular activities. Most towns have their own nursery and primary schools, but secondary schools have quite a large catchment area, and the catchment area is very important. If there is a particular school you would like your child to attend, make sure you look for a home in the right area. Around 30% of Spain’s school children go to a private school.
If you are coming to Spain and want to continue with your children’s education following the English Curriculum then you won't have a problem at all getting them into an International/British School, although you have to be happy paying. There are some parents who end up moving their children from private school into a state school, in some cases it's because they could no longer afford the fees and some genuinely were not happy with the Level of Spanish being taught. Lots of schools say they are bilingual but really, because there are not enough hours in the day, this is simply not possible. But Spanish is taught and there are many Spanish Children at these schools too. There are also Spanish assistants all day long in most classes for 3 & 4 year olds but this normally stops when children reach 5 or 6. Then Spanish tends to be taught just 3 times a week. Some children will follow both curriculums taught but at around year 3 the class will be split (i.e Spanish subjects for the Spanish and Spanish as a language for the English and other nationality students. If your child has learnt a lot of Spanish by this time then you could ask to place them in the group learning Spanish for Spanish.
State schools - Finding a place for your child in a state run Spanish school is normally a straightforward affair for an EU citizen. You will need to provide some identification, namely the child’s passport, birth certificate and a proof of address. Places are allocated according to catchment areas, so it is worth finding out about which schools are in an area before purchasing a property. Chestertons affinity will be more than happy to help you with this information. Some of the more popular schools have a waiting list but the local authorities actually have a responsibility to find an alternative school if necessary. In areas with large expatriate communities, many Spanish schools provide special language coaching for new foreign children for the first few weeks of attendance.
For most Spanish children, school starts with nursery or pre-school (ages of three to five.) Compulsory education begins at six years of age in a primary school and lasts for six years in total. At the age of 12, pupils move on to secondary education for the next four years. When they are 16, and if they have completed the full four years, students may attend a higher level secondary school. At 16yrs old students may attend a vocational school that provides specialised training for a specific career. Spain has around 73 universities run by both private enterprises or by the Catholic Church. If your child is of pre-school age they will learn Spanish very quickly and will soon become bilingual. Should you have a child aged 7 or above we suggest learning Spanish before attending a totally Spanish speaking school. One solution is to find a good Spanish tutor before you make the move to Spain. Between six months and one year of weekly tuition should give your child a good grounding to enter a state school, where their Spanish will then improve dramatically. A second option is to enroll your child in an international school for the first couple of years and then move them into the state system when their Spanish is of a sufficient standard. As parents it is important that you know enough of the language to communicate with teachers so that you are able to track your child’s progress. As an alternative way of learning, Rosetta Stone offers a great software package which we have found very useful at Chestertons affinity. Have a look at their website: www.rosettastone.com.
Private Schools - Around one third of the children in Spain are educated in private schools. Most are co-educational, Catholic day schools, though a number (including some American and British schools) take weekly or term boarders. Private schools in Spain teach a variety of syllabuses including the British GCSE and A-level examinations, the American High School Diploma and college entrance examinations, the International Baccalaureate (IB) and the Spanish Bachillerato. Most Spanish private schools teach wholly in Spanish, are state subsidised and follow the Spanish state-school curriculum. To receive state subsidies and accept Spanish pupils, 25 percent of a school’s total number of pupils must be Spanish and at least 20% must be Spanish in each class. As a condition of receiving government funding, schools with Spanish pupils are subject to inspection by the Spanish school authorities. Private school fees in Spain vary considerably depending on the quality, reputation and location of a school. Fees are relatively low compared to the cost of private education in other European countries and North America. Schools located in Madrid and Barcelona are among the most expensive. Fees at subsidised Spanish schools start at around €700 a year, whereas fees at independent foreign schools start at around €4,000 a year to well over €8,000 a year at senior schools (particularly for boarders). Fees rarely include registration, books, materials, laundry, insurance, extra-curricular activities, excursions, meals and transport (most private schools provide school buses) but this is still considerably less than the average cost in the UK of around £12,000 per annum. You should allow around €800 a term for meals and other extras. Most private schools subscribe to insurance schemes covering accidents, both in school and during school-sponsored activities. Some schools award scholarships and offer grants to help parents pay fees, depending on their financial circumstances.
At present, the top performing Spanish private School is Colegio San Jose, located in both Guadalmina (Marbella) and Estepona. This School has managed to secure a position in Spains top 100 Schools for 17 consecutive years, and is ranked at number 36 for the year 2016/17 (San Jose is also ranked number 1 in the entire province of Malaga). A truly unique School with a history dating back to 1823. Click here for official ranking statistics.
International Schools - Choosing an International school might be a sensible option if your child is aged seven or above. Placing a child in a Spanish speaking school at or above this age can affect a child’s confidence if they are unable to understand the teacher or communicate with other students. In most foreign schools, Spanish language and culture are taught daily and your child will build language skills gradually. Once your child has a grasp of the language integration into a state school will be far easier. In addition to American and British schools there are also French, German, Swedish and other foreign-language schools in Spain. Private foreign and international schools may have smaller classes and a more relaxed, less rigid regime and curriculum than Spanish state schools. They provide a more varied and international approach to sport, culture, art, and with sports, arts and crafts, and other extra-curricular activities.
The smaller class sizes allow teachers to provide pupils with individually tailored lessons and tuition. The results are self-evident and many private secondary schools have a near 100 per cent university placement rate. Applications to private schools should be made as far in advance as possible as some international schools have waiting lists for places. You may be asked to provide previous school reports, exam results and other records when applying for a place for your child.
There are more schools available and the following list will change as and when new schools open. We aim to be as accurate as possible but as with anything please do your own research! If you would like more information please contact the Chestertons affinity team. We will be more than happy to help and advise you find the right school.
Spanish state/private/interntaional Schools:
Escuela Rural De Colonia Del Angel - Avda. El Angel 29660 Nueva Andalucia. Telephone (+34) 952 811 931.
Colegio la Latina - Urb. El Mirador, 70 29600 Marbella. Telephone (+34) 952 770 352.
Colegio Los Molineros SA - Urb. Ricmar, Km.189,5 29600 Marbella. Telephone (+34) 952 839 645. Email: email@example.com.
Hijas de Maria Auxiliadora - San Bernabe, 7 29600 Marbella. Telephone (+34) 952 771 396.
Grupo Monseñor Rodrigo Bocanegra - Trinidad, 8 29600 Marbella. Telephone (+34) 952 770 077.
The International Primary College of Marbella - Urb. Cascada De Camojan 29600 Marbella. Telephone (+34) 952 776 431.
Colegio San Jose Marbella - Urb. Guadalmina Baja 29670 San Pedro De Alcantara. Telephone (+34) 952 883 858 **RANKED AT NUMBER 36 OF TOP PERFORMING SCHOOLS IN SPAIN FOR 2016/17**
Saint George's School - Avda. Pablo Ruiz Picasso, 10 29670 San Pedro De Alcantara. Telephone (+34) 952 786 606.
Mayfair International Academy - Apartado De Correos 469 29670 San Pedro De Alcantara. Telephone (+34) 952 787 770. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hijas de Maria Auxiliadora - Cantera 29670 San Pedro De Alcantara Telephone (+34) 952 822 586.
Colegio Aleman - Urb. Coto Los Dolores, S/N. Elviria 29600 Marbella. Telephone (+34) 952 831 417. Email: email@example.com.
Colegio Ecos Proemasa SA - Elviria 29600 Marbella. Telephone (+34) 952 831 027.
Residencia Hispano Alemana SA - Elviria 29600 Marbella. Telephone (+34) 952 831 417.
Colegio Las Chapas Proemasa SA - Urb. Las Chapas 29600 Marbella. Telephone (+34) 952 831 616. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Colgio Salliver Avda. De Finlandia 4 296 40 Fuengirola, Malaga. Telephone (+34) 952 474 194. email@example.com. Website www.colegiosalliver.com.
Nursery Schools (some are Bilingual):
St. Javier’s International School, Ctra de Cadiz km 176, Urb. Villa Parra, 39 B, Marbella, Malaga 29601. Telephone (+34) 952 823 457. Website www.marbellanurseries.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Bilingual education for 1 to 7 year olds. Also offers after school classes and a night time babysitting service.
Red Tiempo Libre, Gal. Terrazea de Marbella, L2, C/Calvario, Marbella. Telephone (+34) 952 900 218. Offers children in small groups full or part time recreation activities. Also offers a summer school.
Guarderia Garabatos Nursery, Urb. Valdolletas. Paseo de las Magnolias, 14B 29600 Marbella (Málaga). Telephone (+34) 952 90 07 64 or 652 47 82 72. Website www.guarderiagarabatos.com. This is Spanish nursery, but they do have some English teachers coming in once the children are around 2 years old to play etc in English. They also have German speaking teachers for the children that attend the German school in Elviria.
Peter Pan Nursery, C/Los Naranjos s/n, Urb. Linda Vista, San Pedro de Alcántara, 29670 Marbella. Telephone (+34) 952 782 051. www.gpeterpan.com. Bilingual education for 0 to 3 year olds. Also offers after school activities club, excursions and baby-sitting service.
Barnaby Bear Play School, Bilingual Pre School Language Academy, Urb Benamara, Beachside Benavista, Cntra N340 - KM167, Estepona 29680, Malaga. Telephone (+34) 952 884 735. Website www.childrensplacekindergarten.com. Bilingual education for 1 – 5 year olds.
Arroyo de la Miel
Bambi Logo’s Nursery, Avda la Paloma, Arroyo de la Miel. Telephone (+34) 952 440 909. This is a very modern nursery with up to date security, fully qualified and trained staff. Fully licensed with very large well equipped outdoor play area.
Peter Pan Nursery C/ El Olivar 5, Arroyo de la Miel, 29631 Benalmádena, Malaga. Telephone (+34) 952 562 103. Website www.gpeterpan.com. Bilingual education for 0 to 3 year olds. Very well equipped nursery located within a large villa with gardens for children to play in. Also offers after school activities club, excursions and baby-sitting service.
Costa Kinder Care (Next to the Buddhist Stupa), Benalmádena Pueblo. Telephone (+34) 952 448 007. Website www.costakindercare.com. Bilingual education for 0 to 6 year olds. Also offered here are after school activities and a useful homework club. Also offers language classes for adults.
Swan’s International Primary School Urb. El Capricho, Marbella. Telephone (+34) 952 773 248. Website www.swansschool.net. Education for 3 to 18 year olds. See secondary schools for more details.
San Pedro de Alcantara (Marbella)
Calpe Jardín School, C/Los Eucaliptos 60, Urb. Linda Vista Baja, San Pedro de Alcántara. Telephone (+34) 952 786 029. Education for 3 to 9 year olds.
Saint George’s School, Avda. Pablo Ruíz Picasso 10, San Pedro de Alcántara. Telephone (+34) 952 786 606. Education for 2 to 8 year olds.
The International School Estepona, Centro Commercial La Zarza Camino de Cortes, Urbanisation El Paraíso, Estepona. Telephone (+34) 952 884 789. Website www.marbellaschool.com. Bilingual education for 2 to 12 year olds.
Primary and Secondary Schools (some are combined):
Elviria English International College Urb. Ricmar, crtr. De Cadiz – Malaga km 189.5(A7), 29604 Marbella, Malaga. Telephone (+34) 952 831 058. Website www.eic.edu. Email: email@example.com. Education for 3 to 18 year olds. Bus service available from Fuengirola and Marbella. This school offers the English National Curriculum in an international context to more than 400 boys and girls of many nationalities aged 3 to 18 years. Although the predominant language is English, being the first language of 80% of their students, the remaining 20% are from various countries providing a most valuable diversity of cultures and nationalities.
Swans International School, Urb. El Capricho, s/n Marbella, 29602, Malaga. Tel. (34) 952 773 248. Website www.swansschoolinternational.es. Education for 3 to 18 year olds. Founded almost 40 years ago in Marbella, Swans is one of the longest-established international schools in Southern Spain. The school has an unashamedly international outlook with more than 600 students on the roll, representing some 30 different nationalities. The School is accredited by both NABSS (the National Association of British Schools in Spain) and the Spanish Ministry of Education; as such, it is able to offer both an international curriculum as well as the statutory Spanish Primary and Secondary curriculum.
Marbella (Nueva Andalucia)
Aloha College Urb. El Angel, Nueva Andalucía, Marbella, Malaga 29660. Telephone (+34) 952 814 133. Website www.aloha-college.com. Education for 3 to 18 year olds. Bus service available from Fuengirola and Puerto Banús. Aloha College is an independent co-educational day school for pupils aged 3 to 18. It is situated on the outskirts of Marbella overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Aloha seeks to provide a safe, stimulating and happy environment in which all of the pupils can thrive. The college was founded in 1982 as a non-profit-making limited company owned by parent shareholders and it provides an international education for pupils of some 38 nationalities.
San Pedro de Alcántara
Calpe College, Ctra de Cádiz, Km 171, Apartado 2000, 29670 San Pedro Alcántara, Málaga Tel: (+34) 952 781479 ; Fax: (+34) 952 789416 Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Website www.calpecollegeschool.com. Calpe College was established in January 1973 as a one classroom school. Since then it has expanded into a junior and a senior school which cover two separate sites in San Pedro making it one of the longest established schools on the Costa del Sol. Languages such as French, Swedish, German and Russian can also be studied to examination level either as options or extra curricular activities.
Laude San Pedro International College (previously King's College) C/. G, Urb. Nueva Alcántara. Telephone (+34) 952 799 900. Website www.laudesanpedro.com. Education for 2 to 18 year olds+. Laude San Pedro offers an enhanced English National Curriculum with a strong focus on developing fluency in Spanish as a Second Language. It also offers for Spanish students a condensed Spanish curriculum. The School’s programme of study is authorised in Spain and in England.
Bede’s Grammar School C/. Esparragal 69, Urb. Bel Air, Estepona. Telephone (+34) 952 880 867. Website www.bedes-spain.org. Education for 2 to 12 year olds. Bede's guiding philosophy is to offer students an education of quality based on the principles of individual freedom, decency and kindness. It values creative thinking and stimulates students to express their own ideas and personal values in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Bede's offers a comprehensive bilingual education and follows the British National and Spanish Academic Curricula.
Mayfair Academy C.C. Costa Sol 31, Urb. Bel Air, Estepona. Malaga 29680. Telephone (+34) 952 784 923. Website www.mayfairacademy.com. Education for 5 – 18 year olds. Mayfair Academy is a Private International Primary and Secondary School located in the town of Estepona, 5 minutes from San Pedro (located in the Centro Commercial Costasol). The school provides a first class education for students between the ages of 5 and 18 studying for IGCSE and A levels. Mayfair also has an alternative Sports, Skills, Study and Career Technology Curriculum which is unique to the Costa del Sol.
Sotogrande International School Cortijo Paniagua, Apdo. 15, Urb. Sotogrande, Provincia de Cadiz. Telephone (+34) 956 795 902. Website www.sis.ac. Education for 3 to 18 year olds. Bus service available from Nueva Andalucía and boarding facilities are available for students aged 10 years and above. This School was established in 1978 offering day and boarding education from 3 to 18 years of age and is co validated by the UK and Spanish authorities. It is situated in the centre of the residential and leisure complex of Sotogrande.
St Anthony’s College Camino de Coín, Km. 5.25, Mijas Costa. Telephone (+34) 952 473 166. Website www.stanthonyscollege.com. Education for 5 – 16 year olds. Bus service available from Torreblanca and Fuengirola. St. Anthony’s College was established in 1968 and is an officially recognised bilingual school offering an English curriculum from the age of 3 to GCSE and GCE Advanced Level (age 18+) together with Spanish EGB, BUP and COU. The college is situated on the Camino de Coin (known as the "Mijas Golf Road").
Benalmádena International College C/Catamarán s/n, Urb. Nueva Torrequebrada, Benalmádena Costa. Telephone (+34) 952 561 666. Website www.bicbenal.com. Education for 3 to 14 year olds. In addition to the usual curriculum, BIC also offers vocational studies for less-academic students. This is a Co-Educational British School which was founded in 1997 and was formally known as the English Education College. This school is situated in Nueva Torrequebrada, just off the N-340 coast road, between Benalmadena and Fuengirola..
The British College C/. Guadalmedina, Urb. Torremuelle, Benalmádena Costa. Telephone (+34) 952 442 215. Website www.thebritishcollege.com. Email email@example.com. Education for pre nursery to 18 year olds. A bus service is available from Churriana and Riviera del Sol. The British College in Benalmadena is situated between Torremolinos and Fuengirola in a peaceful urbanisation called Torremuelle right on the wonderful Benalmadena coast facing the sea, set in the foothills of the Benalmadena mountains. As well as a full range of modern classrooms equipped with hot and cold air conditioning and CCTV, there are science laboratories, a library, a fully-networked computer resource centre with Internet access, and a concert and drama hall for more than 200 people. In addition, The British College classrooms have large interactive whiteboards and the whole school is equipped with a wireless network system which, through the Software Activity Primary and Activity Studio 2, through programmes of integral control, providing all the classrooms with connections through PDA's and wi-fi, creates in the school a 100% interactive campus.
Cartama / Pizarra
Sunland International School, Ctra. Cártama - Pizarra, Nueva Aljaima, Cártama Estación. Telephone (+34) 902 502 250. Website www.sunland-int.com. Bilingual education for 3 to year 18 year olds. Bus service available from Torremolinos, Alhaurín El Grande and Málaga East. Sunland has recently expanded with the introduction of Years 12 and 13 and offers AS and A Level examinations with the Cambridge examination board. This is a co-educational day school, which is bilingual in English and Spanish. It offers an international curriculum and the school is currently seeking authorization to offer the Primary Years and Middle Years programmes of the International Baccalaureate Organisation, along with the IB Diploma. The Primary School incorporates the content and methodology of the English National Curriculum, including the literacy and Numeracy Strategies.
Sunnyview C/Teruel 32, Urb. Cerro del Toril, Torremolinos. Telephone (+34) 952 383 164. Website www.nabss.org/sunny.htm. Education for 3 to 18 year olds. Bus service available from Torremolinos and Fuengirola. Sunny View School was established in 1971 and is now an international co-educational day school which is fully authorised by the Spanish Ministry of Education and offers a complete British primary and secondary education.
St. George’s International School of Málaga Avda. de la Centaurea 8, Urb. Cerrado de Calderón. Telephone (+34) 952 204 810. Website www.interschoolmalaga.com. Offers a British education for 3 to 18 year olds. Other Schools or courses available on the Costa del Sol
Marbella Design Academy, C/. Virgen del Pilar 4, Marbella. Telephone (+34) 609 594 885. Website www.designschool.com. All tuition is in English, with courses including interior architecture, furniture and graphic design.
The Tutorial Learning Centre Tuition, N340/A7, Km. 197, Calahonda, Mijas Costa. Telephone (+34) 952 838 078. Offers a variety of GCSE and A Level subjects.
Málaga Study Centre, Debla Building, Camino del Monte 23, 29016 Málaga. Telephone (+34) 618 589 464. Website www.managementcenter.es. Provides tuition for the University of London/LSE undergraduate degree in Business and Diploma for graduates in Management.
Málaga Business College, Melior Building, C/Palma del Río 19, 29004 Málaga. Telephone (+34) 951 164 923. Website www.malagabusinesscollege.es. Provides tuition for the University of London/LSE undergraduate degree in business and diploma for graduates in Management.
Foreign private schools on the Costa del Sol
Finnish - Escuela Finlandesa C/. José Salik 4, Urb. Los Pacos, Fuengirola. Telephone (+34) 952 476 193. Website www.suomalainenkoulu.net.
German - German College (Colegio Alemán Juan Hoffman) Urb. Elviria, La Mairena, Plaza Juan Hoffmann s/n, 29600 Marbella, Telephone (+34) 952 831 417. Website www.dsmalaga.com. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Norwegian - Colegio Noruego Costa del Sol Avda. Acapulco 11, Fuengirola. Telephone (+34) 952 464 313. Website www.norskeskolencostadelsol.com.
Swedish - El Colegio Sueco Svenska Skolan Avda. Ramón y Cajal 9, Fuengirola. Telephone 952 475 076. Website www.svenskaskolancostadelsol.net.
Abadat Escuela de Español & Cultura Andalucía
Abanico Escuela de Español Málaga
Acadamia Malaga Plus Málaga
Academia Atlantico Málaga / Rincón de la Victoria
Activa Idiomas Málaga
Centro de Estudios Idea Torremolinos
Centro de Idiomas Alhaurin de la Torre
Comunica School Torre del Mar
Escuela International Axarquia Torre del Mar
Estudio Hispanico Marbella
I.I.I. Language School Costa del Sol
Spanish Classes in Estepona Estepona
Spanish Language Center Marbella
Todo Idiomas Málaga & Benalmádena