The Catalan language proves to be the key issue for expat parents when deciding on a school for their children in Catalunya. Many parents are unaware before moving to Catalunya that this is the language in which their child will be educated. Many are also unaware that all correspondence between parent and school will be conducted purely in Catalan. Whatever your choice, the following sections aim to give an insight into the options available to parents here in Catalunya and the complex lottery of applying for a state placement.
For those interested in a local school you will find a regional list of schools broken down into nurseries, pre-primary and primary and secondary.
State Education in Catalunya is co-educational, free and conducted in Catalan rather than Spanish, although the law requires that all students have the right to attain an adequate level of both written and spoken Spanish by the time they finish obligatory education.
As places are limited in each school, a points system is used to allocate the places. Where there is a surplus of families all with the same points, a lottery system is used with the Generalitat issuing a number at random and families with an application number nearest to this are given preference. For more details on how points are allocated go to “ how to apply section “
In the event of not securing a place at your first choice school, you will be offered a place at your second or third choice.
Unlike in many European countries, there is limited job mobility within Catalunya, meaning that children normally remain at one school for the duration of their education and therefore it is not as common for places to open at later stages. Most families secure their place when their child is 3 – so again places are more difficult to obtain in your first choice school after this age. You are entitled to a place in Educacion Infantil starting in September of the calendar year your child turns 3 – so many children begin their school life before reaching their 3rd birthday
In this section you can find all the international schools and nurseries in Catalunya listed in alphabetical order. Where possible we have also interviewed the Head Teacher and spoken to mums whose children attend the schools. For those interested in a local school you will find a brief explanation of each of the stages of schooling for children and the regional list of schools broken down into nurseries, preprimary and primary and secondary.
Click here to read an interview with Catalan Schools Expert Bridget Nelson
A list of Catalunya´s International nurseries as recommended to us by our members, and for a fuller picture we have also carried out schools with some of the directors or adminstrative staff. If you would like to recommend an International nursery or day-care centre, please do let us know by sending us your comments