Your interactive family guide to Spain as recommended by local mums | Last updated 7 months ago



State Education in Madrid is co-educational, free and conducted in Spanish. Places are allocated according to where you live and although education doesn’t begin until the age of six many babies start at nurseries (guarderias) at the age of four months and almost all are at school (preescolar) full-time from the age of three. All children have the right to free education, however in many schools the demand simply outweighs the number of places resulting in a point system at the initial stages and then often a lottery is drawn with many parents unable to secure a place at the first school of their choice. Unlike in many European countries, there is limited job mobility within Spain, 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 a later stage.

To qualify for a place at a state school or state subsidised school in Madrid , you have to be registered or “ empadronado” at the Town Hall. There is a 2 week application period every year – normally in February for entrance the following September. Application forms can be collected from any school, education dept or the OAC ( Oficina de Atenció al Ciutadana ) or even downloaded from the Dept of Education website

The complete form plus necessary documentation must be handed in to your first choice school . education dept or OAC within this period.

Documentation necessary ( original and photocopy):
Libro de familia – or similar document showing parents and offspring
D-N-I / N.I E - for anyone who hasn´t got this - passport is accepted.
Tarjeta sanitaria- TSI – Spanish Medical card

When the application period closes, the Dept of Education allocates places according to a points system and a provisional list is put up outside each school showing who has been successful in obtaining a place. If you don´t get a place at your first choice school, your forms are automatically sent to your second choice and then third choice.

Points are awarded as follows :
A sibling already at the school – 4 points
Proximity of home/work ( within the zone of influence ) – 4 points
Proximity of home/ work ( on the edges of the zone of influence ) 3
Families on a basic income only – 2 points
Families on less than twice the basic income – 1 point
Families with a handicapped family member 1.5 points
Families with 3 or more children – 1. 5 or 2.5 points
Children suffering a chronic illness affecting digestive, endocrine glands or metabolism ( including celiac) - 1 point
Other circumstances – 1 point

Points awarded when applying to a state guarderia are slightly different – priority is given to families where both parents are working full – time and then part –time over any other criteria.
There then follows a period during which families are entitled to query their allocation if they think a mistake has been made, and at the beginning of May the definitive list is published.

Applying out of the yearly application period
If you have missed the application period you will need to go to the education department of your town and they will let you know which schools still have places and advise you on all the documentation you need and where to hand it in. You will need to be registered at the Town Hall and have ( or applied for) the TSI ( Targeta Sanitaria )

In this section you can also find all the international schools and nurseries in Madrid 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 list of schools broken down into nurseries, preprimary and primary and secondary.

  • International Nurseries

    Centro Yoga Om, Vilanova i la Geltru Image

    A list of Madrids International nurseries as recommended to us by our members.  If you would like to recommend an International nursery,  please do let us know by sending us your comments 

    Click here for a list of International Nurseries in Madrid (in alphabetical order)

  • International Schools

    Centro Yoga Om, Vilanova i la Geltru Image

    A list of Madrids International Schools as recommended to us by MumAbroad members. We have also included several interviews with School staff. We are constantly updating our International Schools section so we would really appreciate your comments

    Click here for a list of International Schools in Madrid

  • Educational Specialists

    There are a growing number of educational specialists focusing on children from the International Community living in Madrid, from speech therapists to educational pyschologists. If you would like to recommend somebody in this area, please do let us know

    Click here for a list of recommended educational specialists in Madrid

  • Spanish Schools

    In this section is a list of Spanish schools in Madrid. Please note we have tried to list all schools and unlike the remainder of our site most of these dont come with a personal recommendation. Where possible we have tried to include parents comments. If your child attends a school in this area we would love to hear your thoughts

    Click here to read more