Schooling of immigrant children in Spain

Schooling not only provides academic knowledge, but also plays a fundamental role in the social and cultural integration of immigrant children. By attending school, children have the opportunity to interact with their local peers, learn the Spanish language more effectively and understand the customs and norms of the host country. In addition, education provides tools for a successful future by opening doors to job opportunities and personal development. In this article, we explain how to provide schooling for immigrant children in Spain.

Steps to schooling an immigrant child in Spain

Before you take the first step, research the education system in the region where you will be settling. Find out about nearby school options, educational programmes, admission requirements and schedules. Some areas may have bilingual schools that ease the language transition for children.

Choose the school that best suits your family’s needs and preferences. Public and public schools offer different educational approaches, so do your research thoroughly and be sure to visit the facilities before making your decision.

Gather all necessary documents, such as birth certificates, health records, academic records and any other school-specific requirements. Legalisation of foreign documents may be necessary in some cases, so be sure to check this process in advance.

Start the admission and enrolment process according to the deadlines set by your chosen school. Make sure you meet all requirements and provide the necessary documentation to ensure a smooth process.

If Spanish is not your family’s native language, consider enrolling your children in language support programmes or Spanish classes for foreigners. This will help accelerate their linguistic adaptation and academic success.

What documents are needed to send an immigrant child to school in Spain?

The schooling of immigrant children in Spain requires the presentation of several essential documents to ensure a smooth process. Below is a list of the documents that are generally required to enrol an immigrant child in school in Spain:

  • Birth certificate
  • Identification documents, passport, DNI or NIE:
  • Certificate of census registration.
  • Medical report. Some schools may require a medical report certifying that the child is fit to attend classes and participate in school activities.
  • Immunisation record: Make sure you have an up-to-date record of the child’s vaccinations, as this may be required for school admission.
  • Recent photographs
  • Previous academic transcripts or school records
  • Residence documents, permits or visas in case of non-EU citizens.
  • Written parental or guardian authorisation for the child’s enrolment at the school
  • Other documents requested by the school. The educational institution may require additional application forms or documents, such as legal custody documents in case of separation/divorce.

Please note that the requirements and documents requested by schools may vary depending on the region of Spain and the type of school. Therefore, we recommend that you contact your chosen school and local education authorities directly for a complete and up-to-date list of required documents.

Can an immigrant child be enrolled in school in Spain after the deadline?

Yes, it is possible to send an immigrant child to school outside of the regular school calendar. Education laws in Spain recognise the importance of providing educational opportunities for all children, regardless of when they arrive in the country. However, it is important to be aware of certain aspects:

  • Although late admission is possible, the process may vary by school and region. It is essential to contact the school directly to understand the specific procedures and documents required.
  • Make sure you have all necessary documents, such as birth certificates, transcripts and other requirements, even if you are applying after the regular deadline.
  • Late admission may depend on the availability of places at the school. Some schools may have limited places, which may influence the decision to admit new students.

Can an undocumented child attend school in Spain?

Yes, Spain recognises the right to education for all children, regardless of their legal status. This means that undocumented immigrant children also have the right to access education.

Education in Spain is universal and does not discriminate on the basis of a child’s legal status. All children have the right to education, regardless of whether or not they have papers. Schools in Spain are not obliged to verify the legal status of students before admitting them. Children’s personal information and legal status are kept confidential.

While no specific papers are required for school admission, some schools may request alternative documents, such as birth certificates or other documents that help verify the child’s identity and age.

How is education in Spain for immigrants?

The education system in Spain values diversity and inclusion. Schools are committed to providing a welcoming and respectful environment where immigrant students can feel valued and accepted by their peers and teachers.

Since language can be a barrier for many immigrant students, many schools in Spain offer language support programmes. These programmes help students improve their Spanish skills and integrate more easily into regular classes.

In some cases, curricula can be adjusted to meet the individual needs of immigrant students. This may include specific educational approaches to facilitate academic and cultural transition.

Flexibility is provided in the assessment and grading of immigrant students, taking into account their specific situation and needs to ensure fair and equitable assessment.

Schools work closely with the families of immigrant students, maintaining open communication to ensure that they are aware of their children’s academic and emotional progress.

Tips on how to successfully send your child to school in Spain

Schooling your child in Spain is a crucial step in your relocation process. Here are some additional tips you can follow to ensure that your children receive emotional support and feel integrated in their new school:

  • Maintain constant communication with the school. Ask about their policies, schedules, support programmes and any other relevant information.
  • If your child is not fluent in Spanish, look for schools that offer language support programmes to facilitate learning and adjustment.
  • Get involved in your child’s school life. Attend meetings, school events and activities to strengthen your child’s sense of belonging.
  • Help your child cope with emotional challenges during the adjustment process. Build confidence and resilience as they adjust to a new environment.
  • Encourage your child to explore and learn about Spanish culture and traditions, while sharing their own cultural experiences.
  • Establish a daily routine that includes time for study, play and rest. A consistent routine can help your child feel more comfortable and confident.
  • Look for opportunities for your child to interact with other children outside of school. This can help strengthen their social skills and integration.
  • Recognise and celebrate your child’s achievements and progress at school. Reinforce their motivation and self-confidence.

At Relomar, we understand that your child’s schooling is a priority. That is why we offer schooling packages for expatriate families moving to Spain. These packages include services such as: Search for schools in the region of residence, schooling and enrolment of the children in educational centres, search for extracurricular activities in the area, hiring of private teachers, enrolment in language classes, referral to child psychologists and bilingual mental health specialists, etc.