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Private Schools for Expats in Spain

Submitted: July 2013

Private schools (escuelas privadas) are reputed for the quality holistic education. Private schools offer small class sizes, high investment in infrastructure and facilities and the use of modern teaching methods. These schools attach great importance to non-academic activities offering a wide range of options including dance, drama, music and a particular sport. Private schools are noted also for the international composition of their students. Together with international schools, they educate around one-third of all children in Spain. Notably, some private schools are publicly-funded and have to operate under a system of legally-established pre-conditions. agreement.

Furthermore, some private schools offer the option of boarding. This is primarily at the secondary education level with varying factors determining which students are offered occupancy in the limited spaces available. Many schools consider students’ academic and disciplinary track record when reviewing applications for boarding. Before selecting this option for child/ward, it is important to enquire as to whether many students are boarding to ensure that on weekends and short holidays he/she is not lonely. Some private schools which offer the option of boarding are listed in the following link:


Private schools in Spain teach a variety of courses and prepare students for numerous international university entry exams. Most private schools use Spanish as their language of instruction and follow the Spanish curriculum which is a requirement in order to receive state subsidy. Some, however, follow a totally bi-lingual (English/Spanish) curriculum, thus it is up to students to choose between Spanish or English schools. To receive subsidy, public-funded private schools must enroll at least 25% (at least 20% in each class) of Spanish students. These schools are also subject to inspection by government authorities.

As it relates to admissions, each school employs different policies given that most have autonomy over whom is accepted. Most schools however will conduct a formal interview in the selection process. Furthermore, unlike state schools, students may be accepted without consideration of a catchment area.

Fees for private schools in Spain vary considerably, as they are normally contingent on several factors. Not surprisingly, those located in the main cities of Madrid and Barcelona are among the most expensive. For partially state-funded private schools, fees may be considerably lower. However, those which are independent may charge well over 8,000 € (£ 6,900) per year, especially to boarders.  These fees do not usually include registration, insurance, books and other miscellaneous expenses. Notably, some schools award scholarships and grants to help parents offset their financial obligations, depending on their circumstances.

In selecting a private school, the following website may be useful:


If you are a British expat, the following schools may appeal to you:




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