Choosing a school in Madrid? Things to keep in mind
The school application process in Madrid is in full swing. If you will be enrolling your child in school this year, then it’s likely you have many questions! These are the most common ones:
What does concertado mean?
In general, there are three types of schools: public, concertado and private. Public schools are funded by the government. While the tuition is free, you have to pay for lunch and other activities (field trips, extra-curriculars, etc.).
Concertados are private schools subsidized by the government. Technically, the tuition is free, but the school will ask you to make a donation for their specific educational project. This donation varies between 20€ a month to more than 100€ depending on the school. Most concertado schools are religious.
Private schools are not subsidized by the government and the tuition varies per school. The cost can be anything from 400€ to 800€, plus uniform, lunchroom, school bus, etc. This is especially for you if you’re looking for a school with an alternative methodology or an international school. Some such as Hasting School offer a wide range of campuses and locations schools in Madrid.
What exactly is a bilingual school?
Not all bilingual schools are the same. A bilingual school basically means that the media of instruction are English and Spanish. However, which subjects are taught in English vary per school. Aside from actual English classes, the more common subjects are Social Science, Natural Science, Music, Art and P.E.
Some schools call themselves trilingual. This usually means that at 5th grade, the children start learning a third language, normally French or German.
How do I apply?
The process for public schools and concertados are the same. Whether you get in or not is based on a point system. You are assigned points according to a variety of factors such as where you live, annual income and family size.
You can get the application form either from the school of your choice or through the Comunidad de Madrid website.
For all the official information on this process, visit https://www.comunidad.madrid/servicios/educacion/solicita-tu-admision-educacion-infantil-obligatoria-bachillerato.
For private schools, simply speak to the school directly to learn their process. They normally ask for an interview along with the necessary paperwork.
Are you feeling overwhelmed after reading all this information? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Here are some tips for choosing the right school for your child:
1 Know your priorities.
The perfect school does not exist. Decide in advance which factors are important to you. Focus on finding a school that meets your non-negotiables and not the ones where “it would be nice if…”
2 Dig deeper into other people’s opinions.
When asking parents their thoughts on schools, remember that they are not you. What they like about the school might be something that would make you cross the school off your list, or vice versa. Go past the “My child is happy there” and figure out why. Look for concrete reasons.
3 Keep your family situation in mind.
If you only plan on living in Madrid until your child turns 6, then there’s no point in looking at the Primary level of schools. However, if you’re here for the long haul, you might want to know how the school is like past that first year.
Choosing a school for your child is one of the biggest decisions we make as parents. It won’t only affect your child in September, but in all the years to come. When it comes to choosing a school, there are lots of small decisions that lead up to the big one. All these decisions take up a lot of time and energy, and while they are important, you also have other things to do! As a parenting coach, one of the things I do is help you make decisions quickly, efficiently and with reasons that you like. Avail of my special school/childcare-focused offer of 197€ for three sessions. To schedule a free 30-minute clarity call, send me an email at email@example.com.
About The Author
Since moving to Madrid in 2011, Denise has experienced first-hand how the bilingual education system has evolved. She first worked as an English teacher at a private school in Madrid, before becoming an editor of bilingual textbooks.
In 2019 she started her business, Con Cariño, where she is a bilingual parenting coach and certified “How to Talk so Kids Will Listen” workshop facilitator. She helps parents enjoy parenting.