What Is School Like in Spain?

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport mandates that children in Spain between the ages of 6 and 16 must go to school. All students receive vocational training, and they can enroll in special arts and language-learning programs. Spain also adapts programs for students who have special needs.

Though children must start school when they turn 6, children younger than 3 can enroll in preschool, and children between the ages of 3 and 6 can enroll in primary school. Students complete their compulsory secondary education after turning 16, but Spain makes postcompulsory secondary education available for students between the ages of 16 and 18. This postcompulsory education prepares students for college. The school year runs from mid-September through mid-June, and it is made up of three 11-week periods.

Primary school students go to school between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., they receive a meal, and a nap break occurs between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. While students can go home for this break, some opt to stay on campus and have lunch. Some schools offer students the option to arrive earlier and enroll in extracurricular activities in the afternoon. Secondary school students generally go to school from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Students study geography, history, language skills, math, science, music and the arts.