Structure and levels of the Spanish educational system
Currently, the educational system in Spain is regulated and defined by two laws: the Organic Law of Education (LOE) of 2006 and the Organic Law of Modification of the LOE (LOMLOE) of 2020 that introduces some changes compared to the previous one.
The teachings of the Spanish educational system are organized in stages, courses and levels so that the transition between them and within each one is ensured. They can be structured as follows:
Early Childhood Education
Early Childhood Education is voluntary character and is between 0 and 6 years. It is divided into two cycles, the first (0-3 years) is carried out in nursery schools and the second (3-6 years) is usually taught in nursery and primary schools.
The purpose of this educational stage is to contribute to the cognitive, physical, social, emotional and moral development of children.
Education begins in Primary compulsory and free, that will last until the age of 16. Understands three cycles two years each: cycle initial, from 6 to 8 years old, cycle half, from 8 to 10 years old, and cycle higher, from 10 to 12 years old.
Its objective is to encourage in boys and girls the development of different capacities, such as oral expression and comprehension and socialization, for their progressive autonomy.
Compulsory Secondary Education (ESO)
ESO is the last stage mandatory. It’s free and includes four courses schoolchildren among 12 and 16 years, although it can be extended to 18 years if the course is repeated. It is intended that students know the basic elements of culture, develop study and work habits and acquire critical thinking.
After this stage, it is possible to either study for both Baccalaureate and intermediate vocational training, or enter the job market.
The Baccalaureate belongs to the post-compulsory secondary education, understands two courses academic and is normally attended between 16 and 18 years.
This stage is organized in four modalities: Sciences and Technology, Humanities and Social Sciences and General. The main purpose of these studies is to train students to access the higher education.
Vocational Training (FP)
Vocational Training enables the performance of various professions. This is divided into three levels:
- Basic FP. Addresses those students who have not completed ESO and they want to continue their studies in the field of Vocational Training. These studies are included within the basic education and free, since they represent an alternative to obtain the title of Graduate in ESO.
- Medium grade training cycles. Like the Baccalaureate, it is part of the post-compulsory secondary education. Generally lasts two years and allows obtaining the title of Technician and access to higher-level training cycles.
- Higher level training cycles. These studies belong to the higher education, last two years academic and allow obtaining the title of Superior Technician, in addition to being able to access university studies.
Along with higher-level Vocational Training, university education is part of the higher education. The model of official university degrees is divided into the following levels:
- Grade. This training, commonly known as a university degree, provides general training in one or more disciplines. The duration depends on each grade, from three to five years, although the usual number is four. There are different ways to access the university, such as through the Baccalaureate or higher education cycle.
- Master’s degree. It is a graduate program that allows you to acquire a specialized training and can last for one or two years. To take it, it is mandatory to have an official university degree.
- Doctorate. It is the highest level university education and leads to the development of competencies related to investigation. To access these studies it is mandatory to have an official master’s degree.
Special regime teachings
The artistic teachings, the sports teachings and the official language teachings They are classified as special regime teachings due to their specificity in relation to the organization and training provided.
Artistic teachings. These teachings train future professionals in an artistic discipline. They are organized in:
Sports education. They prepare for the performance of functions in the sports field with a high level of specialization. They are structured in:
Official language courses. They are also considered special regime teachings. They are organized into three levels (basic, intermediate and advanced) that correspond and are subdivided according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
Where to study education system: typology of centers
In Spain, the form of management and financing allows the educational centers to be differentiated into three types based on their ownership:
Public centers. They are lay people and their funding comes from the Public Administration. Most teach basic and compulsory education levels (Infant, Primary, ESO, Baccalaureate and Vocational Training). Their places are limited and the admission criteria are set by the Administration.
Private centers. Its funding comes from the families of the students. They have freedom of management and the number of places and the access criteria depend on each center.
Concerted centers. They are private, but they are subsidized, at least in part, by the public administration. Its funding is based on grants and family fees. The management criteria are their own, although the limit of students and their school calendar are determined by the Administration.