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Public schools in Madrid are mostly attended by locals. These institutions can be good options for young expat children who are able to pick up the language more easily, but it can be challenging for older students to attend classes that are taught in Spanish. It is also an option worth considering for families who are looking to move to Spain permanently.
For the most part, expats along with wealthier locals tend to send their children to private or international schools which offer higher standards and a greater variety of extra-curricular activities.
Private and international schools in Madrid
Many madrileños send their young students to private Catholic schools, which are subsidised by the government and form an important part of the system of education in Spain. Tuition at these institutions is often much less expensive than European private schools. However, subsidised schools also teach Spanish curricula in the Spanish language, and can be similarly difficult for newly arrived expat children.
Independent and international schools in Madrid teach in English, but both tend to be on the expensive side. Independent private schools in Madrid can cost thousands of euros a year and expat parents should be aware that some of them might refer to themselves as international schools while teaching Spanish curricula in a foreign language. These tend to be more popular with the locals than the expat community.
There are, however, plenty of international schools in Madrid that uphold both the teaching language and curricula of countries such as the United States, England and Germany. These schools are more experienced in accommodating students who have previously studied different curricula and act as an effective bridge between a student's home country and their new environment.
All reputable schools of this kind are registered with the embassy of their home country. Many international schools have long waiting lists, and expat families are encouraged to enrol their children well before the school year begins.
Are you an expat living in Madrid?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Madrid. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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