International Education in Barcelona

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It’s easy to see why Barcelona is a popular choice for expats. Sitting on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea, it offers year-round good weather and sunshine. It’s bordered by beaches on one side and lush hills on the other, and within the city itself there’s a wealth of culture, art, history and more to discover. And besides all that, who could resist the laid-back Mediterranean lifestyle?

However, the public school system is not the easiest for expats to navigate. It can be difficult for non-native children to get places in public schools due to overcrowding and complicated lottery systems, among other reasons. The language of instruction in most public schools in Barcelona is also Catalan, not Spanish, which is another hurdle for many expat families.

Thankfully, there is a wide range of international schools in Barcelona to choose from instead. You’ll find a mixture of European curricula to choose from including French, German, Swiss and British, along with plenty of schools offering the International curriculum. In fact, several schools actually offer more than one.

The language of instruction usually matches the curriculum, with international curricula usually offered in English. However, international schools are obliged by law to teach Spanish, Catalan or both as additional languages. Since a lot of international schools in Barcelona have a high percentage of local students, learning the local languages can help your child make new friends as well as develop their linguistic skills.

Barcelona’s international schools tend to be clustered around the upscale neighbourhoods of Sarria and Pedralbes. However, other smaller cities in Catalonia like Sitges, La Garriga and Sabadell are home to some of the best known international schools in Europe. All have good transport links and easy commute times to and from Barcelona, so it’s worth expanding your search if this is a feasible option for you.

In general Barcelona’s international schools are small. It’s rare for classes to have more than 25 students. The majority of schools have a few hundred pupils in total, although there are a small number of large schools.

The school day starts around 8.30 am and finishes at around 4pm. Younger students usually finish earlier, but have the option of extra curricular activities, school clubs or supervised homework time until late afternoon.

Below, we have compiled our top 10 international schools in Barcelona. However, there are another 26 schools to choose from in the city. You can find the best international school for your child by personalising your results. Just fill in your search criteria, and we will calculate a personal score for every international school in Barcelona based on your requirements.