International Education in Madrid
If you’re considering becoming an expat in Europe, there are few better places to base yourself than Spain. It has a great climate, a relaxed and family-oriented way of life, and plenty of culture and history to soak up.
Lucky for you, it also has one of the highest numbers of international schools on the continent, and at some of the lowest prices.
While school fees may be lower in Spain than elsewhere in Europe, in Madrid they are unfortunately higher than the national average. The yearly cost also does not include ‘extras’ like meals, transport or extra-curricular activities.
That being said, there are still many worthy contenders to check out in the Spanish capital.
A unique feature of international schools in Madrid is the high proportion of local Spanish students. In some schools, some 80% of the student body is made up of local kids.
This is in part because many international schools are state subsidised. To be granted funding by the Spanish government they must meet certain criteria, one of which is offering a minimum of 25% of school places to native children. Each class must also have at least 20% local students.
Subsidised international schools must also teach a bilingual curriculum, i.e the Spanish curriculum alongside foreign curricula. They must teach through Spanish as well as other languages. And subsidised or not, every international school must be approved by their country’s embassy.
English is the most common language of instruction in Madrid’s international schools, but due to the large numbers of local students, Spanish often rules in hallways and playgrounds. You can be sure your child will pick up the local language quickly!
There are a selection of international schools in or close to the centre of Madrid. However, the majority are located in leafy suburbs on the city’s outskirts, between the bustling city and the lush mountains. These schools usually have much bigger campuses with plenty of outdoor sports grounds and surrounding grounds.
Madrid’s international schools cater for children from age 2 or 3 right up to 18 years. Secondary education in Spain is compulsory up to age 16, after which students can opt to complete a ‘Bachillerato’ for a further two years. Some international schools will take students up to pre-Bachillerato level only.
European curricula rule in Spain’s international schools, with the British national curriculum being the most common. Outside of Europe, you’ll find plenty of schools offering the American curriculum, but not much else.
The school day runs from 9am to 2pm for primary school, and slightly later (around 3pm) for secondary students. Class sizes are small to medium, with around 25 students per class being the norm.
Native English-speaking teachers are commonplace in Madrid’s international schools. As Spain is a largely Catholic country, it’s not uncommon to see international schools run with a Catholic or Christian ethos too. As with any large capital city however, it’s easy to find just about any type of school in Madrid.
Below, we have compiled our top 10 international schools in Madrid. However, there are another 43 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 Madrid based on your requirements.