Schools in Barcelona

Applying for schools in Barcelona

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Here’s a brief guide on the easiest way to apply to a school in Barcelona to enrol your child into education in Spain.

There is lots of choice for education in Spain, and you'll need to choose whether to enrol your child in a Spanish state or private school, or an international school.

Education in Spain

Schooling in Spain is free and compulsory for children aged 6–16 years.  

Primary education is the first stage of schooling for children aged 6–12 years and secondary education is the period of schooling from 12-16 years.  

Although many children attend school in Barcelona when they are three years old, it is not compulsory in most parts of Spain. Schooling from 3–6 years is known as infants or parvulario.

Apply for a school in Barcelona

The Department of Education of the Generalitat of Cataunya governs the registration process for state schools.

Trying to find a place for your child can seem very much like trying to win a lottery at first as the number of applicants usually outweighs the number of places available at local schools and so a lottery process at the final selection stage in used to determine which children get a place.  

Earlier in the year, School Open Days or Jornades de Portes Obertes are organised by Barcelona public and private schools in order for parents to visit. Most schools will also allow you to organise visits at other times of year.

The first stage of application is the Pre-inscription stage in March or May (for 0-3 years). From this stage a short-list of applicants is compiled and in the case where numbers exceed places, a lottery is drawn.

A final list of pupils is then published and if you wish to accept any place offered to your child, you must then undertake the inscription process. You can improve your initial chances of a successful application by choosing a school according to certain criteria that will put you higher on the priority list.

Selection is first based upon the following points scheme:
40 points: When the child has a sibling at the school or if a parent is employed there.
30 points: When the child’s home address is located close by to the school.
20 points: When a parent’s place of work is located close by to the school.
10 Points: When the child's home address is not in the specific catchment area but is located in the same city district as the school.
10 Points: When a parent is receiving income support (varies by the number of dependants).
10 points: When the child, child's siblings or parents have a certain level of disability.

Additional Criteria:
15 points: If the child belongs to a family with a larger number of children.
10 points: If the child suffers from a chronic illness of the digestive, endocrinal or metabolic system (includes celiacs).

Applications are now centralised but you may collect a Pre-inscription form from any public school. You may also visit L'oficina d'escolarització del Consorci d'Educació de Barcelona at Calle Bruc, 90 Baixos, the Serveis Territorials d'Educació, Av. del Paral•lel, 71-73 (Tel. 93 443 95 00 Mon-Fri 9am-2pm and 3pm-5pm), or from your ajuntament.  

Once you have completed the form you can submit it directly at the school chosen as your first option or at the same offices. You must also take with you:

  • An original and photocopy of your Libro de Familia.
  • An original and photocopy of your National ID card, Residency card or Passport (either parent).
  • Proof of home address or business address (if this is to boost your points rating).
  • Any medical documentation as evidence if your child suffers from a chronic condition.

Your original documentation will be returned once it has been compared with the copy.
Once your child has been offered a place at a school which you wish to accept, you must then undertake the final inscription process in June.

Dates for the application process depend on the cycle of education.

Timeline for 2010–2011 school applications

Infants, primary and secondary 2010/2011

1 February: Publication of initial number of places available
2-16 February: Period for pre-registration (preinscripció)
(Internet submissions must be received by midnight on 15 February)
24 February: Publication of applicants to be submitted for lottery
25 February: Lottery to determine the order in which applicants will be selected
25 and 26 February and 1 March: Dates for submission of complaints regarding the applicants lists
4 March: Publication of the final list of applicants
24 March:  Publication of final offer
9 April: Publication of pupils admitted
7-11 June: Successful applicants complete registration process.

Escoles bressol /public nurseries 2010/2011

3-14 May:- Pre-registration (preinscripció) period for Escoles Bressol
21 May :- Publication of applicants to be submitted for lottery and complaints period is from 25-27 May
2 June:- Final applicants list for lottery is published
7-11:- Successful applicants complete registration process

For further information visit

Applications made during the school year

Once the school year has begun, applications depend on available places. If you have moved to Catalunya or wish to change schools during the school year, applications may be made directly to your chosen school or at the Consorci d'Educació de Barcelona (Calle Bruc, 90 Baixos) who will offer you available places in your catchment area or outside.

Originals and photocopies of the following documents are required:

  • Identity document of the father/mother/guardian.
  • Birth certificate or Family Record Book (libre de família) where your child is listed.
  • Proof-of-residence (volant de residència) of your child and their father, mother or guardian.

For more information:
Official website for school information in Barcelona
(Includes links to Barcelona School Open Days, and downloadable file - Barcelona es una Bona Escola - with detailed information on all private and public schools by district).
Search for Public or Private schools by district  (Government site in English).
Address search for schools that are in your official catchment area.
Home Schooling Programme.
Clonlara School based in the US offers a home-based teaching programme with offices in Barcelona.
Home Schooling Site for Catalunya.
Association supporting Home education in Catalunya who organises the annual Home Schooling day on 15 September.

This article has been reprinted with permission of Kids in Barcelona / Expatica
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