Schools admissions time is upon us once more, with its inevitable excitement and nerves. Although the obligatory school age for children in Madrid is from 6 to 16, most families choose to enrol their children in infants’ school from the age of 3 upwards.
Many of these infant schools offer places from 9am to 5pm for children as young as 3, which can seem quite a culture shock for those of us who have moved to Madrid from other education systems. But we promise you that it works and these little children have a wonderful time in infants’ school, where they get to sleep a long siesta at midday and enjoy a very varied curriculum.
As we said last year, the process & timetable for applying for school places in Madrid is different depending on whether you are looking for a place at a state school (colegio público) or a state-supported school (colegio concertado), or whether you are looking for a place at an independent, fee-paying school (colegio privado).
The flexibility of the latter means that it is relatively easy to apply for private schools in Madrid. Getting into a state school or state-supported school, on the other hand, requires tenacity, grit and determination. But it can be done! Here’s how:
Applying for a place: 24/4/19 – 10/5/19 (inclusive)
First things first, the Comunidad de Madrid has invested a lot of money on citizen online services and will always encourage you to register for a digital certificate to be able to make the application and follow its progress online. Those of us in Kids in Madrid who have obtained a digital certificate have nothing but praise for it and can guarantee its worth getting. Nevertheless, it is still possible to apply for a school place in Madrid without a digital certificate.
After filling in the paperwork you can hand your application into your first-choice school from 24th of April until 10th of May 2019. **Keep checking here for the downloadable application form and we promise to make it available on this blog post as soon as it becomes available** The official admissions calendar for 2019/2020 will go live following this link from 30/03/19 onwards.
How many places are available per school?
At the time of writing (mid-March) all of the schools in Madrid that are supported by state funding, be they public or concertado, are currently confirming the number of places they can offer for each year group for the academic year 2019/20. For those interested in the detail, annex 1 of this document has the timetable which they are following to get their numbers in on time. What is most important for parents to note is that from February 2019 onwards schools are obliged to have an information pack ready for any parent wishing to enquire about places for their children for the forthcoming 2019/2020 school year. They should also have this information published on a noticeboard in the entrance.
What selection criteria is used to choose students?
School places are allocated on a strict points system which is straightforward and can be broken down as follows:
10 points for children whose siblings are already at the school
10 points for children of members of staff of that school
4 points for the geographical location of parents’ workplace or family home address
2 points for low-income families
1.5 points for physical, psychological or behavioural disabilities of the prospective student or his/ her parents that has been duly diagnosed by an officially recognized doctor.
5 points for sons or daughters of ex-alumni of the school
Between 1.5 or 2 points for large families (3 or more school-aged children)
1 point is also available for objective reasons which are ascribed at the discretion of the school. This is usually given to families whose son or daughter has attended the nursery school linked to the school chosen as first choice. Unfortunately, this often means that many of the places at popular concertado schools are allocated to families who have previously enrolled their babies in the private nursery that is run on the same site as the concertado itself, giving them an unfair advantage over parents who didn’t need nursery care for their infants and are applying for a school place at the age of 3.
How to find a school
Have you just moved to Madrid and don’t have a clue where your nearest school is? All you need to do is type your address into this search engine provided by the local schools’ authority to find which ones are closest to you.
All schools have open days and many will often organize a private visit upon request. Keep an eye on this website to find out when the next open days are scheduled at your local school.
What if you miss the deadline?
If your child is aged between 6 and 16, the Comunidad de Madrid is obliged to find a school place for them, no matter what time of the year you arrive in the capital. The local Department for Education has a contact telephone number you can ring to find out how to make an extraordinary application: 91 580 4260 (Monday-Thursday, 9am to 2pm). Don’t worry, there is always an English-speaking telephonist in the office to deal with these enquiries.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any enquiries. We work closely with educational advisors with expertise in Spanish schools. We are happy to help!
All applications for Primary and Secondary education (6-16 years) within the Comunidad de Madrid for the school year 2019/2020 at a public or state-supported centre must be made using this form.
Although ordinary applications were supposed to have been made between the 24th and 10th of April 2019, with formal registrations at the schools taking place between the 13th of June and the 17th of July 2019 for Primary and between the 24th of June and the 11th of July 2019 for Secondary, the Department for Education for the local community of Madrid provides a service all year around for children who move to Madrid from elsewhere, as well as for those children who need to change schools throughout the year due to other circumstances.
The contact telephone number to begin finding out information about how to apply is 91 580 4260. There is always an English-speaking telephonist nearby or they will take down your details to ring you back. It is also possible to “chat” with them following link.