English Speaking Therapists in Barcelona

Choosing Schools in Barcelona


Choosing a School in Barcelona

Flights. A home. Boxes. Packing. Relocating the Pet. Finding a neighbourhood. Enrolling in schools. 

There is so much to consider when relocating to Barcelona!! 

Choosing the right school is one of the top concerns of families moving to Barcelona.

The first thing to do is to narrow down the options by settling on your criteria for a school. 

Will your child be happier in a small school or large school; an artsy school or athletic school, etc? 

Now’s the time to take stock of what makes your child tick and thrive.

Are they introverted or extroverted? Do they need large outdoor spaces? Should the school be intimate or large and bustling? Should the school be close to home or is your kid ok with a commute and an extra hour tagged on to their day? Does your kid need a lot of extracurricular activities or more down time? Will your kid need a school that seems to be very aware of the adaptation process or is s/he ready to jump in without much fuss?

Whatever school you choose, remember that your bottom line is a thriving child.

If your child needs help with the adaptation, our child therapist or adolescent therapist can help. Remember that therapy for kids is about finding other channels for them to communicate their emotions, which they may not be aware of or unable to express verbally as adults do.

It is an intelligent step to get some extra support for you child and a safe space for them to vent concerns and learn how to navigate the big emotions that come with all the novelty of relocation and new schools. Contact us to see if we can be of assistance.

Do you want the school to be international or local?

In Catalonia, there are three types of schools: public schools; publicly funded private schools, known as concertados; and private schools. Public schools are free. Concertados are private schools that receive partial government subsidies. These schools sometimes have better facilities than public schools, so they provide a good compromise between public and private schools.

There are private local schools or private international schools. International schools are a popular option for families who may not be staying in Barcelona for an extended period and prefer their children to be immersed in their native tongue.

What is your budget for a school?

Public schools are almost free, concertadas can vary in price from 300 up to 600 euro per month, and international schools tend to be beyond 1000 euro per month. 

What language/s do you want your child to learn?

Language is an important guiding factor when choosing a school. In Barcelona there are German, French, Swiss, American and British schools.

Families choose this option so that children remain proficient at reading and writing in their native language, while becoming fluent in a second, third or fourth language.

It is compulsory to learn Spanish at all schools, other than international schools, even where Spanish is not the main language, like in public schools in Barcelona where Catalan will be the primary language.

If this is a new language for your child when they commence school, it may take longer to adapt, but will likely result in better long-term integration into the local community for your  family. However, most teachers won’t speak English, which presents a challenge if you wish to communicate around your child’s progress. The same concern arises when it comes to helping your child with homework.

Some families opt for private international schools because the curriculum will be in English (or another language) and may follow a foreign curriculum. One potential drawback is that these schools also have a large foreign student population, possibly hindering integration with the local community. 

Do you want to live in the same neighbourhood as the school?

Applications for the public and concertadas are accepted in March of every year and places are offered via a points based system, where you accrue points for living or working in the same neighbourhood as the school catchment area.

Private and international schools accept applications without reservation and are not based on catchment areas.

Is it ok for your child to catch a bus to school?

if your child is attending a private school, they will likely be in the zona alta of Barcelona, necessitating a bus ride on a private bus route if you live “downtown.” This also adds further expense. 

Do you want a school with a rich menu of extracurricular activities?

Are open spaces and facilities such as pool and gymnasium important to you?

Do you value traditional schooling or more modern educational models?

Do you want a secular or church-affiliated school?

What are the next steps?

Choosing the right school for your kids in Barcelona is no mean feat. You need to start planning ahead 6-12 months before moving.

You will need to look in to the documentation required including the empadronamiento, NIE, immunisation records, passports, proof of residence, etc

Before relocating, be sure to research, research, and research more.

Google search Barcelona schools. Join Barcelona family forums on Facebook (Barcelona Babies and Kids; International Families in Barcelona, etc) to get opinions and advice. Check out MumAbroad Spain and Costa Women.

After relocating, visit the different schools you’re thinking about, meet the teachers, observe the kids and focus on whether the school has a good fit with the individual needs of your child. Open days are usually held at schools in February and dates should be on the school’s website. Private schools will offer visits at any time of year, as do concertadas if they have places available.

Get help from My Barcelona School

You may want to enlist the help of one of the relocation services here in Barcelona. Anya from My Barcelona School, offers her extensive knowledge of Barcelona schools to help families moving to Barcelona determine the best fit for them. 

Here are some interesting resources:

Barcelona Family Life is a blog by Annette Pacey. It features many useful articles including some around choosing schools:

How to Apply for A Public School Place in Barcelona

Barcelona International School Curriculum

U.S.-Curriculum Schools in Barcelona

Barcelona City Council Info Site on the Education System and Schools in Barcelona (in English)

Official Site for schools and school enrolment (in Catalan)

El Mundo’s Best Schools in Spain List 2019

International Schools in Barcelona: A Practical Guide for Newcomers with Children

List of all international schools in Barcelona

Get help with adaptation

Remember that a relocation is not all practical concerns. A lot of emotional concerns can come up too, especially around school adaptation and the upheavals associated with moving.

Therapy in Barcelona is here to help your whole family with the transition involved in relocating to Barcelona.

We have an international team of therapists who speak english and other languages. We support families, couples, adults, kids and teens from Barcelona’s international community.

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