Education and Schools in Barcelona

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The education system in Spain is decentralised, which means that schools in Barcelona have to adhere to guidelines set out by the Government of Catalonia, as well as the national Ministry of Education.
Unlike public schooling in much of the rest of the country, the teaching language in Barcelona is Catalan as opposed to Castilian, which is the official language of the state and what most foreigners think of as Spanish. 
Schools in Spain are generally either publico (public schools), privado (private schools) or concertado (semi-private schools). Each system has its own unique benefits and shortcomings, and expats will want to evaluate their priorities and utilise the sector and the school that best suits their child.
Children in Barcelona, as with the rest of Spain, are required by law to go to school between the ages of six and 16 years old. 

Public schools in Barcelona

The public school system in Barcelona is free, but parents will need to pay for books and materials, although uniforms are not required. 
Expat parents who send their younger children to a Barcelona public school can provide them with a fantastic opportunity to learn the language and integrate with local residents. Older students will, however, need instruction in their first language with a slower immersion into Catalan and Spanish (Castlilian).
It can be difficult for expat students to gain admission into certain public schools due to overcrowding, as well as the fact that in some areas a lottery system may be the only means of entrance. Expat parents will also have to fill out the necessary paperwork in either Catalan or Spanish, or find an individual who can help with the process.

Semi-private schools in Barcelona

Semi-private schools are subsidised by the government and are either free or offer low school fees. The standards of these schools differ between districts but it is generally assumed that schools in more affluent areas are of a better standard.
These schools are a good option for parents who would prefer smaller class sizes for their children, but who cannot afford a private international school in Barcelona.
Expats should, however, be aware that these schools generally follow the Spanish curriculum and the primary teaching language will usually be Catalan.

International schools in Barcelona

International schools in Barcelona are private schools that uphold the teaching language and curriculum of a foreign country, and generally provide a very high standard of education. 
It is common for space in these institutions to be limited, as demand at these schools is usually high and some schools admit students based on nationality quotas.
International schools offer pupils the benefit of continuing with instruction that should be familiar. All international schools have attached annual tuition fees, and it is best to consult schools individually to find out more about costs.

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