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Spain:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

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Overview Spain

Contents

Spain:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Spain:Historical Development

Spain:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Spain:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Spain:Political and Economic Situation

Spain:Organisation and Governance

Spain:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Spain:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Spain:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Spain:Organisation of Private Education

Spain:National Qualifications Framework

Spain:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Spain:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Spain:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Spain:Funding in Education

Spain:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Spain:Higher Education Funding

Spain:Adult Education and Training Funding

Spain:Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Organisation of Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Assessment in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:Primary Education

Spain:Organisation of Primary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Spain:Assessment in Primary Education

Spain:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Spain:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Spain:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

Spain:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Spain:Vocational Lower Secondary Education: Basic Vocational Training cycles

Spain:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Spain:Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Spain:Higher Education

Spain:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Spain:First Cycle Programmes

Spain:Bachelor

Spain:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Spain:Second Cycle Programmes

Spain:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Spain:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Spain:Adult Education and Training

Spain:Distribution of Responsibilities

Spain:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Spain:Main Providers

Spain:Main Types of Provision

Spain:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Spain:Teachers and Education Staff

Spain:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Spain:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Spain:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Spain:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Management and Other Education Staff

Spain:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Spain:Management Staff for Higher Education

Spain:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Spain:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Quality Assurance

Spain:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Spain:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Educational Support and Guidance

Spain:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Spain:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Spain:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Spain:Mobility and Internationalisation

Spain:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Mobility in Higher Education

Spain:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Spain:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Spain:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Spain:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Spain:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Spain:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Spain:National Reforms in School Education

Spain:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Spain:National Reforms in Higher Education

Spain:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Spain:European Perspective

Spain:Legislation

Spain:Institutions

Spain:Bibliography

Spain:Glossary

Funding

The ability to compete, the improvement and the well-being of the population of a country are closely related to the level of education, so investing in education is key to its development and growth.

Spain concentrates financial resources on programmes that are strategic for the education system and establishes the following priorities for non-university education:

Pre-primary education
  • increase the number of quality school places in the first cycle
  • ensure that all pupils whose families request it have a free school place in the second cycle of the stage
Primary education

ensure every child has a quality school place: suitable educational institutions, specialised teachers with adequate initial and continuing training, ratios within the limits allowed by the current legal framework, individual attention, etc.

Compulsory secondary education and Bachillerato
  • reduce the early school leaving rate
  • improve educational results according to international criteria
  • promote employability and stimulate students’ entrepreneurial spirit
Vocational training
implementation of the new basic vocational training cycles and anticipation of choice and the new pathways in the 3rd and 4rd years of compulsory secondary education
Grants and financial support

ensure that students who are talented and willing to study beyond compulsory and free education can do so irrespective of their socio-economic circumstances. In exchange, students who receive this effort made by society hold a co-responsibility for complying with their obligation to study and achieve proportional results.

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice Spain–Spanish Network for Information on Education (National Centre for Educational Innovation and Research, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport) on the basis of the Economic and Financial Report accompanying State Budget for 2016.

Bodies responsible for public funding

  • Organisation of the public financing system

This organisation is in line with the decentralisation of educational responsibilities. Public funds are provided mainly by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport and regional education authorities. Other ministries, as well as other regional and local authorities, also provide economic support, although to a lesser extent.

  • State: the amounts allocated to education and their distribution among the different educational stages are annually established in the State Budget. It manages public funds for its sphere of management:
    • the Cities of Ceuta and Melilla
    • educational institutions abroad.
  • Autonomous Communities: they manage public funds within their territories and decide on the amounts earmarked for education and their distribution among the different types of provision, programmes and services, which is annually established in their budgets. Such funds come from:
    • the taxes they collect and other revenues
    • State transfers: the amounts established for each Autonomous Community are determined by different parameters, especially population ones.
  • Local governments: although they do not have the status of education authority, they cooperate with central and regional authorities in developing education policies and, more specifically, in the creation, building and maintenance of facilities for public educational institutions. Their funds come from the collection of taxes and other revenues, as well as from transfers from the State and the relevant Autonomous Community.

For more information, see Administration and governance at central and/or regional level and Administration and governance at local and/or institutional level.

  • Organisation of the general system of grants and financial support

The State regulates and finances the system from the State Budget so that everybody enjoys the same conditions in the exercise of the right to education, irrespective of place of residence or income levels.

They are financed in three ways:

  • grants and financial support which are managed by the Autonomous Communities: the State regulates and finances them. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport decides on the different categories, the amounts to be awarded, the academic and economic requirements that candidates must meet and the situations leading to incompatibility; the Autonomous Communities are in charge of their development, implementation and control, so as to facilitate decentralised management of resources and cater for territorial diversity
  • grants and financial support for students enrolled in the Centre for the Innovation and Development of Distance Education, schools in the Cities of Ceuta and Melilla and Spanish educational institutions abroad: the State regulates, finances and manages them
  • grants of the Autonomous Communities: they regulate and finance them their own budgets.

Local authorities may also establish their own grants and financial support.

It ensures that education is free of charge and is established in the budgets of the relevant education authorities.

The minimum amount of funding to be provided for each school unit (group of students being collectively and simultaneously taught by a teacher on an ordinary basis) is annually set by the State in its Budget.

The amounts in the table include the three economic modules for the distribution of public funds for publicly-funded private schools: teaching staff salaries (including social charges), variable costs and other costs.

Minimum amount of public funding for each school unit in publicly-funded private schools. 2015 (in EUR)


Autonomous Communities
Ceuta and Melilla(a)
Pre-primary and primary education
37 448.07
44 437.97
Special education: Basic/Primary education1
37 842.45
-
Special education: Transition to adulthood training programmes1
69 455.81
-
Compulsory secondary education (1st and 2nd year)2
54 311.71
65 361.68
Compulsory secondary education (3rd and 4th year)
61 325.47
72 348.88
Bachillerato
73 073.09
-
Basic vocational training3
65 597.12 - 73 549.91
67 684.16
Intermediate vocational training cycles4
65 026.81 - 68 394.92
-

(a)The expenditure is higher due to the cost-of-living allowance paid to teaching and administration and services staff in those educational institutions.

1It also includes additional staff costs (speech therapists, physiotherapists, educational technical assistants, educational psychologists and social workers) according to students’ needs: students with intellectual disabilities, autism or serious personality disorders, hearing disabilities or combined impairments. Depending on the specific need, the amounts range from EUR 16 315.49 to EUR 23 228.25 in the case of basic special education, and from EUR 24 882.48 to EUR 35 711.11 for transition to adulthood training programmes. The Autonomous Communities may adapt special education additional staff modules to the demands resulting from the applicable regulations in each region

2This amount corresponds to school units where teachers hold a Bachelor degree. If they are school teachers, the minimum amount for each school unit would be EUR 45 440.16, or EUR 56 551.93 in the case of the Cities of Ceuta and Melilla

3This amount varies depending on the group the specific basic vocational training programme belongs to, since the State Budget divides basic vocational training into groups depending on the expenditure they imply.

4This amount varies depending on the group the specific training cycle belongs to, since the State Budget divides training cycles depending on the number of hours and the expenditure they imply. In addition, the interval shown in the table refers to the 1st year. In the case of the 2nd year, funding varies and may be lowered or increased.

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice Spain–Spanish Network for Information on Education (National Centre for Educational Innovation and Research, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport) on the basis of the State Budget for 2016.

  • Financing of their own programmes and collaboration in joint programmes

They are financed by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport and regional education authorities in order to respond to the priorities established in the field of education.

Public funding for cofinanced programmes is distributed among the Autonomous Communities as agreed in the Sectoral Committee for Education. For more information, see Sectoral Committee for Education.

Distribution criteria depend on the characteristics of the programme, although the number of public institutions offering the studies that are relevant for the programme as well as the number of students enrolled in those institutions and taking those studies is normally taken into account.

Non-university education financing system

Non-university education financing system
Source: Drawn up by Eurydice Spain–Spanish Network for Information of Education (National Centre for Educational Innovation and Research, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport).

Financial autonomy and control

Every school year, the education authorities establish the material and human resources for each public institution in their territory, on the basis of:

  • educational stage
  • number of units
  • size
  • opening hours
  • supplementary services it provides
  • characteristics of its population
  • specific needs to be determined by the management team of the institution.

In addition, they may receive additional funding from:

  • the local administration, institutions of the European Union or other international bodies
  • legacies and donations
  • agreements signed with individuals or legal entities
  • the benefits obtained from the sale of facilities as a result of educational activities or which are currently not being used
  • income from the use of school facilities by municipal governments and other bodies, or by individuals or legal entities.

School autonomy

The education authorities favour school autonomy so that educational institutions can adapt their economic, material and human resources to their own action and organisation plan.

School governing bodies purchase goods and contract services and supplies or undertake repairs in facilities.

Public schools may also establish, in order to comply with their school development plans, their own qualification and professional competence requirements to fill certain positions.

Since 2013, educational institutions can develop actions aimed at promoting quality and equal access to education, which results in a direct increase in their autonomy in terms of pedagogical and curricular organisation, organisational management and management of resources. The funding of the education authorities may thus be bigger in the case of public educational institutions or publicly-funded private schools whose project might require so or whose population has specific needs. In addition, they set some limits so that educational institutions can obtain additional resources, subsequent to approval by the headteacher.

The management capacity of school headteachers, by giving them, as representatives of the education authority in the school and responsible for the school development plan, the opportunity to exercise greater pedagogical and management leadership, has been strengthened.

(2006 Education Act and 2013 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education, which modifies the former).

Control and accountability of educational institutions

  • Control of educational institutions

Public educational institutions articulate the distribution and use of their material and human resources by means of a management project. They also draw up an annual budget, which must be approved by the School Council.

Ultimate responsibility over management of school resources falls on the school’s headteacher.

  • Accountability of educational institutions

Public educational institutions are held accountable for the management of their resources through a report which states the amounts received, the expenses incurred and the resulting credit/debit balance.

This document must also include a supplementary report on:

  • the academic results obtained during the year
  • the evolution of the indicators established in the report attached to the annual budget of the institution.

Bigger allocations for publicly-funded educational institutions are subject to accountability and justification that resources have been properly used.

Additional resources cannot come from activities organised by parents’ associations, in compliance with their purposes, and must be used to cover the school’s expenses.

(2006 Education Act and 2013 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education, which modifies the former).

The management team draws up a budget, which is submitted by the headteacher to the School Council for approval. Once authorised, it is sent to the relevant education authority.

All the documents submitted must be made available for verification to the inspectors of education, regional bodies with competence over budget or tax issues or the Court of Auditors, among others.

For more information, see Management of resources.

Fees within public education

  • Pre-primary education: first (0-3 years of age) and second cycle (3-6 years of age)

The authorities owning the school establish the fees families have to pay in these public educational institutions:

  • the first cycle is not free, but a gradual increase in the number of publicly-funded school places in collaboration with regional education authorities has been promoted since 2006
  • free provision of the second cycle of this non-compulsory educational stage was extended, leading to an enrolment rate close to 100%.

The education authorities may regulate the maximum public prices in public educational institutions, for which they normally take into account the following criteria:

  • having more children attending the same school
  • income of the household
  • extended school hours
  • use of the canteen service.
  • Primary education and up to the 3rd year of compulsory secondary education

It is provided free of charge in publicly-funded schools.

Families only cover the costs of school materials, textbooks and supplementary services, such as meals or transport. However, there are grants to help them pay for these expenses. Families may also contribute to the improvement of school materials or to extracurricular activities by means of voluntary fees paid to parents’ associations.

  • From the 3rd year of compulsory secondary education and post-compulsory secondary education

Registration in public schools requires payment of a small fee for school insurance, which covers in case of family hardship, accident or illness. The fee is directly paid, through a bank account, to the educational institution, which transfers it to the Social Security Treasury, reporting to Ministry of Employment and Social Security.

Financial support for learners’ families

The different authorities, national, regional and local, provide different types of financial support for students’ families.

The State administration offers two types of assistance: direct financial support and tax deductions.

  • Direct financial support

It is general in nature and provided by the Social Security. There are three types:

  • benefits for dependent children or minors: for families with one child whose income is less than EUR 11 576.83 per year, a threshold which gradually increases as the number of dependent children also increases. These families receive EUR 291 per child per year
  • birth and adoption benefits, for large families, multiple births and other cases
  • benefits for families with children, both minors and children of full age, who have some kind of disability. They do not depend on family income, but on the degree of disability of the children.
  • Tax deductions

They depend on the number of children and family income levels. Women with children under the age of 3 to care for, either self-employed or employed by others, are entitled to a tax deduction of up to EUR 1 200 per year for each son or daughter of that age.

In addition, there is specific financial support for:

  • single-parent families
  • parents who are chronically ill
  • large families (three or more children). They receive the largest amount of specific financial support, such as:
    • transport discounts
    • preferential status when applying for grants
    • reduction or exemption from public fees
    • housing benefits
    • some fiscal benefits.

Financial support for families of pupils with special educational needs

Families with children with special educational needs may receive social aid as well as support for their children’s education.

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport annually offers direct financial support, for their children's education, for families of students with special educational needs associated to a disability or to severe behaviour disorders, including children affected by Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) who require specialised educational support.

This assistance covers the costs of:

  • registration fees
  • transport
  • meals
  • residence
  • textbooks and school materials
  • pedagogical or language reeducation.

In order to be eligible, household income and capital must not exceed a certain threshold.

In the 2014/15 academic year, a total of 9 007 students with special educational needs received this assistance, which represented 41.7% of the total number of students enrolled that year, 21 616 students (without including integration students).

Apart from this financial support, there are also subsidies to help large families pay for school transport and meals expenses. In this case, household income and capital is not taken into consideration and they are compatible with the different components mentioned, with the exception of transport, meals and residence.

The amounts received for the cost of transport may reach up to 50% more in the case of students with a degree of motor disability higher than 65%.

In order to be eligible for this assistance and subsidies, applicants must:

  • hold a certificate which proves that they have a special need
  • be at least 2 years old. Exceptionally, children under 2 may be awarded financial assistance, provided that the relevant educational teams determine the need for the child to attend a school due to the specific characteristics of his/her disability
  • be enrolled in one of the following educational levels:
    • pre-primary education
    • primary education
    • compulsory secondary education
    • Bachillerato
    • intermediate and advanced vocational training
    • professional artistic education
    • training programmes for the transition into adult life.
  • be enrolled in a special education school, in a specific special education unit within a school offering mainstream education, or in a school offering mainstream education with students with special educational needs.

Financial support and subsidies are not available whenever the need for which the allowance is aimed is already covered by publicly-funded services, or by funds directly transferred to schools to finance this type of provision.

Financial support for learners

There are three types of assistance to begin or pursue a programme of studies which are valid throughout the country: 

  • financial support: awarded on the sole basis of the applicant’s socio-economic circumstances. It does not include individual financial help to cover the expenses of supplementary services which the education authorities must offer free-of-charge as established by legislation to students enrolled in basic education who must attend school in a town other than their place of residence: transport, meals and boarding
  • grants: awarded on the basis of the applicant’s socio-economic circumstances and academic achievement
  • awards: aimed at students with high academic achievement.

The requirements in order to be eligible, as well as household income and capital thresholds, are annually updated.

Compulsory education

Apart from these grants and financial support which are entirely financed by the State, the latter, through the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, cofinances grants with the Autonomous Communities.

Regional education authorities also finance certain supplementary services, such as meals, transport, residence and boarding.

Post-compulsory education

The State, through the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, annually offers grants and financial support in all the Autonomous Communities:

General grants and financial support

  • mobility
  • urban transport
  • residence
  • school materials
  • fee waivers
  • to pay for educational costs arising from attendance to schools in highly-populated towns or metropolitan areas (city supplements)
  • for schooling children in private schools or in private schools which are partly financed with public funds.

They can include additional aid to compensate for lack of working income due to enrolment in education programmes.

In August 2012, the system of grants and financial support from the 2012/13 academic year, by which students were obliged to assume the same responsibility established for university students, was modified:

  • Bachillerato and intermediate vocational training students: they have to enrol for a year or in, at least, half of the modules of the cycle
  • the grant is not awarded to students who repeat part or all of a year, and they must have passed all the subjects or modules of the previous year.

In Bachillerato, for the 2013/14 academic year, the following requirements were established in order to be eligible for a grant:

  • students in the 1st year of Bachillerato had to prove they had obtained an average mark of 6 in the 4th year of compulsory secondary education or in the entrance examination
  • students in the 2nd or subsequent years of post-compulsory education organised into areas or subjects had to prove they had passed, at least, all the areas or subjects of the previous year, except for one
  • those in the second or subsequent years of post-compulsory education organised into modules had to prove they had passed, at least, a number of modules which represented 85% of the total number of hours of the relevant year.

In August 2013, the thresholds of family income and assets and the size of grants and financial support for students in post-compulsory and higher education, as well as for students with special educational needs, without establishing a specific number of beneficiaries, were approved. In addition, the system of personalised grants and financial support was modified.

The changes approved were three:

  1. the five thresholds of family income and assets in force above which students are not eligible for a grant or financial support are grouped into three
  2. the awarding system consists of two parts:

Basic core: an amount that guarantees the right to education for those who have the lowest incomes, assistance to cover the cost of accommodation for those who have to travel and exemption from payment of public prices

Varying amount: it is calculated, depending on the specific call and beneficiary, through a formula taking into account family income and academic performance: the lower the income and the better the performance, the bigger the amount. For the same income, better performances will lead to greater amounts; for the same performance, those on lower incomes will be entitled to bigger amounts.

Amounts corresponding to non-university post-compulsory education students

THRESHOLD 1

a fixed amount of EUR 1 500 depending on income; a fixed amount of EUR 1 500 to cover accommodation costs, where appropriate; and a varying amount depending on student performance and family income of at least EUR 60

THRESHOLD 2

basic grant of EUR 200; a fixed amount of EUR 1 500 to cover accommodation costs, where appropriate; and a varying amount depending on student performance and family income of at least EUR 60

THRESHOLD 3

basic grant of EUR 200.

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice Spain-Spanish Network for Information on Education (National Centre for Educational Innovation and Research, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport) on the basis of the Reference from the Cabinet meeting held on 2 August 2013.

The new awarding system also establishes that:

  • non-university students taking access courses and examinations for intermediate vocational training are awarded the basic grant and receive the minimum varying amount, provided they are within Threshold 2
  • the following additional support is maintained: for students living in the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands, or Ceuta and Melilla; last year’s subsidies and assistance for students with special educational needs related to a disability or serious conduct disorder, which may reach up to 50% more in the case of students with a degree of motor disability higher than 65%; and financial aid for highly gifted students
  • all students whose family income falls within Threshold 3 are entitled to a grant, at least exemption from registration fees or the basic grant.

3. academic requirements, along the lines of taking greater account of the student's academic performance:

  • the academic requirements announced in 2012 are included in the general system of grants and financial support for the 2013/14 academic year
  • some changes are made regarding the academic requirements to be met by new candidates:
    • students of the 1st year of Bachillerato: in order to be eligible for any type of grant, they must prove they have obtained an average mark of 5.5 in the 4th year of compulsory secondary education or in the entrance examination
    • intermediate vocational training students: students in the 2nd or subsequent years of post-compulsory education organised into modules have to prove they have passed, at least, a number of modules that represents 85% of the total number of hours of the relevant year.

Awards

They are aimed at Bachillerato students with high academic achievement. They include:

  • Excellence Awards, given by the Autonomous Communities
  • National Awards for Bachillerato, organised by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport for students who have received an Excellence Award. This Award is given on the basis of the results obtained in a national examination. 

Students with special educational needs associated to high intellectual capacities

It consists of a single payment to cover the cost of enrolment in specific programmes, which supplement mainstream provision and are not provided for free by the relevant education authorities.

Household income and capital must not exceed a certain threshold.

In order to be eligible, applicants must:

  • hold a certificate which proves that they have a special need
  • be at least 6 years old
  • be enrolled in one of the following educational levels:
    • primary education
    • compulsory secondary education
    • Bachillerato
    • intermediate vocational training
    • professional artistic education.

In the 2014/15 academic year, a total of 1 801 750 students in pre-primary education, primary education, compulsory secondary education, special education, Bachillerato and intermediate vocational training received a grant. The total amount was EUR 945.50 million.

Number of grant holders and percentage they represent, according to educational level. 2014/15 academic year 


Grant holders1
Percentage
Pre-primary education
209 539
22.04%
Primary education
525 203
35.06%
Compulsory secondary education
117 557
12.43%
Special education
9 007
41.67%
Bachillerato
183 803
28.79%
Intermediate vocational training
77 760
23.31%

1These figures can be slightly overestimated for some Autonomous Communities, because they have made the number of students receiving financial help equivalent to the number of grants awarded.

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice Spain–Spanish Network for Information on Education (National Centre for Educational Innovation and Research, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport) on the basis of Statistics on Grants and Financial Support, 2014/15 academic year. Subdirectorate General for Statistics and Studies, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport.

For more information, see Mobility in early childhood and school education.

Private education

Students in private schools are eligible for the same grants and financial support than those attending public institutions.

A 17.13% of the students included in the above table are enrolled in private educational institutions.

For more information, see Organisation of private education.

Publicly-funded private schools

The education authorities establish educational agreements in order to provide public funding to educational institutions of private ownership.

The beneficiary of this type of funding is the school unit, i.e., group of students being collectively and simultaneously taught by a teacher on an ordinary basis. Several school units may coexist in the same institution, some of them are considered grant-aided while others are completely private.

For more information, see Organisation of private education

These schools select their own teaching staff, although salaries corresponding to classes taught in grant-aided school units are directly paid to teachers by the relevant education authority.

The management of both non-teaching staff and material and economic resources in grant-aided school units must be in line with the allocation of expenses established by public authorities for financing educational agreements.

As far as fees are concerned, there are two types of educational agreements:

  • grant-aided units providing the second cycle of pre-primary education, primary education and compulsory secondary education are entirely financed with public funds and free for families (general educational agreements)
  • grant-aided units offering other types of provision are partly financed with public funds (singular educational agreements), so students have to pay fees the amount of which depends on the specific Autonomous Community. In the case of Bachillerato, as a general rule, fees cannot exceed the limits annually established in the State Budget. In 2014, the amount ranges from EUR 18 to 36 per student per month, ten months a year. However, these amounts may be increased in some cases which are recognised by legislation on education.

Publicly-funded private schools are allowed to supplement their income by means of charging fees to parents for additional and extracurricular activities and services, provided that no member of the school community is discriminated against, the activities always take place out of school hours, are voluntary and have a non-profit character. However, the income obtained by means of these fees requires approval from the relevant education authority.

When it comes to accountability, in general, regional education authorities apply to grant-aided school units the same mechanisms as in public schools.

As regards tax relief, educational services up to university levels, provided by either public or private institutions authorised by the relevant authorities, are exempt from payment of VAT.

Furthermore, in some Autonomous Communities, there are additional tax benefits for families with regard to school fees and associated costs, regardless of the type of educational institution chosen.

Private non grant-aided schools

Private schools enjoy autonomy to draw up their own internal regulations, select teachers, in compliance with qualification requirements set up in current legislation, and decide on their economic regime.

Their main source of income is the fees charged to families, although they may also receive additional funding through transfers made by private institutions or individuals.

They charge fees for their educational services, namely:

  • tuition (formal education)
  • out-of-school supplementary activities (trips and/or visits)
  • extracurricular activities
  • supplementary services (meals, transport and residence)
  • other services, such as extended school hours in early child education, health care, etc.

Regarding tax relief, educational services up to university levels, provided by either public or private institutions authorised by the relevant authorities, are exempt from payment of VAT.

In addition, in some Autonomous Communities, there are additional tax benefits for families with regard to school fees and associated costs, regardless of the type of educational institution chosen.

As far as grants and financial support are concerned, families may apply for financial help from the education authorities to cover the cost of registration and tuition fees of children attending private pre-primary schools.

In this case, they cannot apply for State assistance to cover the expenses of textbooks and school materials. Despite this, the Autonomous Communities may provide financial support to students enrolled in compulsory education in order to contribute towards the costs of textbooks and school materials or meals. 

In post-compulsory non-university levels, as a general rule, the types of grants and financial support available are the same as the ones offered for students attending publicly-funded schools.

There is a component which is specifically addressed to pupils in private schools and earmarked for tuition costs in these institutions. This financial assistance can be awarded to students who do not exceed a maximum income level and who are enrolled in Bachillerato, vocational training, professional artistic education or sports education.