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Spain:National Reforms in School Education

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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

Contents

2017

‘Subject Empathy’ project against school bullying

'Subject Empathy' is an innovative project jointly developed by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport and the company Samsung. The two organisations signed a collaboration agreement designed to prevent school bullying by making a positive use of technology.

The first action of this project has been the production of a virtual reality video recreating a cyberbullying case among adolescents in an educational institution and the way it is resolved by the same students. The video was presented at the 'Aula 2017' education fair.

This action serves as a starting point for a study that will be conducted by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, Samsung and the education authorities that may adhere to the collaboration agreement. Its objective is to measure the degree of school bullying awareness. The initial sample size of the study will be approximately 1 000 students of the 1st year of compulsory secondary education from all over Spain. Subsequently, and in accordance with its results, new virtual reality pieces with families playing a leading role will be created. The study is planned to be carried out between March and June 2017.

2016

Extension of the schedule for implementation of the 2013 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education

The Government has entered into a dialogue process with all other political groupings and the educational community to reach a social and political State pact for education, in order to ensure the regulatory stability of the education system. Different decisions have been made within this process:

New developments adopted in the evaluations at the end of a stage

Final evaluation in primary education and compulsory secondary education

  • carried out on a sample of students in order to obtain representative data
  • diagnostic purposes
  • the education authorities may increase the number of schools participating above sampling needs or evaluate all students.

In addition, in compulsory secondary education,

  • it assesses the extent to which the mathematical, linguistic, and the social and civil skills have been acquired, having as main reference the general subjects within the set of core subjects taken in the 4th year of compulsory secondary education. For more information, see Organisation of the second cycle of compulsory secondary education (4th year)
  • no academic purposes: students are not required to pass it in order to obtain the Lower Compulsory Secondary Education Certificate and results are not included in the student’s academic record
  • the Lower Compulsory Secondary Education Certificates issued until the entry into force of the legislation produced under the State Pact enable access to any type of post-compulsory studies of the education system.

For more information, see Design of external evaluations at the end of the stage, implemented from the 2015/16 academic year and Design of external evaluations at the end of compulsory secondary education and Bachillerato.

Final evaluation in Bachillerato

For more information, see Final evaluation in Bachillerato.

Changes in basic vocational training

Until the entry into force of the legislation produced under the State Pact, students who are awarded a Basic Vocational Training Certificate may obtain the Lower Compulsory Secondary Education Certificate, provided the teaching team considers they have achieved the objectives of compulsory secondary education and acquired the corresponding skills in the final evaluation of the training cycle.

Territorial Cooperation Programmes between the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport and the Departments for Education of the Autonomous Communities

The Cabinet approved the distribution between the Autonomous Communities of more than EUR 385 million for the development of measures and programmes to improve the education system.

The following programmes will be developed in the stages of primary and secondary education until 31 December 2017, when the amounts allocated will expire:

PROGRAMMES

AMOUNT ALLOCATED

Financing of textbooks and didactic materials
EUR 24 000 000
Foreign language learning
EUR 7 000 000
School coexistence
EUR 1 500 000
Special educational needs
EUR 13 500 000
School health
EUR 1 500 000
Financing of the implementation of new pathways in compulsory secondary education
EUR 93 800 000
Aid for confederations and federations of parents’ associations
EUR 203 280
Financing of the development of final evaluation tests in primary education
EUR 1 450 000

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 Agreements adopted by the Cabinet on 9 December 2016.

Distribution of EUR 385.3 million between the Autonomous Communities
Andalusia
EUR 86 170 125.43
Aragon
EUR 11 772 831.21
Asturias
EUR 5 686 400.71
Balearic Islands
EUR 10 565 879.13
Canary Islands
EUR 20 497 339.14
Cantabria
EUR 6 033 140.00
Castile-Leon
EUR 26 282 347.69
Castile-La Mancha
EUR 26 384 850.76
Catalonia
EUR 7 608 459.98
Valencia
EUR 49 498 260.77
Extremadura
EUR 13 813 363.67
Galicia
EUR 23 629 699.72
Madrid
EUR 48 602 831.18
Murcia
EUR 19 501 558.36
Navarre
EUR 4 924 247.61
Basque Country
EUR 19 495 673.34
Rioja
EUR 4 886 019.86
TOTAL
EUR 385 353 028.56

Source: Drawn up by Eurydice Spain-Spanish Network for Information on Education (Nataional Centre for Educational Innovation and Research, Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport) on the basis of the Agreements adopted by the Cabinet on 9 December 2016.

Design of external evaluations at the end of compulsory secondary education and Bachillerato

The basic characteristics of these tests were established in July in order to standardise their principles throughout the national territory.

Regarding their design and implementation, responsibility is divided between the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport and regional education authorities.

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport stipulates the following for the whole education system:

  • specifications table
  • minimum and maximum number of questions
  • item typology
  • evaluation units
  • context questionnaires
  • school common indicators.

It also specifies the deadlines for the evaluations and for resolving the procedures for the revision of the grades obtained, with the aim of ensuring the standardisation of the tests.

The criteria for the evaluation of the extent to which student learning has been acquired are set in accordance with the basic curriculum of the corresponding stage.

Regional education authorities are responsible for performing the following tasks in accordance with the guidelines established by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport: 

  • design, development and implementation of the tests
  • setting of the dates of the tests and the revision procedures
  • coordination between schools, universities and other bodies producing the materials for the test
  • appointment and composition of the examination boards
  • claims settlement.

The final evaluations of both stages share certain features: 

  • there is one test for each subject being assessed. Each test comprises the appropriate evaluation units, and each evaluation unit includes at least two questions based on the stimulus proposed. In total, there is a maximum of 15 questions or items in each test
  • evaluation units that are contextualised within environments close to students’ life
  • each test includes open and semi-structured questions. Multiple choice questions might also be used, provided that the percentage of open and semi-structured questions in each test is at least 50%.

And differ on other elements:

Compulsory secondary education

Bachillerato

Test format

Each test lasts a maximum of 60 minutes, with 15-minute breaks between each session

Each test lasts a maximum of 90 minutes, with 20-minute breaks between each session

Participation requirements

Apart from compulsory secondary education students meeting the requirements already established, students holding a basic vocational training certificate can also take it.

Apart from Bachillerato students meeting the requirements already established, students holding a vocational training Technician or Advanced Technician certificate or a Technician certificate in music and dance professional studies can also take it.

Award of the certificate for vocational training students

Students holding a basic vocational training certificate can obtain the Lower Compulsory Secondary Education Certificate in any of its two options, by passing the final evaluation at the end of compulsory secondary evaluation in the subjects from the set of core subjects that they must take in the option they have chosen. 

Students holding a vocational training Technician or Advanced Technician certificate or a Technician certificate in music and dance professional studies can obtain the Bachillerato certificate  by passing the final evaluation at the end of Bachillerato in the subjects from the set of core subjects that they must take in the branch they have chosen. 

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 current legislation.

For more information, see Design of external evaluations at the end of the stage, implemented from the 2015/16 academic year.

Change in the external evaluation at the end of Bachillerato

This change is the result of the agreement reached between the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport and the President of the Conference of Spanish University Rectors in November.

In the new evaluation, students will be examined in six core subjects (general and optional) of the second year of the stage:

  • four general core subjects through which students will be able to obtain a score of between 0-10 points
  • two optional core subjects which will enable students to raise their score to 14points.

Universities in collaboration with the Autonomous Communities will participate in the conduct of the examination.

Strategic Plan for School Coexistence

Presented in January by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, it is intended to serve as a reference for students, teachers and families concerning coexistence, and as a framework for cooperation between the different ministries and the Autonomous Communities. Among the 70 measures of the Plan, the following should be noted:

  • protocol for bullying: in order to prevent bullying in the classroom and take immediate action if necessary. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport will work in coordination with the Autonomous Communities to implement it
  • specific training for teachers and management teams:
  1. selection processes in order to have access to teaching positions will include and strengthen contents and competences relating to school coexistence, both in the syllabus and during the traineeship period
  2. courses and seminars on successful educational initiatives in different locations, as well as practices based on scientific criteria, will be developed with school actors, in order to implement them in educational institutions.
  • ‘zero tolerance’ State network of schools: recognise, at State level, educational institutions that have improved coexistence through:
    • the implementation of participation and educational inclusion plans and projects
    • the prevention of violent situations
    • safe measures to support victims
    • the reduction of discrimination against vulnerable groups.
  • collaboration with other ministries and bodies:
  1. Ministry of Internal Affairs. Master Plan for Coexistence and the Improvement of Security in Educational Institutions and their Environments: the aim is to encourage education and promotion actions in schools, in order to improve the personal and public safety of children and young people, enhance their familiarity with the State security forces and bodies, and collaborate in the prevention and eradication of violent behaviour at school, especially violence towards peers or bullying
  2. Spanish Data Protection Agency. Agreement between the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport and the Spanish Data Protection Agency: the aim is to train students and teachers on issues related to privacy and data protection on the Internet, as well as on an appropriate and safe use of social networks
  3. In collaboration with the Autonomous Communities through a territorial cooperation programme: in order to work on data collection, as well as on the results and information about their effect and impact on the improvement of coexistence.
  • institutional measures to support the Plan:
  1. establishment of a telephone number that victims of bullying can call for help
  2. State Monitoring Centre for School Coexistence
  3. State Register of Coexistence
  4. Central Sex Offenders Register.  
  • guides and manuals:
  1. Parents’ Guide, with information on how to detect the signs of bullying
  2. Manual to Support the Victims of Bullying at State Level, including information on detection and intervention protocols.
  • dissemination of current information related to the Plan and school coexistence in general:
  1. State Conference on School Coexistence, which is held annually
  2. web page on school coexistence
  3. institutional communication campaign on school coexistence. 

Telephone number for victims of school bullying

Presented in October by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, it is aimed at all members of the school community and families, as well as any other person who has witnessed cases of abuse or bullying both inside and outside the school. Cyberbullying via the Internet, mobile phones or social media sites is also included.

Calls are exclusively handled by qualified staff in the area of psychology, although social workers, lawyers and sociologists, who provide the care minors need, are also employed at the service. The services provided include consultation and referral to State security forces, the education inspectorate, health centres, the public prosecutor and other competent authorities and institutions, always on a voluntary, anonymous and confidential basis, if users so desire.

Services are also provided to people with hearing (text messages) or speech (sign language via video call) disabilities.

2015

Expenditure on education policy in 2015

The State Budget for 2015 was approved in December 2014.

The expenditure on education policy in 2015 amounted to EUR 2 272.86 million, a 4.5% more as compared to 2014.

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, in collaboration with the Autonomous Communities, and under the policy of containing public spending, concentrates available financial resources on programmes which are strategic for the education system:

  1. Pre-Primary and Primary Education Budget Programme: the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport allocates EUR 158.89 million. The budget for the financing of primary education is included in the budget item for both pre-primary and primary education, which amounts to EUR 158.89 million, a 0.3% less than in 2014. The main funding target in primary education is to guarantee a school place for all the pupils of the stage in quality conditions
  2. budget for the financing of secondary education: it is included in the budget item for secondary education, vocational training and official language schools, which amounts to EUR 237.35 million, a 135.2% more than in 2014. The main funding targets in secondary education in the area of management of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport are the following:
  • maintain full secondary schooling in public educational institutions
  • improve the quality of public educational institutions providing secondary education
  • implement the new basic vocational training cycles
  • implement anticipation of choice and the new pathways in the 3rd and 4th years of compulsory secondary education.
  1. budget for grants and financial support for students of all educational levels it amounts to EUR 1 469.60 million, a 0.2% more than in 2014.
  2. implementation of the Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education, modifying the 2006 Education Act: it will have a budget of EUR 964 million until 2017. Of that amount, EUR 614 million is aid from the European Social Fund (ESF) corresponding to the 2014-2020 period and the rest comes from the budgets of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport. Spain will allocate EUR 226 million from the ESF 10th Thematic Objective, ‘Invest in education, training and vocational training for the acquisition of skills and lifelong learning’ to the implementation of the new pathways in the 3rd and 4th years of compulsory secondary education. In addition, for its consolidation, expected to be concluded in 2020, EUR 400 million per year will be needed, which has to be studied in future meetings of the Fiscal and Financial Policy Council, comprising the Minister of Finance and Public Administrations and the Finance Ministers of the different Autonomous Communities.

Relationship between the key skills, the contents and the evaluation criteria for compulsory education and Bachillerato

Skill-based learning is distinguished by its dynamism, cross-cutting nature and comprehensiveness and, therefore, a skill-based teaching/learning process must be addressed from all the knowledge areas and elements of the curriculum.

In order to ensure the implementation of this principle in all the educational institutions of the country, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport published the relationship between the key skills, the contents and the evaluation criteria for primary education, compulsory secondary education and Bachillerato:

  • the objectives of the stages must be closely linked to key skills. This requires the design of educational methodologies and activities for students to acquire the skills in a cross-cutting way and progressively throughout the different educational levels
  • key skills must be integrated into the different areas or subjects of curricular proposals, and students’ learning outcomes must also be defined and developed. All subjects must contribute to the development of the different skills through their contents, methodology and evaluation criteria, which must be expressed as learning standards
  • the evaluation of the extent to which skills have been acquired must be related to the evaluation of the contents, and performance standards is measured through indicators of achievement, such as evaluation scales, always including ranges to assess performance
  • teachers must use a variety of methods, and include strategies allowing the participation of students in the evaluation of their achievements, such as self-evaluation, peer evaluation or co-evaluation
  • through evaluation, teachers must ensure respect for the principle to address the needs of diversity.

In addition, it provides some orientations to facilitate the development of methodological strategies enabling skill-based work:

  • adapt teaching/learning strategies to the students’ socio-educational context and skills level
  • select interactive and motivating methodologies, such as project work or the use of portfolios
  • promote coordination and common thinking among teachers with regard to the establishment of strategies that are linked together, which enables to address the treatment of skills in an integrated way.

Personalised attention to students and individualised evaluation in primary education

The main aims of the reform of the education system under way since the 2014/15 school year are, among others:

  • reduce the early school leaving rate in education and training
  • improve the educational results according to international criteria, regarding both the comparative rate of excellent students and the rate of students holding the Lower Compulsory Secondary Education Certificate.

In primary education, personalised attention is given to students, early diagnoses are made and support mechanisms are established in order to achieve school success. It is for that reasong that the education authorities are urged to conduct an individualised evaluation of students on completion of the 3rd year of the stage.

This evaluation is intended to verify the level of skills, capacities and abilities in oral and written expression and comprehension, calculation and problem-solving in terms of the extent to which students have acquired the linguistic and the mathematical competences. Thus, if the evaluation is negative, the teaching team may adopt the most appropriate ordinary and extraordinary measures.

(2013 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education, modifying the 2006 Education Act).

In order to provide information and guidance to the educational community, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, through the National Institute for Educational Evaluation, offers a test model and the general framework for this evaluation, developed in collaboration with 14 regional authorities and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, apart from the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA).

Individualised evaluations were conducted for the first time in May 2015, following the implementation of the 3rd year of this stage in the 2014/15 academic year.

Implementation of the Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education (2013), which modifies the Education Act (2006), in secondary education

The reform of the education system under way since the 2014/15 school year intends to rationalise and flexibilise compulsory and post-compulsory education provision (2013 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education, modifying the 2006 Education Act).

The basic curriculum for compulsory secondary education and Bachillerato, which began to be implemented in the 2015/16 academic year in the 1st and 3rd years of compulsory secondary education and in the 1st year of Bachillerato, was approved in December 2014. Thus, the curriculum and the organisation of provision are modified.

Implementation of the 1st and 3rd years of compulsory secondary education

The basic objective is to contribute to the acquisition of key skills by reinforcing the learning of core subjects. This transformation of the education system requires three elements: 

  • simplification of curricular development in order to provide sound knowledge of contents guaranteeing the effectiveness of basic skills
  • interdisciplinary vision of the contents
  • greater teaching autonomy, thus allowing to meet the demands of a more personalised education.

Compulsory secondary education: It is organised into two cycles.


Firsty cycle: 1st, 2nd and 3th years

Second cycle2: 4th year


1st1 and 2nd year

3th year

Academic subjects as an introduction to Bachillerato

Applied subjects as an introduction to vocational training

Core subjects, studied every year or depending on the option chosen.

The minimum number of hours shall not be less than 50% of the total number of teaching hours generally established by each education authority.

1st, Biology and Geology

2nd, Physics and Chemistry 

Geography and History 

Spanish Language and Literature

Mathematics

First Foreign Language

Biology and Geology

Physics and Chemistry 

Geography and History 

Spanish Language and Literature

First Foreign Language 

Students choose one option:

Mathematics for the academic subjects

Mathematics for the applied subjects

Geography and History

Spanish Language and Literature

Mathematics for the academic subjects 

First Foreign Language

Geography and History

Spanish Language and Literature

Mathematics for the applied subjects 

First Foreign Language 

Optional subjects. Students take at least two.

They are included in the minimum number of hours established for the core subjects.



Biology and Geology

Economics

Physics and Chemistry 

Latin

Science Applied to Professional Activity

Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Business Activity 

Technology

Specific subjects 

  • they are studied every year: Physical Education, Religion or Ethical Values (to be chosen by parents or tutors).
  • students take a minimum of one and a maximum of four, and can be different every year: Classical Culture, Plastic and Visual Education, Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Business Activity, Music, Second Foreign Language, Technology, Religion or Ethical Values.

 

  • all students have to take them: Physical Education, Religion or Ethical Values (to be chosen by parents or tutors).
  • students take a minimum of one and a maximum of four: Performing Arts and Dance, Scientific Culture, Classical Culture, Plastic and Visual Education, Philosophy, Music, Second Foreign Language, Information and Communication Technologies, Religion, Ethical Values, a subject to extend the contents of some of the subjects from the set of core subjects, a subject from the set of core subjects that has not been taken by the student. 

Subjects that are freely structured by the Autonomous Communities, depending on the regulation established by each education authority: 

  • Co-Official Language and Literature, which has the same status as the area of Spanish Language and Literature. 
  • Subjects from the set of specific subjects that have not been taken by the student or subjects to be determined.

(1) In order to facilitate transition from primary education, the education authorities or schools may group the subjects of this year into knowledge areas. (2) Of a preparatory nature, it is not linked to the optional subjects taken in the 3rd year.

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 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education.

  • the First Foreign Language is considered as a core subject
  • the Second Foreign Language is offered as a specific subject to be chosen by students in each year of lower secondary education
  • reading comprehension, oral and written expression, audiovisual communication, information and communication technologies, entrepreneurship and civic and constitutional education will be addressed in all the subjects or areas throughout compulsory education, and without prejudice to their specific treatment in some of them.

Implementation of the programmes to improve learning and performance in the first cycle of compulsory secondary education

The aim is that students with relevant learning difficulties, for reasons other than lack of study or effort, may take the 4th year of the stage through the ordinary procedure and obtain the Lower Compulsory Secondary Education certificate.

These programmes can be implemented from the 2nd year of compulsory secondary education.

At the end of each year of compulsory secondary education, the teaching team offers parents or tutors guidance on the achievement of the intended goals and the extent to which students have acquired the relevant competences. In this way, the most suitable education pathway is proposed, if necessary: participation in this programme or a basic vocational training cycle.

When the teaching team suggests parents or tutors that their children should take part in the programme, these students may find themselves in different situations:  

  • have repeated at least a year at any stage
  • have completed the 1st year of compulsory secondary education but are not ready for progression to the 2nd. The programme they are taking part in is developed in the 2nd and the 3rd years
  • have completed the 2nd year of the stage but are not ready to progress to the 3rd. The programme they are taking part in is developed in the 3rd year
  • have completed the 3rd year of compulsory secondary education but are not ready for progression to the 4th. In this case, they can take part in the programme to repeat the 3rd year on an exceptional basis.

A specific methodology is used in this programme: content organisation, practical activities and, if appropriate, subjects are different from the ones generally established.

In addition, students with disabilities who take these programmes have access to the support resources that are generally established for all.

Implementation of the 1st year of Bachillerato

The rationalisation of the education provision and the increase in the flexibility of educational pathways promote the continuity of students in the education system, considering that its rigidity leads to the exclusion of the students whose expectations are not adjusted to the established framework. 

The curricular development of Bachillerato is also simplified with the aim to contribute to the acquisition of key competences. Thus, the core subjects and the optional subjects within each branch are allocated a minimum number of teaching hours not inferior to 50% of total hours.

Bachillerato: It is organised into two years and four branches.


1st year 

2nd year

Branches

Core subjects1

Optional subjects (students take 2)

Core subjects1

Optional subjects (students take 2)

Sciences

Philosophy

Spanish Language and Literature I 

Mathematics I 

First Foreign Language I

Biology and Geology

Technical Drawing I 

Physics and Chemistry

Spanish History

Spanish Language and Literature II 

Mathematics II 

First Foreign Language II

Biology

Technical Drawing II

Physics

Geology

Chemistry

Humanities

Philosophy

Latin I 

Spanish Language and Literature I 

First Foreign Language I

Economics

Greek I 

Contemporary World History 

Universal Literature

Spanish History

Latin II 

Spanish Language and Literature II 

First Foreign Language II

Business Economics

Geography

Greek II 

History of Art

History of Philosophy 

Social Siences

Philosophy

Spanish Language and Literature I 

Mathematics Applied to Social Sciences I 

First Foreign Language I

Economics

Greek I 

Contemporary World History 

Universal Literature

Latin I

Spanish History

Spanish Language and Literature II 

Mathematics Applied to Social Sciences II 

First Foreign Language II

Business Economics

Geography

Greek II 

History of Art

History of Philosophy

Latin II

Arts

Philosophy

Foundations of Art I 

Spanish Language and Literature I 

First Foreign Language I

Audiovisual Culture I

Contemporary World History

Universal Literature

Foundations of Art II

Spanish History

Spanish Language and Literature II 

First Foreign Language II

Performing Arts

Audiovisual Culture II 

Design

Specific subjects, common to all branches of Bachillerato. 

  • all students have to take them: Physical Education.
  • they take a minimum of two and a maximum of three: Musical Analysis I, Applied Anatomy, Scientific Culture, Artistic Drawing I, Technical Drawing I, Musical Language and Practice, Religion, Second Foreign Language I, Industrial Technology I, Information and Communication Technologies I, Volume, a subject to extend the contents of some of the subjects from the set of core subjects and a subject from the set of core subjects that has not been taken by the student.
  • they take a minimum of two and a maximum of three: Musical Analysis II, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Artistic Drawing II, Technical Drawing II, Foundations of Administration and Management, History of Philosophy, History of Music and Dance, Image and Sound, Psychology, Religion, Second Foreign Language II, Graphic and Plastic Expression Techniques, Industrial Technology II, Information and Communication Technologies II, a subject to extend the contents of some of the subjects from the set of core subjects and a subject from the set of core subjects that has not been taken by the student.  

Subjects that are freely structured by the Autonomous Communities, depending on the regulation established by each education authority: 

  • Co-Official Language and Literature, which has the same status as the area of Spanish Language and Literature. 
  • Subjects from the set of specific subjects that have not been taken by the student, Physical Education (in the 2nd year of Bachillerato) or subjects to be determined.

(1) The minimum number of hours shall not be less than 50% of the total number of teaching hours generally established by each education authority.

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 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education.

Financing of the new pathways in compulsory secondary education and the new basic vocational training cycles

In mid-September 2015, the Cabinet approved the criteria for the territorial distribution of the funds for the implementation of the new pathways in compulsory secondary education and the new basic vocational training cycles. The amounts are the following:

AUTONOMOUS COMMUNITY

AMOUNT IN 2015 (in EUR)

Andalusia

27 926 352.20

Aragon

3 858 706.74

Asturias

1 227 305.86

Balearic Islands

3 541 219.96

Canary Islands

6 782 911.81

Cantabria

1 773 217.29

Castile-La Mancha

9 443 513.54

Castile-Leon

9 040 787.99

Catalonia

13 096 561.07

Valencia

17 501 865.12

Extremadura

4 551 274.41

Galicia

7 224 884.73

Madrid

17 276 620.36

Murcia

6 838 520.26

Navarre

1 804 688.19

Basque Country

7 420 607.67

Rioja

1 687 452.96

TOTAL

141 026 220.16

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 Cabinet’s Reference.

Design of external evaluations at the end of the stage, implemented from the 2015/16 academic year

These evaluations are one of the principles around which the educational reform is built. They constitute one of the main innovations when compared to the previous framework, as well as one of the measures intended to directly improve the quality of the education system. They: 

  • are formative and diagnostic, and focus on the achievement of the objectives of the stage and the acquisition of certain skills
  • guarantee that all students achieve the learning standards that have been established for the relevant certificate and guide them in their school decisions according to their actual knowledge and skills  
  • serve to normalise the qualification standards throughout the country, drawing the attention of the educational community to the level of requirements to be met and introducing elements for the objectivity and comparability of results
  • provide parents, schools and the education authorities with valuable information for future decisions
  • allow accurate assessments and fair comparisons, as well as the monitoring of changes over time in the results obtained.

These tests intend to provide information on the added value of educational institutions in relation to the socio-economic circumstances of their environment and, in particular, on their evolution.

Regarding students, they offer different options and paths so that nobody who wants to continue learning is left outside the education system.

External evaluations at the end of the stage in primary education, compulsory secondary education and Bachillerato(1)


6TH YEAR OF PRIMARY EDUCATION

4TH YEAR OF COMPULSORY SECONDARY EDUCATION

2ND YEAR OF BACHILLERATO

Objective and/or characteristics

  • assess the extent to which the linguistic communication and mathematical skills and the science and technology basic skills have been acquired, as well as the achievement of the objectives of the stage
  • prepare an educational report intended as guidance for educational institutions, teachers, parents or tutors and students
  • that the education authorities may establish specific improvement plans in those educational institutions whose results were lower than the standards set.
  • assess the achievement of the objectives of the stage and the extent to which the relevant skills have been acquired
  • students choose the option (academic subjects or applied subjects) of the final evaluation regardless of the option they have taken, and can also sit it in both options
  • students who have passed all the subjects, in either the ordinary or the supplementary examination session
  • students who have failed a maximum of two, as long as they are not Spanish Language and Literature and Mathematics simultaneously, can take it. To this end, in the Autonomous Communities with a co-official language, the subject of Co-Official Language and Literature has the same status as the subject of Spanish Language and Literature
  • there are at least two annual examination sessions, an ordinary and a supplementary one.
  • assess the achievement of the objectives of the stage and the extent to which the relevant skills have been acquired
  • only students who have passed all the subjects (in either the ordinary or the supplementary examination session) can take it
  • there are at least two annual examination sessions, an ordinary and a supplementary one.

Types and characteristics

  • written or oral examinations in the area of the linguistic communication skill in Spanish Language and Literature and First Foreign Language
  • examinations in the area of the mathematical skill
  • examinations in the area of the science and technology basic skills.

The examinations consist of three parts:

Part 1. Four core subjects:

  • 4th year of compulsory secondary education: Biology and Geology and Physics and Chemistry, in which students can be evaluated if they choose them among optional subjects, are not included (Part 2)
  • 2nd year of Bachillerato: in the case of subjects implying continuity between the two years (for instance, Mathematics I and Mathematics II), only the subject studied in the 2nd year is taken into account.
  1. both the skills and the relevant learning standards are evaluated
  2. it consists of a maximum of 200 questions, 50 questions per subject
  3. possible test formats: multiple choice answers, four possible answers and half-built answers
  4. open answer written tests (essay, literary, journalistic, historical, current events or scientific comentary, etc.)
  5. oral tests (public speaking, oral defence of a topic, critical positioning, debate, etc.)
  6. both open answer written tests and oral tests are conducted in the official language chosen by students or their parents or guardians.

Part 2. Two optional subjects studied in the set of core subjects:

  • 4th year of compulsory secondary education: students choose among the subjects studied this year
  • 2nd year of Bachillerato: students choose among any of the subjects studied in any of the two years of the stage. In the case of subjects implying continuity between the two years, only the subject studied in the 2nd year is taken into account.
  1. both the skills and the relevant learning standards are evaluated
  2. it consists of a maximum of 100 questions, 50 questions per subject.

Part 3. One specific subject chosen by students:

  • 4th year of compulsory secondary education: students choose one subject, which is not Physical Education, Religion or Ethical Values, from the subjects studied in any of the four years
  • 2nd year of Bachillerato: students choose one subject, which is not Physical Education or Religion, from the subjects studied in any of the two years.
  1. both the skills and the relevant learning standards are evaluated
  2. it consists of a maximum of 50 questions.
Target population

Census-based: All students in the last years of each stage are evaluated.

Design
Autonomous Communities

State

Year of implementation

2015/16

2016/17.  The first year is not used for academic purposes.

Possibility of repeating the evaluation

------------------------------------

In case students do not pass it or want to improve their final marks, they can resit it, in either the initial option chosen or the other. The highest mark is the one taken into account.

In case students do not pass it or want to improve their final marks, they can resit it in successive examination sessions. The highest mark is the one taken into account.

Results

 The result is expressed in levels. 

A 5 or over out of 10 is required.

Weight on the certificate awarded at the end of the stage

-------------------------------------

The grade obtained in this final evaluation represents 30% of the final mark for compulsory secondary education.

The grade obtained in this final evaluation represents 40% of the final mark for Bachillerato.

Impact of results

Diagnostic: Adoption of measures to improve learning.

Academic: From the 2017/18 academic year, students who pass the examination will obtain the Lower Compulsory Secondary Education Certificate and have access to Bachillerato/vocational training.
Academic: From the 2017/18 academic year, students who pass the examination will obtain the Bachillerato Certificate and have access to university education.

(1) For more information, see Change in the external evaluation at the end of Bachillerato, made in November 2016.

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 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education and the press release issued by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport on the Sectoral Committee for Education meeting held on 21 April 2015 between the ministerial team and representatives from the Autonomous Communities.

Powers of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport in relation to external evaluations at the end the stage:

  • establish the criteria to evaluate the attainment of the objectives of educational provision and the relevant educational stage, and the extent to which the corresponding skills have been acquired, as well as the general characteristics of the tests in relation with the final evaluation at the end of primary education
  • compulsory secondary education and Bachillerato: establish the criteria to evaluate the attainment of the objectives of educational provision and the relevant educational stage, and the extent to which the corresponding skills have been acquired, in relation with the contents of core and specific subjects, as well as the characteristics of the tests and their design and content for each examination session.

(2013 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education, modifying the 2006 Education Act).

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, through the National Institute for Educational Evaluation and the National Centre for Educational Innovation and Research, is defining the tests and the evaluation procedures for the final assessment at the end of primary education, in order to ensure the necessary homogeneity of their design, implementation and development in the Spanish education system.

The different education authorities will be responsible for the conduct of evaluations.

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport and the education authorities have worked together, with the invaluable support of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA), in order to offer test models to evaluate the linguistic communication skill (Spanish), the mathematical skill, basic skills in science and technology and the linguistic skill (English), as well as the general framework for this evaluation at the end of primary education.

Characteristics of external evaluations at the end of primary education

They were regulated at the end of November 2015 in order to ensure that they are the same for the whole country:

  • it is conducted at the end of the 6th year of primary education
  • the objective is to assess the degree of acquisition of the skills being evaluated, as well as the achievement of the objectives of the stage. It seeks to diagnose learning difficulties in such skills, facilitate transition between the different stages of compulsory education and advise and inform about the needs for intervention, improvement or curricular adaptation
  • the relevant education authority is responsible for the design, implementation and correction of the tests. The education authorities with a co-official language must also specify the evaluation criteria, learning standards, design, implementation and exemptions from taking the test for the subject of Co-Official Language and Literature.

Areas of the tests


AREAS

Linguistic communication skill

Mathematical skill

Basic skills in science and technology

Objective

  • evaluate students’ skills in written and oral comprehension and written expression
  • oral expression can also be assessed.

Evaluate the application of mathematical knowledge and reasoning to address problems in functional contexts related to daily life.

Evaluate the skills aimed at generating scientific knowledge through the gathering of information, formulation of hypotheses, problem solving or decision making based on evidence and arguments.

Contextualisation of evaluation units

Contexts that are close to students’ life, which might include personal and family, school, social and scientific and humanistic situations.

Other details

  • these skills can be evaluated through different tests or an integrated test assessing them
  • there are different types and formats of texts, such as narrative, descriptive, expository, instructional and/or argumentative; continuous, discontinuous or mixed
  • skills in relation to the subjects of Spanish Language and Literature, First and Second Foreign Language and Co-Official Language and Literature can be evaluated in Spanish or the relevant co-official language, to be chosen by parents or legal guardians. 


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 current regulations.

  • evaluations are individual and census-based: all the students in the all educational institutions of the Spanish education system are evaluated
  • they are external: they are conducted and corrected by permanent teachers from outside the relevant educational institutions
  • students with special educational needs, or other personal conditions, sit examinations that are adapted to their needs. These adaptations do not have a negative impact on the final mark for the test
  • simultaneously to the tests, context questionnaires, drawn up by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, are applied in order to obtain information about the socioeconomic and cultural conditions of educational institutions so that results can be contextualised
  • the result of this evaluation must be expressed in terms of the following levels for each individual skill evaluated: Fail (IN), Pass (SU), Good (BI), Very Good (NT) and Excellent (SB)
  • the education authorities must reflect the level attained by each student in an individual report which is given to the student’s parents or legal guardians, as well as to the educational institution where he/she is going to continue their schooling. This report is informative and serves as a guideline for the school where they studied the 6th year of primary education, the educational institution where they intend to study compulsory secondary education, teaching teams, parents or legal guardians and students themselves
  • the result of the evaluation in Co-Official Language and Literature has the same weight as the result of the evaluation in the linguistic communication skill in relation to Spanish Language and Literature
  • the final result obtained in this evaluation does not condition students’ progression to the following educational stage
  • parents or legal guardians may apply for a review of the results obtained in the evaluation to the relevant body of each education authority
  • the education authorities may establish specific school improvement plans, taking into account their initial situation, the improvement or deterioration of their results and the socioeconomic problems of the educational institution
  • the days these final evaluations take place are included in the total number of school days.

Plan to Reduce Early School Leaving. Education and training 2014-2020 period

This Plan complements the educational reform and aims at coordinating the actions of the different education authorities.

It establishes the strategic lines of action and some indicators to assess the progress made, according to specific territorial plans:

  1. create the conditions that ensure permanence and success in the education system, in particular of citizens in vulnerable situations
  2. improve the conditions that promote permanence in training activities where students can achieve levels that are, at least, equivalent to the standards established according to European parameters
  3. encourage second chance systems and mechanisms to support the acquisition of lifelong learning habits in adult life
  4. identify, analyse and provide an early intervention in factors leading to school failure
  5. expand access to information and quality academic and professional guidance and advice, in order to facilitate citizens’ personal decision-making regarding their training, educational and vocational qualification process
  6. raise the awareness and train the professionals who may work with citizens who are at risk of early school leaving
  7. promote systems for the recognition of key skills for lifelong learning
  8. make the ways to have access to education and training more flexible.

The specific plans of regional educational authorities, as well as their evaluation, are yet to be developed. This provides continuity to the experience gained with the previous Plan to Reduce Early School Leaving, implemented and developed until 2013.

Financial support for the purchase of textbooks and didactic materials

At the beginning of November, the Cabinet approved the formalisation of the distribution criteria and the resulting economic distribution among the Autonomous Communities for the purchase of textbooks and didactic materials for families, with a total of EUR 24 million.

The objective is to facilitate the purchase of textbooks and all types of didactic materials, including those in digital form, in the stages of primary education, compulsory secondary education, Bachillerato and vocational training.

They are targeted at families in economically disadvantaged circumstances, paying special attention to large families with 3 or more children.

The resulting distribution, according to Autonomous Community, is the following:

AUTONOMOUS COMMUNITY

AMOUNT IN 2015 (in EUR)

Andalusia

7 332 551.02

Aragon

479 885.79

Asturias

308 087.98

Balearic Islands

427 693.37

Canary Islands

1 391 011.03

Cantabria

251 001.33

Castile-La Mancha

1 419 551.05

Castile-Leon

1 003 247.57

Catalonia

2 728 554.30

Valencia

2 984 662.86

Extremadura

853 352.87

Madrid

2 242 549.51

Murcia

1 488 803.93

Navarre

178 214.11

Rioja

114 835.05

TOTAL

24 000 000.00

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 Cabinet’s Reference.

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, within the scope of its powers, allocates EUR 3 million for the same purpose in the Autonomous Cities of Ceuta and Melilla in 2015 and 2016.

Consideration of teachers as public authority and enactment of criminal sanctions for acts against public education officials

Members of the management team and teachers in public educational institutions are considered as a public authority. This implies:

  • regarding the procedures for the adoption of corrective measures, the facts noted by teachers and members of the management team in educational institutions have probative value and enjoy rebuttable presumption of veridity, unless proven otherwise, without prejudice to evidence produced by students themselves in defence of their rights or interests
  • teachers in public educational institutions, by virtue of their status as public officials, may seek protection under the latest reform of the Criminal Code, which will enter into force on 1 July of this year. The reform introduces changes in the areas of acts of resistance, disobedience and attacks on public authorities, their agents and public officials. This reform considers as an attack any attack, assault or resistance, with serious intimidation or violence, to the authority of education officials, in the course of or in connection with the performance of their duties. These attacks can be sanctioned with prison sentences ranging from 1 to 4 years and penalised with fines from 3 to 6 months if it is an attack against authority, and with prison sentences from 3 to 6 months in the rest of the cases. A more severe penalty may be imposed in the event that:
  1. weapons or other dangerous objects are used
  2. the act of violence is potentially dangerous to people’s lives or may cause serious injury. More specifically, the throwing of hard objects or flammable liquids and fire, among others
  3. a motor vehicle is used to attack the authority, agent or public official.

(2013 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education, modifying the 2006 Education Act).

White Paper on the Role of Non-University Teachers

Its preparation was a proposal by the Minister of Education, Culture and Sport to all the parliamentary groups in the Spanish Parliament. He subsequently referred the proposal to the Autonomous Communities through the Sectoral Committee for Education meeting held in August.

In December, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport has published the draft White Paper. The objective is to make its contents available to the entire educational community so that they can make any appropriate contribution.

This draft is structured into three main sections. At the end of each section there are different proposals aimed at achieving the objectives proposed:

  • introductory section on teachers and the transformation of the education system
  • central section examining the teaching profession in detail, divided into four chapters:
  1. making the teaching profession attractive
  2. design of the teaching profession
  3. evaluation, management, guidance, inspection
  4. the teaching career.
  • final section on the management of educational change.

From January 2016, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport aims to examine, assess and discuss both the draft and the proposals made. The intention is to have the involvement of all the educational actors, in order to achieve the maximum consensus for the text.

2015-2017 Comprehensive Plan to Support Families

This new project includes all policies and actions aimed at families for the 2015-2017 period and has a budget estimate of EUR 5 400 million for the first financial period. The 7 strategic lines that are the framework for the 227 measures of the Plan aim at achieving its 10 general objectives.

Although the general objectives of the Plan are not formulated in educational terms, the following strategic lines related to the field of education and training should be noted:

  • Strategic line 3. Support for motherhood and favourable environment for family life.

It includes measures aimed at women, especially young women, such as the promotion of affective and sexual education programmes adapted to the different educational levels, as well as actions to prevent unintended pregnancy.

It also includes measures to facilitate the training of pregnant minors, such as temporarily adapting their schooling period so that maternity does not become an obstacle to continue studying.

A resource map to support motherhood with information from all the Autonomous Communities and social entities is made available to them.

  • Strategic line 4. Positive parenting.

It supports the implementation of social programmes such as family education and healthy and positive parenting programmes, as well as collaboration with the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces in order to improve psycho-social and educational intervention with families at local level. This is complemented by a good practice guide to support professional intervention with families, and by educational support, training, volunteerism and social inclusion measures.

Coordination between educational institutions and social services in order to prevent and combat school absenteeism is also promoted.

Changes in the system for the protection of children and adolescents

The new Act approved in July introduces these changes in various legal texts related to the protection of minors, and are mainly aimed at adapting institutional actions to the new needs of children and adolescents in Spain.

Some of these changes focus on specific groups of minors, such as foreigners, victims of violence and those with any kind of disability. 

As far as education is concerned, the Act places special emphasis on the importance of digital and media literacy as an indispensable tool for minors to develop their critical thinking and play an active role in today’s society.

Training and awareness-raising actions on privacy and data protection for minors

In mid-October, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport and the Spanish Data Protection Agency signed an agreement by which they agreed on a stable collaboration framework.

The objective is to develop educational projects and actions in order to train and raise the awareness of minors of the importance of privacy and data protection, as well as the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), especially Internet.

Such activities may involve:

  1. the organisation of training activities on data protection for both students (through training actions) and teachers (through courses, seminars and conferences)
  2. the design, development, promotion and dissemination of:
  • materials, resources and tools to promote the training and awareness-raising of minors of the value of privacy and a responsible use of personal information, both themselves and others
  • materials on data protection to be used in teaching, in subjects related to ICT
  • guides and fact sheets for schools, with the collaboration of the Autonomous Communities, in order to facilitate compliance with the laws on data protection, regarding both their normal operation and the development of their educational activity
  • resources for the training of parents, in collaboration with parents’ associations.
  1. initiatives for prizes and competitions in privacy and data protection, targeted at both students and educational institutions.

The agreement also provides for the establishment of a Monitoring and Evaluation Committee, which will be composed of three representatives of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport and the Spanish Data Protection Agency.

This agreement has an initial duration of 4 years, but shall be extended for additional successive 2-year periods, unless one of the parties specifically requests that it be terminated.

Creation of the school quality label ‘Healthy Life Label’

In November 2015, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment, created the school quality label ‘Healthy Life Label’.

The objective is the public recognition of educational institutions, both public and private, that encourage the learning of health issues at school, healthy lifestyle practices and a physical education allowing the students’ personal and social development during their schooling.

Those schools that participate in the initiative and that are awarded the label may:

  • display the label in the school premises
  • use the label in the school documentation and, where appropriate, its commercial relations and advertising.

Its validity is indefinite, provided that the school continues complying with the conditions and requirements under which it was awarded. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport may undertake regular reviews, at least every two years, in order to check compliance with the requirements for the award. In case of exceptional circumstances in the school, a review of the award of the seal shall be carried out. 

2014

Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education, modifying the Education Act

Although the Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education, which modifies the 2006 Education Act, was published in the Spanish Official Gazette of 10/12/2013, its implementation began this academic year 2014/15 in primary education.

The main aims of the Act are to:

  • reduce the early school leaving rate in education and training
  • improve the educational results according to international criteria, regarding both the comparative rate of excellent students and the rate of students holding the Lower Compulsory Secondary Education Certificate
  • improve employability
  • stimulate the students’ entrepreneurial spirit.

The principles around which the reform is built are:

  • the increase of school autonomy
  • the reinforcement of the management capacity of school leaders
  • external evaluations at the end of each stage
  • the rationalisation of the education provision and the increase in the flexibility of pathways.

Rationalisation and flexibility of primary education provision

The objectives of the the implementation of the new 1st, 3rd and 5th years of primary education in the 2014/15 academic year are to contribute to the acquisition of key skills by reinforcing the learning of core subjects through the simplification of curricular development, the adoption of an interdisciplinary vision of the contents and greater teaching autonomy in order to meet the demands of a more personalised education.

The basic curriculum for primary education was approved in March 2014. The curriculum and the organisation of provision are thus modified.

Primary education: It is organised into 6 years. It comprises subjects of a global and integrating nature.

Core subjects, studied every year.

The minimum number of hours shall not be less than 50% of the total number of teaching hours generally established by each education authority.

Natural Sciences
Social Sciences
Spanish Language and Literature
Mathematics
First Foreign Language  

Specific subjects, studied every year.  

Studied every year: Physical Education, Religion or Social and Civic Values (to be chosen by parents or tutors).

Students choose at least one: Arts Education, Second Foreign Language, Religion, Social and Civic Values. 

Subjects that are freely structured by the Autonomous Communities, depending on the regulation established by each education authority.

Co-Official Language and Literature, which has the same status as the area of Spanish Language and Literature.

Areas from the set of specific subjects that have not been taken by the student or areas to be determined.

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 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education.

For more information, see Primary education.

School autonomy

According to the repeated recommendation of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), school autonomy should be increased in order to improve school results. This autonomy is necessarily linked to the demand for greater transparency in accountability.

Each school should be able to identify its strengths and the needs of its environment in order to make decisions on how to improve its educational provision and methodology in that area, in direct relation with the strategy of the education administration.

School autonomy in increased in three aspects: 

  • curricular specialisation: the education authorities promote the curricular specialisation of publicly-funded secondary schools so that the latter may offer educational provision which is adapted to their needs. Their school development plan must include the specific aspects defining the school’s uniqueness
  • resources: the education authorities may allocate more public resources to certain publicly-funded educational institutions if there are plans that might require so or in response to the specific needs of the population attending these schools. This allocation is subject to accountability and justification that those resources have been properly used. Public educational institutions may obtain additional resources, after approval by the headteacher, in the terms established by the education authorities. These resources cannot come from activities organised by parents’ associations, in compliance with their purposes, and must be used to cover the school’s expenses
  • actions aimed at improving the quality of educational institutions: these actions include honorary measures for the recognition of institutions, as well as educational quality actions for the development and promotion of quality. Educational quality actions are based on an integrated consideration of the institution and must contain all the necessary tools to implement a quality school development plan. Educational institutions present a strategic plan with objectives, the results to be obtained, the management to be implemented with the corresponding measures to achieve the expected results, as well as the time frame and the programming of activities. A quality school development plan involves the school’s specialisation, which might include, among others, actions aimed at curricular specialisation, excellence, teacher training, the improvement of school performance, support for students with special educational needs or making educational resources available to shared digital platforms. Their implementation is subject to accountability and results are measured in terms of improvements in relation to the initial situation.

An important aspect in the implementation of quality actions is the fact that the school headteacher has autonomy to adapt human resources to the new needs. That is why his/her powers will be extended:

  1. establish the specific requirements and merits for the positions offered for teaching staff in the civil service, as well as for temporary staff
  2. reject, by means of a reasoned decision, the hiring of temporary teaching staff from centralised lists. The relevant education authority will have to endorse this decision
  3. if there is a vacancy as well as adequate and sufficient funding, propose, after a reasoned request, the appointment of teachers who, having worked in quality projects, seem necessary for their continuity.

As for the staff involved in the implementation of educational quality actions, the activities that have been positively assessed will be taken into account for recruitment and career progression purposes, among others.

School teachers as a public authority

One of the new measures established by the Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education, which had been previously developed and implemented through the regulations of some Autonomous Communities within their own territories, is the consideration of members of the management team and teachers as a public authority.

Thus, regarding the procedures for the adoption of corrective measures, the facts noted by teachers and members of the management team in educational institutions have probative value and enjoy rebuttable presumption of veridity, unless proven otherwise, without prejudice to evidence produced by students themselves in defence of their rights or interests.

General evaluation of the education system

In accordance with the Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education, the evaluation of the education system must be conducted by the National Institute for Educational Evaluation and the relevant bodies established by the education authorities, within the scope of their powers.

The Institute has the following tasks, in collaboration with the education authorities: 

  • develop multi-annual plans for the general evaluation of the education system, previously making evaluation criteria and procedures public. In addition, it will establish methodological and scientific standards which ensure the quality, validity and reliability of educational evaluations
  • coordinate the participation of Spain in international evaluations
  • develop the National System of Education Indicators, which will help to increase knowledge of the education system and guide decision-making by educational institutions and all the sectors involved in education. The data required will have to be provided by regional education authorities to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport.

The Ministry will periodically publish the conclusions of general interest of the evaluations conducted by the National Institute for Educational Evaluation in collaboration with the education authorities and share the information provided the National System of Education Indicators.

In particular, the results of educational institutions in accordance with educational indicators that are common for all Spanish institutions will be published, without the identification of personal data.

Calendar for implementation of the Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education

The reforms established in the Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education will be gradually implemented.

Calendar for implementation of the Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education

School year

Stage of education/Type of provision

Years

Elements

2014/15

Primary education

1st, 3rd and 5th

Curriculum, organisation, objectives, progression and evaluations

2015/16

Primary education

2nd, 4th and 6th

Curriculum, organisation, objectives, progression and evaluations

Compulsory secondary education

1st and 3th

Curriculum, organisation, objectives, requirements for the award of certificates, programmes, progression and evaluations

Bachillerato

1st

2016/17

Compulsory secondary education

2nd and 4th

Curriculum, organisation, objectives, requirements for the award of certificates, programmes, progression and evaluations

Bachillerato

2nd

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 Act 8/2013, of 9 December 2013, on the Improvement of the Quality of Education.

Spain’s priorities regarding European funds

The 2014-2020 Common Strategic Framework in the context of the Europe 2020 Strategy has a fundamental principle for its programming: prioritise investment co-financed with funds in a smaller number of priorities, depending on the development level of the different regions and the European Structural and Investment Funds.

In December 2013, the new architecture of the European Social Fund for this programming period was reported. The budget for Spain is similar to the one for the previous period: about EUR 9 000 million, including current EUR 945 million corresponding to the Youth Employment Initiative.

In the area of education and training, the following should be emphasised:

European Social Fund (ESF) within national operational programmes

Thematic objective 

Strategic line of action 

Investing in education, skills and lifelong learning.

  • reducing early school leaving and promoting equal access to good quality early childhood, primary and secondary education
  • enhancing access to lifelong learning, upgrading the skills and competences of the workforce and increasing the labour market relevance of education and training systems.

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 Spain’s 2013 National Programme of Reforms. 

Apart from the thematic objectives established, a specific line of action devoted to youth initiatives, which is an integral part of all the programmes, is included, since Spain is placing special emphasis on the implementation of ‘youth guarantee’ schemes through the 2013-2016 Strategy for Entrepreneurship and Youth Employment.

Regarding the distribution per operational programme, and taking into account both territorial organisation and the distribution of powers, the ESF will act through national and regional operational programmes throughout the period. Within national operational programmes, three horizontal and thematic programmes will be implemented:

  • Operational Programme for the Promotion of Social Inclusion: EUR 800 050 000.
  • Youth Employment Operational Programme: EUR 2 360 617 818.
  • Employment, Training and Education Operational Programme: EUR 2 130 030 502. Its third major axis, ‘Investing in education, training and vocational training for the acquisition of skills and lifelong learning’, intends to fund actions aimed at reducing early school leaving in education and training with measures such as individualised attention, the flexibility of pathways and the modernisation of vocational training. Measures strengthening ties between the education and training systems and the labour market, such as the development of dual vocational training, the development of the National System of Qualifications and Vocational Training and the evaluation and accreditation of professional competences, among others, will be supported.

In addition, there will be a regional operational programme for each Autonomous Community and Autonomous City, as well as a technical assistance operational programme.

Grants and financial support in non-university post-compulsory education. 2014/15 academic year

Since 2012, grants and financial support in post-compulsory education have become an essential element of the right to education, which is based on a double principle:

  • compensation of unfavourable socio-economic conditions
  • award on the basis of student progress and performance.

In October of that year, it was announced that priority would be given to grants for students in this level of education, ensuring that any student who meets the relevant academic and economic requirements is eligible for financial aid.

In June 2014, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport established the grants and financial support for the 2014/15 academic year, consolidating the system implemented in 2012/13: 

  • Bachillerato and intermediate vocational training students had 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, as they must have passed all the subjects or modules of the previous year.

In addition, that same year, the thresholds of family income and assets above which students are not eligible were set and some changes were introduced, such as the new regulation of grant components for distance education students or the adjustment of the percentage of credits students need to complete to consider the grant or financial support was used for the purpose it was awarded.

In this regard, use the grant or financial support for the purpose it was awarded is understood as enrolment, class attendance, sitting of examinations, payment of the corresponding expenses, and completion of the relevant placement.

Beneficiaries must complete, at least, 50% of the credits or subjects they took. Failure to comply with this last obligation will result in the repayment of all grant components, with the exception of the enrolment grant.

Reform of the training giving access to the management of educational institutions and of the updating of management skills

Some of the principles around which the Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education is built are the increase of school autonomy and the reinforcement of the management capacity of school leaders, both being essential factors for the transformation of the education system.

The Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education strengthens the management capacity of school leaders through the establishment of new requirements for anyone intending to be a headteacher in a public educational institution, as well as through the need for updating their management skills:

  • system for the certification of skills prior to access to the post, through completion of a training course on the development of leadership
  • system for the permanent certification of skills, through completion of courses on the updating of management skills.

Basic aspects of the training courses on the development of leadership and on the updating of management skills

Characteristics

Training course on the development of leadership

Courses on the updating of management skills

Organisation

They can be organised by an education authority, or by natural or legal persons as appear to the education authority to be appropriate.

Target staff

As a priority, permanent teaching staff in public educational institutions. If there are vacancies, they can be filled by temporary staff.

Structure

They include a theoretical and a practical part. They have a modular structure of a varying length, according to the content.

Type of provision

They can be taught via distance learning. The education authority organising the course establishes the type of provision, so classroom-based and distance provision can be combined in the different modules.

Development of the course

  • course in a single block including all the modules
  • modules of the same course separated in time, up to a total maximum period of 2 years.

Core modules (as a minimum)

(apart from other specific modules that might be established by the relevant education authority)

Module I. Regulatory framework for educational institutions.

Module II. Organisation and management of educational institutions.

Module III. Management of school resources.

Module IV. Key factors for effective leadership.

Module V. Accountability and educational quality.

Module VI. Management project.

Module I. Updating of the regulatory framework for educational institutions.

Module II. Management of institutional approaches.

Module III. Efficient and effective management of school resources.

Module IV. Key factors for effective leadership.

Module V. Accountability and educational quality.

Module VI. Management project.

Minimum duration

120 hours

60 hours

Both figures include all core modules. The specific modules that might be established by the education authorities are excluded.

Teaching and supervision

The courses and their modules can be taught, supervised and evaluated by the following staff, as long as they have proven competence in this area:

-  Education Inspectorate or Inspectorate at the service of the education authority

-  School headteachers

-  University teaching and research staff

-  Permanent staff of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport or regional education authorities

-  Other public officials who are experts on specific issues

-  Experts not belonging to the administration.

Completion of the course

The education authority organising the course establishes in each call the evaluation criteria for the management project and each one of the modules. 

Temporal validity

Unlimited (once the course is successfully completed).

Territorial validity

Both courses are valid throughout the country, regardless of the education authority organising them.

Renewal

  • 8 years after the issuance of the relevant certificate, contents have to be updated, through completion of courses on the updating of management skills
  • successful completion of this course is not necessary for their reappointment, although it can be taken into account in candidate selection procedures.

Exemption from certain modules

Those holding an official Master’s degree or postgraduate degree on leadership and management of educational institutions are exempt from taking the core modules as well as the specific modules the relevant education authority might establish, with the exception of the ‘management project’ module.

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 current regulations.

This reform will be progressively implemented:

  1. those who were entitled or accredited to manage public educational institutions before the entry into force of the Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education: Only candidates who have completed a course on the updating of management skills can participate in the selective procedures, although they are not required to take the training course
  2. those who, as at the date of the entry into force of the Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education or within the next five years, were managing a public educational institution: Only candidates who have completed a course on the updating of management skills can participate in the selective procedures, although they are not required to take the training course. Successful completion of this course is not necessary for their reappointment
  3. the education authorities must continue organising initial training programmes for the appointment of those who cannot demonstrate professional experience of, at least, two years managing an educational institution, were not entitled or accredited to manage public educational institutions before the entry into force of the Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education, or have not completed a training course or a course on the updating of management skills.