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Spain:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

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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

Schools providing intermediate vocational training

Intermediate vocational training is provided in the same institutions as compulsory secondary education and Bachillerato. If they are public, they are called secondary schools and vocational training is organised independently, although they may share personnel and material resources with the other types of provision. 

Different types of institutions provide vocational training, which constitute the Network of Vocational Training Institutions:  

  • publicly-funded vocational training integrated institutions, which have autonomy regarding their organisation and management
  • publicly-funded institutions offering vocational training
  • national reference institutions, specialised in the different productive sectors, which are responsible for innovation and experimentation in vocational training
  • public institutions of the National Employment System
  • private authorised institutions of the National Employment System offering Vocational Training for employment. 

Educational institutions must meet a series of minimum requirements regarding facilities, which are compulsory for all institutions regardless of ownership and source of funding. For more information, see Organisation of private education. In addition, the regulations on vocational training certificates describe the minimum space and equipments required to carry out each of these training cycles.

In the academic year 2014/15, a total of 2 720 educational institutions taught classroom-based intermediate vocational training at State level, 1 959 of which were public, 541 were publicly-funded private schools and 220 were private schools. The number of educational institutions varies significantly from one Autonomous Community to another.

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport offers the opportunity to study vocational training via the Internet through the web portal Vocational Training through Internet. This online option is specifically aimed at adults who, for various reasons, cannot attend educational institutions during school hours. Each module includes a minimum number of activities that must be face-to-face with a teacher.

The number of educational institutions offering distance intermediate vocational training in Spain is 170, 138 of which are public and 32 private.

Geographical accessibility

In order to guarantee the principle of equality as regards the right to education recognised by the 1978 Spanish Constitution, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport stipulates the necessity of developing preventive and compensatory actions in disadvantaged regions, and providing the economic resources and all the necessary support. Inequalities on geographical, social and economic or other grounds are thus avoided and families’ choice of their preferred educational option, regardless of their place of residence, is facilitated.

The education authorities are responsible for implementing these actions, guaranteeing pupils’ access to post-compulsory studies.

As it is a post-compulsory stage, accessibility is not regulated.

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport annually offers grants which might cover travelling expenses between the students’ home and the institution where they study or the place where they take their placement for their training cycle. For more information, see Early Childhood and School Education Funding.

Pupil admission and choice of institution

Access to intermediate vocational training is voluntary, provided students comply with the access requirements and procedures established by each Autonomous Community. In general, some of the following requirements have to be met:

  • Lower Compulsory Secondary Education Certificate, provided they have passed the final evaluation of compulsory secondary education in the applied subjects option
  • Basic Vocational Training Certificate
  • Bachillerato Certificate
  • university degree
  • Technician or Advanced Technician certificate
  • hold a certificate proving that they have passed all the subjects of Bachillerato
  • have completed a specific training course in order to gain access to intermediate vocational training in public or private educational institutions authorised by the relevant education authority, and being over 17 years of age in the year they complete the course. Both the subjects and their basic characteristics are regulated by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport
  • have passed an entrance examination in accordance with the criteria established by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, and being over 17 years of age in the year they take the test.

Specific training courses and entrance examinations must accredit the knowledge and skills required to successfully pursue the vocational training cycle chosen, in accordance with the criteria established by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport.

The education authorities organise entrance examinations at least once a year. They also regulate the appropriate exemptions from those parts of the tests for candidates who:

A minimum of 4 in each part is necessary to calculate the final mark, which is the arithmetic mean expressed with two decimal points. A 5 or over is considered a Pass.

Students apply for admission at the educational institution offering the provision chosen through an application form. Apart from specifying the training cycle and the institution they would prefer in the first place, they may also apply, in order or priority, for other institutions and even other training cycles.

When there are not enough places, the education authorities may determine admission procedures, in accordance with the conditions legally established by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport.

As for new admissions, educational institutions offer, for each training cycle, all the authorised vacant places they have, with the exception of those which are reserved for those students who are going to repeat. If the number of places reserved for students repeating the year is greater than the percentage established by the education authority of the Autonomous Community, the institutions have to apply for authorisation from the unit in charge of the admission process.

The education authorities reserve places applying the following criteria:

  • between 60% and 70% of the places for students holding the Lower Compulsory Secondary Education Certificate
  • between 20% and 30% of the places for students holding the Basic Vocational Training Certificate
  • between 10% and 20% of the places for students that access through other completed studies.

Whenever a reserved space in any of these options is not filled, vacant spaces shall be adjudicated proportionally to the rest of the reserved spaces. The education authorities regulate the priority given to each of the students’ previous studies within the reserves described above.

The agreements and decisions on student admission, adopted by the School Council and schooling commissions in public schools and by the owners of the institution in the case of publicly-funded private schools, may be revised before the education authority, whose final decision can be appealed against.

Age and grouping of pupils

Intermediate vocational training can be taken by students aged over 16, provided they meet some of the admission requirements mentioned.

It varies in length: 1 or 2 years. It is quite common to have students with different ages in the same group. 

A form teacher is assigned to each group, but specialist teachers are responsible for teaching the different subjects. These teachers may have the same group of students for more than one year depending on the distribution of teachers of each institution. For more information, see Initial education for teachers working in early childhood and school education.

The general organisation of vocational training sets a teacher/student ratio per unit of 30 students. In the 2014/15 academic year, the average number of students per class was 21.1 in public institutions and 21.4 in private institutions.

To the student ratio limit mentioned above, a further 20% was added, due to the measures on the limitation on public expenditure issued in 2012. The education authorities were to determine the increase in the ratio whenever there was no further authorisation for the accommodation of new civil servant teachers in a Public Provision for Employment, or whenever there was an effective replacement rate below 50%. In 2015, the Ministry of Finance and Public Administration raised that percentage to 50%. This decision is the responsibility of each Autonomous Community.

Regional education authorities are also in charge of determining the ratio for those units including pupils with specific need of educational support or entering late into the education system.

Organisation of the school year

The education authorities, within their jurisdiction, are responsible for annually establishing the school year, taking into account the minimum requirements set by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport for the whole State.

The academic year lasts a minimum of 175 school days grouped into trimesters and distributed between the first fortnight of September and the last fortnight of June.

School holidays are distributed throughout the academic year:

  • approximately 12 weeks for summer holidays
  • a fortnight at Christmas
  • between 8 and 11 days at the end of March or at the beginning of April (Easter)
  • 7 days declared festive or holidays by the Central Government or the regional and/or local authorities.

During the summer holidays, schools may remain open until the end of July. Depending on the organisation of each school, the same may apply for non festive days during the Christmas and Easter period.

Organisation of the day and the week

Each Autonomous Community regulates these aspects within its own territory and each school is allowed some degree of autonomy to organise them.

The leadership team, following the requisites approved by the School Council and after having consulted the Teachers’ Assembly, draws up a general timetable for the distribution of the school day:

  • the hours and conditions in which the education centre is to remain open when no classes are being taught, available to the educational community
  • the hours in which the teaching hours for each of the stages or cycles are set
  • the shifts, hours and conditions in which these services and facilities are available for pupils.

In general, the weekly timetable comprises 30 to 32 lessons lasting 55 minutes each, i.e., 6 to 7 lessons a day from Monday to Friday.

The school day is between 08:30 and 15:00, with a 30-40 minute break in between. It is quite common to have vocational training cycles scheduled in the afternoon. It is each educational institution that determines its schedule, subject to ratification by the education authority. If it is not authorised, the timetable is returned to the educational institution for its revision and amendment.

Furthermore, the education authority is in charge of establishing the procedures for the local authorities use of the centres’ when no classes are being taught so that other educational, cultural, sporting or social activities may take place.