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Spain:Primary Education

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Spain:Historical Development

Spain:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

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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

Primary education, along with compulsory secondary education, constitutes the basic, compulsory and cost-free education of the Spanish education system. It is regulated by the 2013 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education.

The objective of this stage is to provide a common education that helps students to acquire basic cultural elements, learning related to oral expression, reading, writing and arithmetic, as well as progressive autonomy of action within the environment.

Primary education is organised into six years students take between the ages of 6 and 12. Students begin the 1st year of the stage in the calendar year in which they reach the age of 6.

It is taught by school teachers who are responsible for all the areas of this level, except for Artistic Education, Physical Education and Foreign Languages, or any other area that might be established, which are taught by school teachers with the relevant specialisation or qualification.

This stage encourages:

  • quality, equity and the social inclusion of disabled people, as well as equal opportunities and non-discrimination on those grounds through flexibilisation measures and methodological alternatives, curricular adaptations, universal accesibility and design for all, measures for treating diversity and all the necessary measures
  • equality between men and women and the prevention of gender-based violence, as well as the principle of equal treatment without discrimination by any personal or social condition or circumstance
  • prevention and peaceful resolution of conflict, the values underlying freedom, justice, equality and political pluralism, peace, democracy, respect for human rights and rejection of terrorist violence, plurality, respect for the rule of law, respect for those considered as victims of terrorism and the prevention of terrorism and any kind of violence
  • understand the prevention of gender-based, terrorist and any form of violence, racism or xenophobia, including the study of the Jewish Holocaust as a historical event. And avoid sexist behaviours and contents and stereotypes that involve discrimination
  • sustainable development and environment, the risks of sexual exploitation and abuse, situations of risk arising from the use of information and communication technologies (ICT), as well as emergency and disaster prevention
  • development and strengthening of the entrepreneurial spirit, through activities promoting creativity, autonomy, initiative, teamwork, self-confidence and critical thinking
  • that physical activity and balanced eating become part of the behaviour of a child
  • road education and safety, promoting actions to improve coexistence and prevent road accidents, so that students know their rights and duties as road users, encouraging coexistence, tolerance, caution, self-control, dialogue and empathy with the appropriate actions to avoid road accidents and their costs.

Aim and general objectives 

The aim of primary education is to facilitate students’ learning of oral expression and comprehension, reading, writing, calculus, the acquisition of basic notions of culture and coexistence, as well as study and work habits, artistic sense, creativity and affectivity, with the aim of guaranteeing an integral training which contributes to the full development of their personality, and preparing them to successfully complete secondary education.

The general objectives of this educational stage, what students should achieve at the end of the educational process as a result of the teaching and learning experiences, are:

  • know and appreciate the values and rules for coexistence, to learn and act accordingly, to prepare to actively exercise citizenship and to respect human rights and the pluralism of a democratic society
  • develop individual and team work habits, respect and responsibility in study, as well as attitudes of self-confidence, critical sense, personal initiative, interest and creativity in learning, and entrepreneurial spirit
  • acquire skills for the prevention and peaceful resolution of conflicts, enabling them to autonomously get by in family and domestic life and in the social groups they interact with
  • know, understand and respect different cultures and differences among people, equal gender rights and opportunities and non-discrimination of disabled people
  • know and appropriately use the Castilian language, and if any, the co-official language of the corresponding Autonomous Community and to develop reading habits
  • acquire, in at least a foreign language, the basic communicative competence enabling them to express and understand simple messages and get by in daily situations
  • develop basic mathematical competences and to begin solving problems which require basic mathematical operations, geometrical knowledge and estimates, as well as be able to apply them to daily situations
  • know the fundamentals of Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Geography, History and Culture
  • begin using ICT for learning purposes, by developing a critical spirit towards the messages they receive and produce
  • use different artistic representations and expressions and begin building visual and audiovisual proposals
  • value hygiene and health, to accept one's body and others', to respect differences and use physical education and sport as a mean for favoring personal and social development
  • know and value the nearest animals to the human being and adopt behaviours favoring their care
  • develop pupils' affective skills in every field of their personality and relations with others, as well as an attitude against violence, any kind of prejudice and sexist stereotypes
  • enhance road safety education and respect attitudes which might contribute to prevent traffic accidents.

(2013 Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education and Royal Decree establishing the basic curriculum of Primary Education)

The Autonomous Communities, in the exercise of their powers in terms of education, complete the formulation of these general objectives.

Schools providing primary education

Public schools providing pre-primary and primary education are named Pre-Primary and Primary Schools and those just providing primary education are named Primary Schools.

Publicly-funded private schools and private schools usually provide the whole basic education and, in general, also post-compulsory studies. These schools can adopt any name, except if it corresponds to public schools or it can lead to confusion. 

In the whole state, there are 13 880 schools providing primary education in the school year 2014/15, from which 10 377 have public ownership, 3 059 are publicly-funded private schools and 444 are private schools.

The number of schools varies substantially from one Autonomous Community to another.

Education policy

The priority aspects of the Spanish educational policy regarding primary education focus on:

  • consolidation of basic competences and improvement of student performance at the end of compulsory education 
  • increase in school autonomy
  • rationalisation of educational provision, simplifying curricular development in order to ensure sound knowledge of the contents, an interdisciplinary vision of them and greater teaching autonomy
  • individualised student assessments
  • personalised attention to students, taking the most appropriate ordinary and extraordinary measures according to the results of the evaluation
  • development of reinforcement and support plans to promote academic success
  • deepening into knowledge for pupils with greater skills and motivation to learn
  • promotion of multilingualism. The intention is to ensure mastery of a second or even third foreign language
  • inclusion of ICT into the teaching-learning processes
  • modernisation of vocational training
  • cooperation between the education authorities.