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Bachillerato: High schools in Spain

bachillerato in spain

What is high school in Spain?

According to the Organic Law on Education (2006), Bachillerato, or high school, in Spain is the last stage of school education and is meant for children from 16-18 years old. This stage is not obligatory for receiving the certificate of secondary education in Spain because the students get this certificate after graduating from the fourth grade of the secondary school (4ESO). One has to graduate from the high school of Spain only in case he or she plans to study in the higher school (university) in the future. In other words, the Spanish Bachillerato is equivalent to the sixth form in the British system of education (stage A – Level) and an equivalent of only the first two years in high school in the American system of education.

As a rule, in the Spanish public schools, high school is separated from the children’s and primary schools. Children ranging in age from 3 to 12 years study in the schools up to 12 years old only. Then they are transferred to the secondary school but continue studying in another building (called “institute” in Spain). High school students study in the building of the secondary school.

what is a high school in spain

Many semi-public schools in Spain don’t offer the stage of Bachillerato or offer it at a special fee. That means that one pays for this level of education as in a private school. If you have decided to study in a semi-public school in Spain, we recommend that you confirm the availability of a Bachillerato program as well as ask about the cost of studying.

The majority of the private schools in Spain, including international and foreign private schools, offer the programs for children from 3-18 years old; that is, they include all stages of education.

The Law on Education claims that studying in the high school in Spain includes three areas of specialization and is based on a student’s personal choice:

  • Science
  • Humanities
  • Arts

The area of specialization is chosen based on the department one plans to enter after the high school graduation.

In 2013, the Organic Law on Education Quality Improvement was adopted. It has been a long time since the existing system of education in Spain required thorough reconsideration. However, neither the teachers’ team, nor the students and their parents supported the measures decided upon. Plans for high school improvement included considerable changes, in particular, a plan to change the student admission system for the stage of Bachillerato as well as one to change the order of the final exams, etc. Nowadays, because of numerous protests, the operation of this law has been suspended, and the previous version of the law is still in action.

The process of education in the senior classes in the schools with the foreign system of education, in English and American schools, is designed strictly in line with the foreign system of education that includes passing all necessary exams. Recently, the IB diploma has become extremely popular. The majority of international schools offer this program, and the teaching is conducted not only in English, but also in the Spanish language (in some of the subjects). If you are looking for the IB program exclusively in English, you should consider American schools in Spain that provide such an opportunity.

List of high schools in Spain(Barcelona)

How can one gain admission to high school in Spain?

If you have decided to send your child to study in a high school in Spain, it is important to consider that in order to be admitted even to a private school, one must “previously homologate” the certificate of secondary education. There are special сompatibility tables for different systems of education. For this reason, when choosing a school and arranging the process of admission, it is important to pass through the homologation of the certificate of secondary education that was obtained in the country of your origin. For example, the certificate confirming the completion of 9 grades of the Russian school is not sufficient for admission to the Bachillerato stage. Spain requires the completion of 10 grades, and only then is the student allowed to enter the high school. It is worth mentioning that many schools are not always familiar with these details and accept children for the stage of Bachillerato after the completion of 9 grades. Later on, the children might face a problem with passing the final exams upon graduating from the high school – in such cases, the students simply are not allowed to pass them. Homologation of the foreign school certificate or diploma can take place simultaneously with the preparation of the admission paperwork. Very often, the schools just need the confirmation of the fact that the documents have been submitted for homologation. However, this question must be clarified in advance, since the school might insist on the presence of the approved certificate at the moment of admission.

list of high school in Spain

If you are considering the schools with a foreign system of education, it is helpful to know that the process of admission to the high school is carried out through entrance exams in the school’s primary language, mathematics, physics, and chemistry.

Some English and American schools provide an opportunity for the students to earn a double diploma. This means that apart from the English and American diploma, the students have a chance to receive the Spanish Bachillerato diploma as well. For this purpose, they have to pass some additional exams either in the school itself or in the international university of distance education.

Accordingly, the process of admission to high school in Spain can be divided into 3 stages:

  • Selection of the school
  • Entrance exams
  • Admission paperwork

The company, “España Rusa,” has been working on the Spanish market for over 15 years. The specialists of our company render assistance in answering concerns related to all of the questions mentioned above and any you might have related to the process of admission to high school in Spain, including help with homologation of the certificate of secondary education, if necessary.


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