International schools in Spain

For thousands of boys and girls living in Europe, the summer holidays are drawing to a close and going back to school – or even starting for the first time – looms large on the horizon. With that in mind, today’s post looks at the option of international schools in Spain and gives examples of some of the most established private education centres for expat children here on the Costa del Sol.

Why international schools?

Before continuing on the topic of fee-paying schools, I must point out that there are state schools, too, and the level of public education in Spain is very good (I worked as a teaching assistant many moons ago, so I can attest to this first hand).

International Schools In Spain: Where To Find Them On The Costa del Sol - which school to choose for your circumstance

However, if your budget allows it, and especially if you want your children to continue studying the same syllabus as back home – and in their native language – international schools in Spain are a great option. And this is especially true on the Costa del Sol, where the expat community is higher than in other parts of the country.

International schools of Spain, in particular English-speaking schools, emphasise the importance of the IGCSE and International Baccalaureate, which are aimed at giving your children a well-rounded and international-focused approach to education and prepare pupils for tertiary education at the most competitive universities across the world.

“Term starts in 2 weeks... why are you telling me this now?”

Good point. You may be wondering why I’m writing this now, given that term starts on 10th September for primary/infant schools and on 16th September for older students in Andalucía, therefore all places will already be allocated for the 2019-20 academic year. But there is method to the madness and I hope you'll find this post useful if your situation falls under one of the following...

Differing circumstances

In an ideal world, of course, the transition between schooling in your native country and entering into the Spanish education system would be seamless… organising your child’s place at school at the same time as realising your Costa del Sol property search; moving at the beginning of summer to limit disruption to his/her studies, thereby giving the whole family time to acclimatise to the new surroundings, etc…

But we all know that life doesn’t always pan out that way. Circumstances dictate that some families, for any number of reasons, need to move mid-term and don’t have this luxury, so the process of finding a school might need to be fast-tracked.

(Concessions are quite often made for this type of admission at international schools in Spain as they are at state schools, so don’t worry.)

Alternatively, you might be planning ahead for the next academic year and doing some initial research. After all, where to send the kids to school is a huge factor to consider when moving to Spain as a family.

What schools and where?

If this is the case, you’ll want to know what schools there are in each part of the Coast and – if this piece of the puzzle still isn’t in place – what properties are available there. Although there are other towns and areas on Spain's south coast, I have broken it down into the following three municipalities, which have extremely reputable private schools:

Estepona (western Costa del Sol)

International School Estepona - Centro Commercial La Zarza Calle Azahar, Urbanisation El Paraiso, 29688 Estepona
Ages from 2-12 years

Mayfair Academy - Avda. De Las Golondrinas, 16, Atalaya Park, 29680 Estepona
Ages from Reception (3-5 years) - Sixth Form (18 years)

Properties for sale in Estepona

Marbella (central Costa del Sol)

English International College - Urbanizacion Ricmar, Ctra. de Cádiz-Málaga Km. 189.5 (A7), 29604 Marbella
Ages from Reception (3-5 years) - Sixth Form (18 years)

British International School of Marbella - Calle Jacinto Benavente, 29601 Marbella
Ages from Pre-nursery (2 years) - Key Stage 4 (16 years)

Swans International School Primary & Secondary - Urb. El Capricho, s/n, 26902 Marbella & C/Lago de los Cisnes, s/n, 29602 Marbella
Ages from Reception (3 years) - Year 6 (11 years) & Year 7 (11 years) - Sixth Form (18 years) 

Properties for sale in Marbella

Mijas & Eastern Costa del Sol

St Anthony's College - Camino de Coín Km 5.25, 29650 Mijas Costa
Ages from Pre-school (3 years) - Sixth Form (18 years) 

The British College - Urb. Torremuelle, C/Paseo del Genil s/n, 29630 Benalmádena
Ages from Pre-nursery (1/2 years) - Sixth Form (18 years)

Properties for sale in Mijas

One last thing... if you’re new to the Costa del Sol and you’ve managed to secure a place for your child in this year’s intake at one of the Coast’s many education institutions, congratulations and good luck!

Do/did you send your children to international schools in Spain? How important is/was it to live close by? Please share your experiences by leaving me a message in the comments below!