As is the case the world over, student places for concertado and public schools in Madrid are applied for in springtime, which is when the majority of spots for the following academic year are allocated. But what about late applications to schools in Madrid? The honest answer is that places at schools in Madrid can be arranged almost all year around. Indeed, finding school places when admissions seasons are closed is one core service I offer my clients here at Steps into Spain.
Help! I missed the application date for a school placement in Madrid
Don’t worry! Although the application process for both public and concertado schools in Madrid closed on May 5th 2022, places will be made available once more through the late application process known as the “proceso extraordinario”. Familes who miss the schools application deadline can still apply for a place a at a public or concertado school in this late application process. This opens on the 1st until July 15th.
For families who are not due to arrive to Madrid until the end of August, the late enrolment process reopens on Sep 1st and the local education office (Servicio de Apoyo a la Escolarización – SAE) really do try to enrol children into school as soon as possible helping to avoid very delayed starting dates. It does help to be prepared and have selected your preferred schools in advance. Please be aware that families who settle in Madrid in August are unable to make progress with late enrolments because local education offices are all closed during the month of August.
School places found for families in special circumstances
Life doesn’t always fit neatly into the pattern of an academic year of the destination country. Families coming to Spain from the United States are often relieved to find that they have more time than they anticipated because schools do not begin in earnest until the second week of September. However, families moving from the southern hemisphere (where the academic year is aligned with the calendar year) have unenviable choices to make about which way to switch: closing one year and joining the other halfway through, or leaving halfway into a school year and beginning it all over again upon arrival to Spain.
With children moving from the southern hemisphere, the choice of repeating some school months in order to join the correct school year is determined by the child’s birth month. In Spain public/concertado schools will almost always insist that students enter the school year that corresponds to their date of birth. There is a little more flexibility in private schools in Madrid, with some even allowing kids to continue as per the school year in country they departed. For example all children born in 2019 will begin school in Sep 2022.
The fact is, Spanish schools are very strict about all children born between January and December per year being schooled together. This sometimes also trips up families moving from the UK, USA and Ireland because even though the academic year in Spain begins in September, the intake is by calendar year, thus meaning that some youngsters start infant school before they turn three years old! In practice, this also means that school-aged children with birthdays after the 31st of August who will have begun school as the oldest students in their school year back in the UK, the States or Ireland, will automatically become some of the youngest students of an academic year.
Best piece of advice when applying for school places out of synch
As a local education expert for Madrid with years of experience helping families find school places for their children ALL year around, the best piece of advice I give my clients is to properly research the neighbourhood they are moving to and list their preferred schools. Given the fact that they will be applying for a place on an individual basis, being able to show genuine interest in a specific school and expressing this clearly can greatly make your child’s case more compelling (although this still depends on the school’s approach to admissions). It goes without saying that I am here to help and the first consultation is free. Set up a meeting today to see how I can support you with your steps into Spain.
Sinéad Galvin is an educational consultant and founded Steps into Spain (a boutique educational and relocation consultancy located in Madrid) to help families find the right school for their child in Madrid. She uses her professional and personal experience of Spanish schools, the Spanish education system and the Spanish way of life to ensure that parents are knowledgeable and informed about what to expect and can secure the best school for their child. A happy child is a happy parent!
Steps into Spain will take stock of your children’s educational needs and overall family requirements (housing, paperwork and general settling in). Our trusted and expert service is provided to families who are moving to Madrid from abroad. And also, to families who already live here and need some extra guidance and support.