Why a local educational consultant is a sensible idea

*Steps into Spain - Educational consultancy Madrid

Written bystepsint


No matter which corner of the planet my client hails from or what their walk of life is, every single one has something in common: they are parents of school-aged children who seek information and advice as they take steps into Spain. What makes my service so special is that I have my feet on the ground, and I am a go-to person for school searches in Madrid.

What educational consultants offer their clients

I am an educational consultant based in Madrid, Spain. All educational consultants working with international families who are settling in a new country can be expected to do the following:

  • provide admissions advice
  • explain curriculum options
  • select a school matching family’s requirements
  • help overcome language barriers
  • sort out paperwork
  • work with relocation agencies to coordinate moving dates
  • manage expectations

A clear example of the latter is one I face on a regular basis. The local education authority in Madrid has invested a lot of money on bilingual education for all children from the ages of 6-16. Some families moving to Madrid are lulled into a sense of security that any school they send their child to will provide enough English-language education to help the young student keep up with core subjects in English. My role is to manage expectations in this respect. Bilingual education in public / concertado schools in Madrid boils down to 30% of the curriculum being taught in English and not necessarily by teachers that are native speakers.  Unfortunately, many of my clients approach me with the false expectation that Spanish bilingual schools offer a 50/50 split between English and Spanish, which is sadly not the case.

Professional profiles for educational consultants

Most educational consultants work locally and have built up solid relationships with schools in their area. A large number of educational consultants are teachers who are taking a break from classroom teaching. Many are parents of school-aged children. Most educational consultants working with international families are expats themselves and have first-hand experience of being a foreigner in the country they have since become an expert on.

Educational consultants advising families wishing to settle abroad are linguists with finely tuned communication skills. Not only are they fluent in the language, customs, and bureaucracy of the client’s target country (where the consultant is based) but they can also communicate fluently with their clients in English or the client’s mother tongue. A great effort is made to understand each other clearly, which is hugely appreciated by clients who want to make sure that their wishes are being met.

Client profiles for educational consultants

Clients seek support from educational consultants for a variety of reasons. In the case of Steps into Spain, clients have a specific interest in receiving help with their child’s educational planning within the framework of the Spanish education system. This may be due to relocation reasons or because they have settled in Spain and are interested in changing schools.

Although there is no such thing as a typical client, what I have found is that many of my clients are multi-cultural couples with at least one child who has already begun their school journey. I am paid to advise them on the best options for their children on a one-to-one basis. Many will choose to live in one area of Madrid or another depending on where the school they wish their children to attend is based.

When is the best time to contact an educational consultant?

This may seem like an easy question to answer, but, as always, the devil is in the detail. I can only speak about my area of expertise: Spain. As an educational consultant based in Madrid, I assist families to link past schools and successes with those on offer in Madrid. It is very important that none of the children lose continuity when moving to their next destination. I make recommendations based upon my thorough knowledge of all the schools in this cosmopolitan capital city.

Therefore, the best time to contact me is December/January for a September start. Saying that, though, a significant proportion of my clients require out-of-synch support for finding schools at short notice or when the academic year is in progress. Over the years I have found that September can also a very busy month for families who would like to enrol their kids in Public/concertado schools as late applicants because most education offices are closed during the month of August in Madrid.

Paying for educational consultant services

Educational consultants charge fees for a series of services and very often offer packages. As with all professional service provision, clear and transparent pricing is key in this sector. It is highly unusual to find a consultant unwilling to explain their fees. Furthermore, first consultations are usually free.

My goal is to find the best school for your child in Madrid. Expectations are set and met. As well as my bespoke rate of 80€ per hour, I offer three services for international families requesting help with school search, selection, and enrolment processes in Spain. My Middle, Master and Late Application services are ideal for coordinating clients at different stages of the journey.

Do not hesitate to contact me for more details on how Steps into Spain can work for you. As a local expert, I am happy to help take some of the stress out of your school search in Madrid 😊

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.

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.

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