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LIFE IN SPAIN

Back to school: All the key dates and holidays you need in Spain

Spanish school children begin going back to school this week. Become a member to find out all the key dates and holidays for each region.

Back to school: All the key dates and holidays you need in Spain
Photo: Pixabay.

If you’ve been shopping anywhere in Spain recently, you’ve probably noticed the vuelta al cole (back to school) promotions all over town. Just like in other countries around the world, the last few weeks of the summer holidays are – for parents, anyway – usually spent organising, worrying about and buying new shoes, books, pencil cases, PE kits, backpacks and all the other things children need to go back to school.

There are over 8 million Spanish school children set to go back to school in September. But when do kids actually go back to class in Spain? Does it vary region by region? School by school?

The Local explains all.

Vuelta al cole

Traditionally in Spain, schoolchildren return to class slightly later than in the UK or US – often it’s the second or third week of September after having a much lengthier summer break to avoid the heat.

The different types of schools also sometimes have slightly different start dates. 

Key vocabulary 

Educación Infantil – Infant school

Primaria – Primary school

Secundaria/instituto – Secondary or high school 

Bachillerato – the final two years of high school, comparable to A-levels in the UK

Formación profesional – Vocational training

Back to school dates

Below you’ll find all the key back to school dates by region, and broken down by type of school. All dates are inclusive.

Catalonia

Infants and Primary: September 5th.

Secondary, Bachillerato, and vocational training: September 7th.

In Catalonia the Christmas holidays will be from December 22nd to January 8th, 2023 and Easter holidays will be from April 3rd to 10th, 2023.

Madrid

Infants and Primary: September 7th.

Secondary, Bachillerato and vocational training: September 8th.

Madrid’s Christmas holidays will be from December 23rd 2022 to January 8, 2023. At Easter, the holidays will be between April 1st to 9th, 2023, inclusive.

In addition to the Christmas and Easter breaks, in Madrid the following days will be days off: October 31st, 2022, December 5th and 7th, 2022, February 24th and 27th, 2023, March 31st, 2023 and April 10th, 2023.

Galicia

In Galicia all schools (Infant, Primary, Secondary, Bachillerato and vocational training centres) will all start on the same day: September 8th.

The Christmas break will be between December 23rd and January 6th, 2023. On February 20th, 21st and 22nd, 2023 there will be a short break for Galicia’s carnival, and again for Easter from April 3rd to 10th, 2023.

Andalusia

A slightly later start in Andalusia, with Infant and Primary schools returning on September 12th.

Secondary, Bachillerato and vocational training will go back on September 15th.

Christmas holidays will be from December 23rd and end on January 8th, and Easter between April 3rd and 9th. There are scheduled days off on December 5th, 2022 and February 27th, 2023.

Basque Country

In Basque Country all school centres return on September 8th.

The Christmas and Easter holidays are not yet finalised, but local media is reporting it is likely to be from December 24th, 2022 to January 6th, 2023 for Christmas, and from April 6th to April 10th, 2023 for Easter.

Cantabria

Infant and Primary: September 8th.

Secondary, Bachillerato and vocational centres: September 9th.

School holidays work slightly different in Cabtabria, with five teaching sessions and four holiday breaks. This coming school year, the holidays will be between October 31st and November 4th, December 24th and January 9th for Christmas, the week of February 20th, and then April 10th to 14th for Easter.

Aragon

Infant, Primary, Secondary: September 8th.

Bachillerato: September 12th.

Vocational Training centres: September 14th.

Christmas holidays will be from December 22nd, 2022 to Friday, January 6th, 2023, and Easter holidays between April 3rd and 10th.

Asturias

In Asturias, all schools return on September 12th, the first time the region had coordinated the back to school dates for all teaching centres.

School holidays are scheduled from December 27th, 2022 to January 5th, 2023 and from April 3rd to 11th, 2023.

Valencia

Infant, Primary, Secondary, Bachillerato and Vocational Training all return on September 12th.

Holidays will be from December 23rd, 2022 to January 6th for Christmas, and April 6th to 17th, 2023 for the Easter break.

Extremadura

Infants, Primary, and Secondary: September 12th.

Bachillerato and Vocational Training: September 13th.

Christmas holidays in Extremadura will be from December 23rd, 2022 to January 5th, 2023, and Easter from April 3rd to 10th, 2023.

Castilla-La Mancha

Infant, Primary, and Secondary: September 7th.

Bachillerato and Vocational Training: September 8th.

The Christmas holidays will be from December 23rd, 2022 to January 8th, 2023, and the Easter holidays are set to be between April 3rd and 10th, 2023.

Castille and León

Infant and Primary schools: September 9th.

Secondary, Bachillerato and Vocational Training: September 14th.

Christmas holidays will be from December 22nd, 2022 until January 9th, and Easter between March 29th, 2023 until April 10th.

Balearic Islands

In the Balearic Islands, all Infants, Primary, Secondary and Bachillerto students will return on September 12th.

Vocational Training centres: 23rd September.

The Christmas holidays will be from December 23rd, 2022 to January 5th, 2023 in the Balearics, and the Easter holidays between April 6th and 14th, 2023.

Navarra

In Navarra all schools return on September 7th.

Christmas holidays will be from December 23rd to January 8th, and the Easter break from April 6th to April 16th.

La Rioja

In Rioja all schools (Infant, Primary, Secondary, Bachillerato and Vocational Training) return on September 8th.

Christmas break is slated for December 24th, 2022 until January 8, 2023 and Easter from April 1st to 10th, 2023.

Murcia

Infant and Primary: September 8th.

Secondary, Bachillerato and Vocational Training: September 12th.

Christmas break in Murcia is between December 24th and January 6th; Easter from April 3rd to 7th.

Canary Islands

Infant and Primary: September 9th.

Secondary, Bachillerato and Vocational Training: September 12th.

Christmas holidays will run from December 23rd to January 6th, and the Easter break from April 3rd to 7th.

Ceuta

In Ceuta, all schools go back on September 8th.

The Christmas holidays will be from December 23rd to January 6th. Easter break will be between April 3rd and 7th.

Melilla

In Melilla all schools go back to class on September 6th.

The Christmas holidays are set for December 23rd to January 5th, and the Easter holidays April 3rd to 7th.

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For members

WHAT CHANGES IN SPAIN

KEY POINTS: Everything that changes in Spain in October 2022

From VAT cuts on heating, a new citizenship law, a change to Spain's Covid travel restrictions, the latest on UK licences, a round-up of festivals and plenty more, become a member to find out about all the important changes in Spain in October 2022.

KEY POINTS: Everything that changes in Spain in October 2022

Spain’s new sexual consent law comes into effect

October 7th brings the enforcement of a government bill toughening the country’s rape laws by requiring explicit consent for sex acts.

In essence, the law reforms Spain’s criminal code to define rape as sex without clear consent. Crucially, that removes the need for rape victims to prove that they resisted or were subject to violence or intimidation.

READ MORE: ‘Only yes means yes’: Spain edges closer to passing new sexual consent law

“Consent is recognised only when a person has freely demonstrated it through actions which, in the context of the circumstances of the case, clearly express the person’s will,” says the bill.

The proposed reform comes after of a notorious 2016 gang rape of an 18-year-old woman by five men at the bull-running festival in Pamplona, northern Spain.

VAT cut on gas bills

In yet another bid to ease the pain of the cost of living crisis, the Spanish government has introduced a new cost-cutting measure which aims to decrease the amount both residents and small businesses will pay on their gas bills this coming winter.

The VAT cut, which comes into force on October 1st, will also apply to other items used for heating such as pellets, briquets and wood as the price of said biofuel products has also increased considerably in the lead-up to the winter months. 

READ MORE: How much will Spain’s gas VAT cut save me per month?

Bottled butane gas has not been included in the new measure, but its price have been frozen at €19.55 per canister.

The reduction will mean monthly savings for an average user of between €5 and €19, depending on how much they use and the type of contract they have, according to consumer associations.

Overall, the Spanish government estimates the move will represent a save of €210 million for the Spanish population. 

Clocks change

It’s that time of year again. The evenings begin to get darker a little earlier – and the clocks go back. In 2022, the change will come in the early hours of Sunday, October 31st, when daylight saving time officially ends and winter time begins. To be specific, the change comes at 3:00 a.m. on the morning of the 31st of October.

READ MORE: Why Spain is still in the wrong time zone because of Hitler

Fourth Covid vaccines for the over-80s

October will also see the ramping up of the second Covid-19 booster roll-out for people over 80’s and those in care homes, a campaign which also includes the flu vaccine for those who wish to have it. 

As planned, the campaign has started in all Spanish regions on September 26th, except for in Andalusia, where it will begin on October 3rd.

The vaccines to be used will the new inoculations developed by Moderna and Pfizer against the Omicron BA.1 sub-variant, serums approved by the European Medicines Agency on September 1st. 

In Andalusia the Covid-flu vaccination campaign starts on October 3rd, in Aragón and Navarre on October 10th, in the Balearics on October 13th, in Asturias, Cantabria, Catalonia, Extremadura, Galicia, Madrid, Murcia and Castilla y León all on September 26th, whereas in the remaining regions the date for the double vaccination campaign is not yet known.

READ MORE: Spain starts fourth Covid vaccine rollout for over-80s

UK driving licences saga to continue as anger grows

As many of you will know by now, UK driving licence holders who have resided in Spain for more than six months have not been able to drive since May 1st. Five months later and there still isn’t a deal within close sight.

The UK Embassy in Spain is no longer speculating about when an exchange agreement could possibly be reached. The latest update posted on their Brits in Spain Facebook group on September 16th stated that: “We are genuinely making progress on resolving the outstanding points but, for reasons we’ve explained before, we cannot be definitive about the timescale.”

Another Facebook group called “Invasion of the British embassy in Madrid for the DL exchange issue” has since been set up where members are threatening to stage a protest unless the matter is soon resolved. 

Will October bring a major change? Progress may well be made in terms of negotiations but the legislation has to be approved by several branches of the Spanish government before it actually comes into force, and keeping in mind the speed at which bureaucracy in Spain usually moves, it is unlikely to be streamlined in the next 30 days.

Domestic workers law

Following a ruling by the EU’s Court of Justice (CJEU) and pressure from trade unions, the government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez adopted a reform is to introduce a bill aimed at ending the “discrimination” suffered by these workers.

READ MORE: The new rules for hiring a domestic worker in Spain

Under the changes, which come into force on October 1st, domestic workers are now entitled to claim unemployment benefits and cannot be dismissed without justification.

They will also be covered by healthcare “protection” and be able to access training to improve their “professional opportunities” and job conditions.

Grandchildrens’ citizenship law

A law that makes it easier for the children and grandchildren of Spaniards to gain citizenship will be debated in the Spanish parliament in October.

The bill, also known as the Historical Memory Law, proposes that the children and grandchildren of Spaniards (born in Spain) can gain Spanish citizenship without needing to live or be resident in Spain for any minimum period of time.

“Those born outside Spain to a father or mother, grandfather or grandmother, who would originally have been Spanish, and who, as a result of having suffered exile for political, ideological or belief reasons or sexual orientation and identity, have lost or renounced Spanish nationality, may opt for Spanish nationality, for the purposes of article 20 of the Civil Code,” the text of the proposed bill states.

READ ALSO: How foreigners can get fast-track citizenship in Spain

Covid temperature checks for travellers end

The Covid-19 pandemic is still affecting international travel to Spain – especially if you’re from a non-EU country. 

On Tuesday September 20th, Spain scrapped the requirement from all international passengers arriving by air or sea in the country to complete and show a Covid health control form.

Now, on October 20th, Covid temperature controls and visual checks will be scrapped, sources from Spain’s state airport manager Aena told Spanish daily El Periódico.

READ MORE: FACT CHECK: Do you still need Covid documents to travel to Spain?

However, it is important to note that non-EU tourists such as Britons, Americans, Australians, Canadians or New Zealanders still have to show one of three documents to be able to enter Spain, following an extension of the rule until at least November 15th. These are: 

  • A Covid-19 vaccination certificate –  Your vaccination status must meet the Spanish authorities’ validity period requirements. If more than 270 days have passed since your initial vaccination, you need to show proof of a booster shot.
  • A negative Covid-19 test – This should be either a PCR taken within 72 hours prior of departure or an antigen test, taken within 24 hours prior of departure. 
  • A recovery certificate –  This must be dated within the last six months. You can use a medical certificate or recovery record to prove your Covid-19 status.

Face masks are also still required on planes which are bound for Spain, but you don’t have to wear one at the airport.

Weather forecast

Spain has experienced some extreme weather this summer. With record temperatures, record rains and flooding in the Canary Islands, drought conditions, and flash floods in Murcia, Spanish weather has been changeable and unpredictable in September.

READ MORE: 640 flights cancelled as storm Hermine hits Spain’s Canary Islands

But what’s the forecast for October?

In terms of temperature, the average temperatures are set to be between 4-7 ° C lower than in September, which saw some of the summer heat linger into Autumn. Despite that, forecasts from Meteored suggest that the coming October will be warmer than usual, with temperatures up to 1 ° C above the average.

Expect some rain too as October is normally one of the rainiest in Spain except for a few regions of the country including the Canary Islands, the Balearics, the southern most points of Andalusia and the Upper Ebro.

Forecasts suggest that the rainfall will be primarily focused in the second half of the month, but the southeast and Balearic Islands will experience average rainfall throughout.

What’s on in Spain in October?

The turn in the weather doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot going on in Spain in October. Zaragoza celebrates one of its main fiestas, the Fiestas del Pilar.

Beteen the 4th and 12th of October, the fiestas of San Froilán de Lugo, one of the most popular celebrations in Galicia also takes place.

October is also a great time for foodies in Spain. Galicia hosts its Fiesta del Marisco (seafood festival) and at the end of the month is Castilla-La-Mancha’s Fiesta de la Rosa del Azafrán.

Elsewhere in Spain, October is an artsy month. In Alcalá de Henares, they celebrate Semana Cervantina – a weeklong celebration of Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, and there’s a nighttime performance of Don Juan in Alcalá.

Fuel prices still high but falling

For drivers, you’ll be pleased to know that petrol prices are steadily falling but still nowhere near the level before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The price of petrol has dropped by 20 percent to €1.70 per litre from the €2.15 price it reached in June (before the government discount) but still 12 percent more expensive than before the war began. Diesel prices have fallen by 15 percent to €1.81 on September 24th, before the government’s 20 percent discount is applied.

READ MORE: REMINDER: How drivers in Spain can get 20 euro cents off every litre of fuel

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