Almost half of Spanish families pay for private classes for their children

Almost half of children in Spain take some form of private lessons outside of school, a new study has revealed.

Almost half of Spanish families pay for private classes for their children
Almost half of Spanish children take private lessons. Photo: Taylor Flowe / Unsplash

The latest report from Esade’s Centre for Economic Policies (EsadeEcPol) shows that almost half of children in Spain take private classes or have private tutors outside of school hours.

It showed that a total of 47 percent of children in Spain take some type of private lessons and that Spanish families spend an average of €270 per course, per year on them. 

These are not simply extracurricular activities such as sports or dance clubs, but further academic lessons or tutors for particular subjects, explained Ángel Martínez, economist and researcher at Esade and co-author of the study,

At the top of the leaderboard are language lessons, primarily English, which Spanish parents believe to be one of the most important for their kids, followed by music lessons.

Juan Manuel Moreno, professor at UNED and another co-author of the Esade study explains that 46 percent of the spending that families dedicate to private classes corresponds to languages. Given this high figure, “It would be necessary to analyse how English is taught in schools,” he said.

READ ALSO: Spaniards have second lowest level of English in EU

The philosopher and educator Gregorio Luri, who believes that many parents are convinced schools are failing their children, agrees and added that if a parent wants their child to fully master a foreign language, they take them to a private academy or hire a teacher.

The study also shows that children of all ages, from primary right through to high school are taking private lessons. 30 percent of kids in their second year of kindergarten have some type of private tutorage outside of shcool, followed by 45 percent in primary education. This skyrockets to 63 percent at ESO level (12 to 16-year-olds) and 74 percent at baccalaureate level (16 to 18-year-olds). 

The amount parents spend on extra classes also increases according to age. The amount starts at €117 a year for the youngest school-aged children, followed by €223 in primary, €358 at ESO level, and €420 for baccalaureate level.

Although the average number of schoolchildren who attend private classes in Spain is 47 percent, there are differences between regions and in some it’s over half.  

The Basque Country takes the lead where 56 percent of students take private lessons, followed by Valencia and Castilla y León with 51 percent each. Catalonia is also slightly, above the average at 48 percent.  

At the bottom of the table are Castilla-La Mancha, where 36 percent of children take private classes, and Madrid with 41 percent.

Madrid, however, followed by Catalonia, is the region where parents spend the most on private classes and tutors at an average of €350 per course, per student.

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Spanish cities among least expensive in Europe for international schools

Of the ten least expensive cities for international schools in Europe, four are in Spain. Find out where they are and the average costs.

Spanish cities among least expensive in Europe for international schools

While the public education system in Spain is generally considered to be good, many foreigners choose to enroll their kids in private international schools instead. 

This could be for a variety of reasons, although the most common is that they want their child to learn in English or another native language such as French or they want their children to have internationally recognised high school diplomas so that it’s easier for them to apply for universities in other countries. 

READ ALSO: 11 things to consider when choosing a school for your child in Spain

A new study by the International Schools Database, which helps both local and foreign parents choose the best international schools for their children has discovered that Spain is among the cheapest countries for international education in Europe. 

The company analysed the international school costs from 31 cities in 20 European countries, using the latest available data from December 31st 2022. 

Out of the ten least expensive places for international schools, four are in Spain and three are located in Eastern Europe.

Valencia, Alicante (Costa Blanca), Málaga (Costa del Sol) and Mallorca are all listed among the 10 cheapest places for international schools in Europe. 

Valencia in fact was not only the least expensive place in Spain for international schools, but the second-cheapest in Europe with an average cost of €5,554 per year, coming just behind Copenhagen in Denmark which was named the least expensive city for international education for the third year in a row with an average cost of €4,148 per year. 

According to the International Schools Database, there are 24 International Schools in Valencia, which mainly lie in and around the city of Valencia itself, although there are a few are located further south in places such as Xavita and Gandía. 

Alicante and the Costa Blanca came in just behind Valencia with an average cost of €6,030, followed by Malaga and the Costa del Sol with €6,573 and then Mallorca with €7,760. 

The database lists 26 international schools in Alicante and the Costa Blanca, running all the way from Jávea in the north to near Torrevieja in the south. 

While in Málaga and the Costa del Sol, it lists 33 International Schools, running from Málaga city itself, through some of the major towns along the coast all the way to Sotogrande. 

Despite being an island, the database lists a total of 17 International Schools in Mallorca, mostly located along the western and northern areas. 

The other two Spanish cities on the list – Barcelona and Madrid just missed the top 10, coming in at numbers came in at numbers 12 and 13 respectively. 

In Barcelona, the average price for an international school is €7,941 per year, while in Madrid it’s €8,249 per year. 

Madrid is the city with the most international schools in Spain with a total of 56 according to the database, followed by Barcelona with 47. 

The most expensive city to send your kids to an international school in is Zurich in Switzerland with an average cost of €25,478 per year. This is followed by other Swiss cities – Lausanne and Geneva, making up the top three most expensive in Europe.