Costa del Sol Schools Guide 2017

Like other European countries, education is compulsory in Spain from ages 6 to 16. The standard of Spanish schools has risen dramatically, with less discipline issues than other countries, such as the UK. This guide gives you a brief introduction to the system, and lists some of the most popular schools along the coast.

International School Education

Most expats choose to send their children to an international school, because this allows their children to be taught to a decent standard in English as well as Spanish.

Most are members of the National Association of British Schools in Spain (NABSS).

British schools follow the UK national curriculum, which leads to GCSE and A-Level Qualifications. Many also offer bachelor diplomas as an A-Level alternative.

Class sizes are generally small, and the atmosphere relaxed.

Of course, these schools are fee paying, and fees vary from school to school.

Pros and cons of private schools on the Costa del Sol

Like private schools in the UK, private schools will often be categorised by smaller class sizes, and higher quality teachers than their equivalent state school. You will often find they offer more activities as well. Nearly half of all pupils in Spain will attend a private school. International Schools apply to a different market – that of families that are potentially moving from country to country, and want to keep their child´s education as close as possible to that offered in the UK. These schools have much more resources, and so are better suited to adapt to your child´s current study curriculum. They will offer much less integration into Spanish society than other schools, and this can be a disadvantage if you plan to live permanently in Spain.

Spanish State Education

Spanish state education is open to all EU citizens, and is free from pre-school to 18. Books, stationery, and extra-curricular activities are not funded by these state schools. Like In the UK, Villages and Suburbs will have their own primary and nursery schools, and the larger secondary schools have a bigger catchment area. As in the UK, you will have to live in a certain catchment area should you wish your child to go to a certain school – so bear this in mind when searching for property, and deciding where to live.

Pros and cons of state schools on the Costa del Sol

If you decided to send your child to a normal State Spanish school, you will have advantages and disadvantages:

1- You will have to live in the catchment area of your chosen school. This is a big consideration when choosing a house or area. You may find a bargain house, in an area you love, but the catchment area means your child would have to attend a poor school!

2- The curriculum is very different to that of say, the UK, and this means your child will be behind in some area, and in others well advanced. It may take some time before your child feels happy and adjusted in their school group. If they are significantly behind, they may be allocated a more junior class, which can be demoralising, and cancel out advantages of attending a Spanish school.

3- It can be a huge challenge for a child to adjust to a new country, new language, and new curriculum at the same time!!

4- If a child is studying the Spanish curriculum, in Spanish, it can be very difficult for you as a parent to assist your child when completing homework.

5- Like state schools in the UK, they will not offer the same amount of extra-curricular activities that private schools will offer.

Despite these drawbacks, there are 3 very important positives to sending your child to a local state school:

1- Your child will mix with ordinary Spanish children, and learn the language and culture much quicker than if they attended an international school. It is much more than just learning a new language, it is about understanding the history and mindset or the people where you live. Being completely bicultural also offers a huge range of well-paying jobs.

It is also important to keep your children in touch with their original roots, as having a family with opposing culture can also be bewildering for a young child.

2- Your child mixing fully in Spanish society will inevitably mean you mix with more Spaniards as well!! Helping you settle much quicker in your new country.

3- You will save a huge amount of money!! Although this is often the last issue parents consider when deciding on school for their children.

The Spanish Education System Explained

Nursery Education (0-6 years)

There are a range of nurseries, that are both private and state funded. They are a good way to integrate your child quickly into Spanish living, and are divided into two stages – 0-3 Years and 3-6 Years. It´s also a great way for you to quickly immerse yourself into the local community as well.

Spanish Compulsory Education (6-16 years)

This consists of two stages:

Primary education (Educación Primaria) from the age of 6 to 12

Lower Secondary education (Educación Secundaria Obligatoria - ESO) from the age of 12 to 16.

Spanish children are given the extra motivator, that if they fail their end of year exams in either primary of secondary education, they may well have to repeat the whole year!! Which definitely makes Spanish children more focussed!!

Non-Compulsory Education (16-18 years)

Students can go down one of two routes (as long as they have their certificate to show they have completed their ESO): Upper level of secondary education (Bachillerato)
OR Intermediate vocational training.
The upper level of secondary education prepares students for university and is similar to the UK A-Level system. Alternatively, students can study vocational courses, that run alongside work placements.

University Higher Education

Students must complete the ´Selectividad´ entrance exam before applying for university. Once accepted – in a similar system to in the UK – Students study for 3 years, and gain either a licencia (in academic subjects) Or a diploma in vocational subjects. The next stage for students is further study such as an MA or PhD. Spanish university courses have been changing dramatically in recent years, as the government would like courses to be in line with EU regulations. Many students attend the university closest to their home, so they can live at home and commute. There are several well-respected universities in the area including Málaga, Córdoba, Granada and Seville. Student loans are much more difficult to obtain in Spain, so parents and students should consider all options, as it is of course a huge life decision on whether to attend university or not, not to mention a large investment! Useful contacts: National Association of British Schools in Spain -



Peter Pan Nursery

C/ El Olivar 5, Arroyo de la Miel (Benalmádena). Tel: (+34) 952 562 103.
Also now at MARBELLA; C/Los Naranjos s/n, Urb. Linda Vista, San Pedro de Alcántara, 29670 Marbella.
(+34) 952 782 051
Bilingual education: 0 - 3 years. Also offering after school activities club, excursions and baby-sitting service.


Costa Kinder Care

(Next to the Buddhist Stupa), Benalmádena Pueblo. Tel: (+34) 952 448 007
Bilingual education: 0 - 6 years. Also offering after school activities/homework club and language classes for adults.


St. Javier's International School, Marbella

Tel: (+34) 952 823 457
Email: [email protected]
Bilingual education: 1 - 7 years. Optional after school classes and night time babysitting service.



The International School Estepona

Centro Commercial La Zarza Camino de Cortes, Urbanisation El Paraíso, Estepona.
Tel: (+34) 952 884 789
Bilingual: 2-12 years


Swans International School (Primary)

Capricho s/n, 29600 Marbella, Malaga

E-mail: [email protected]
Tel: 952 773 248
Fax: 952 776 431

Swans School, founded in 1971, teaches children from ages 3-12. 300 pupils. Two classes in each year. English National Curriculum plus full Spanish Primary course in language and humanities. From Year 4 (age 8-9) all pupils they also study French. French, Arabic and German languages are also available extra-curriculum.


Calpe School

C/. Los Eucaliptos 60, Urb. Linda Vista Baja, San Pedro de Alcántara

Tel: (+34) 952 786 029

Bilingual: 3 - 9 years.

Saint George's School

Urb. Cortijo Blanco s/n, 29670, San Pedro de Alcántara.
Tel: (+34) 952 786 606. 2 - 8 years.



Aloha College
Urbanizacion el Angel, Nueva Andalucia, 29660, Marbella, Málaga, Spain

E-mail: [email protected]
Tel: 952 814 133
Fax:(+34) 95 281 2729

Ages 3-18, co-ed day school. IGCSEs at age 16. 16-18 year olds do the IB diploma only. Founded in 1982. On the outskirts of Marbella. Known for its academic and sporting achievements. Generally considered by parents as one of the top schools on the coast. By far the largest of the schools listed - around 1000 students. Has recently dropped some of its emphasis on sport to concentrate on bringing academic results back up to expectations. Pupils go on to leading universities in the UK and Continent. Many nationalities.

Benalmadena International College
C/Catamaran s/n, Nueva Torrequebrada,
Benalmadena Costa

E-mail: [email protected]
Tel/Fax: 952 561 666

Ages 3-18, co-ed day school. British school, mostly attended by British pupils. Founded 1997. English Curriculum education with IGCSEs, AS and A Levels. For those not wanting to do A levels, the school has recently introduced vocational courses.

Laude San Pedro International College

Urbanizacion Nueva Alcantara, Avenida Coruña 2, San Pedro de Alcantara, 29670 Malaga.

E-mail: [email protected]
Principal: Gillian Falxman
Tel: 952 799 900
Fax: 952 799 055

Member: Colegios Laude Formerly King’s College, Marbella, and then International College San Pedro. Pupils aged 2-18, co-ed day school. Two form entry school. Pupils follow the English National Curriculum. IGCSEs at age 16. AS and A levels at 16-18.

Mayfair Academy

Avenida de las Golondrinas, Atalaya Park, Estepona 29680, Malaga

E-mail: [email protected]
Tel:952 784 923
Fax: 952 789381

Midway between Marbella and Estepona. Pupils aged 4-18, co-ed day school. Offers I.G.C.S.E. and A Levels. It also has an alternative Sports, Skills, Study & Career (SSS) Technology Curriculum available from age 15 (Year 10 through 13). which is unique to the Costa del Sol. The SSS includes 7 GCSEs and 1 A Level. This gives an alternative university entrance route with two NVQs and a Community Sports Leaders Award, or a full gym instructor/personal trainer qualification.

St Anthony's College

Postal Address: Apartado 119, Fuengirola 29640 Physical Address: Camino de Coin Km. 5.25, Mijas Costa 29649, Malaga

E-mail: [email protected]
Tel: 952 473 166
Fax: 952 462 021


Ages 3-18, co-ed day school; an officially recognised bilingual school offering an English curriculum with GCSEs at 16 and a wide range of A Levels at 18. Established in 1968. It also offers Spanish EGB, BUP and COU. Spanish Section gives lessons in Spanish Language and Culture. Enables the validation of British studies by the Spanish Ministry of Education, leading to Graduado en Educación Secundaria (GCSE equivalent) and Título de Bachiller Español (GCE equivalent).

St George’s British School of Malaga

Avda Centaurea, nº 8 (Urb.Cerrado de Calderón), 29018 Malaga

E-mail: [email protected] Tel: 952 290 149, 952 204810
Fax: 952 200 903


Situated just east of Malaga. Co-ed day school. Ages 3-18. English National Curriculum. IGCSE from ages 14-16, A Levels from 16-18. Also, Also, a number of Spanish language courses help with preparation for Universities in Spain.

Sotogrande International School

Postal Address: Apartado 15, 11310 Sotogrande, Provincia de Cadiz, Spain Physical Address: Avenida de La Reserva (CA 533 - Km 3) 11310 Sotogrande, San Roque, Cadiz, Spain

Tel: 956 795 902 Fax:956 794 816
Email: [email protected]
Web site:
Member:, ECIS

Near to Gibraltar, this is the southernmost international school on the Costa del Sol. Situated in a particularly wealthy area. Founded in 1978. Co-ed day (ages 3-18 years) and boarding (ages 11-18). It is the only international boarding school in Southern Spain).

Students obtain good IB examination results, and do well in inter-school sports competitions. The school is highly regarded and offers PYP, MYP and IB Diploma and certificates.

Sunland International School

Ctra. Cartama-Pizarra, Nueva Aljaima, 29580 Cartama Estacion, Malaga

E-mail: [email protected]
Tel: 952 424 253
Fax: 952 424 410 Member of ECIS; accredited by CIS.

Situated around 20km inland from Malaga. Lovely, spacious rural setting, this growing 300 pupil school gives a particularly friendly welcome. Mostly used by inland families, though there are school bus services from Malaga and from Benalmadena-Torremolinos. Spanish owned, Currently ages 3-17, with up to age 18. Co-ed day. Pupils are mostly British. English curriculum, (SATS ages 11 and 14, and IGCSEs). Also, Spanish language and studies (eg.Conocimiento del Medio) are important. In May 2008, the growing secondary school saw its first IGCSE exam sittings, and began its first A Level course in September 2008.

Sunny View School

Apartado 175, 29620 Torremolinos, Malaga, Spain C/Teruel 32, Urb. Cerro del Toril, Torremolinos

Web: #
E-mail: [email protected]
Tel: 952 383 164
Fax: 952 37 26 95


Founded 1971. In the hills above Torremolinos. Over 450 pupils. Co-ed day school. Ages 3-18. Pre-School, Primary and Secondary Schools. Complete English National Curriculum education, including GCSE from ages 14-16, A Levels from 16-18.

Swans Sierra Blanca

(Secondary School) C/Lago de Cisnes, Urb. Sierra Blanca, 29602 Marbella, Malaga

Email: [email protected]
Tel: 952 902 755
Fax: 952 900 914

Swans Secondary school has been growing incrementally since 2003. Co-ed day ages 11-18. It offers IGCSE, and since Sept 2008 provides the full IB diploma to Sixth Form students. It offers a wide range of extra-curricular activities.

The British College Benalmadena

Urb. Torremuelle, C/Guadalmedina 3-5-7 29630 Benalmadena Costa

E-mail: [email protected]
Tel: 952 442 215
Fax: 952 56 22 72


Ages 5-18. Co-ed day school. A 5 minute walk from Torremuelle train station on the Fuengirola - Malaga line, which is much used by the older pupils. In addition to its British and other European pupils, it is well represented by Spanish pupils, who are given intensive English language tuition. English National Curriculum. Students do IGCSEs for ages 14-16, A/S Levels at 17, and A Levels at 18. A bilingual school for all ages. Spanish Language and Literature, and Spanish History and Geography, are taught in the Secondary school. It has a Psychology department staffed by three psychologists where the staff are used within the school.

The English International College

Urb Ricmar, Crtr. De Cadiz, Málaga Km 189, 29600, Marbella, Provincia de Malaga.

Tel:952 831 058
Fax:952 838 992
Email: [email protected]

Founded 1982. At Las Chapas, close to Marbella. Around 500 boys and girls aged 3-18 years. Most students are British, with around 1 in 5 who have English as a second or third language
A very popular school on the coast, because of its focus on providing a traditional English National Curriculum education, and its high academic and sporting standards. Reassuring to parents who are yet to become familiar with the IB programme. It provides SATS tests for ages 7, 11, and 14, IGCSEs and A Levels. Has a large Spanish language department, also covering the Spanish national exam systems. It assesses pupils before entrance. Most pupils go on to good, mostly British, universities.

The International School Estepona (Primary School)

Centro Commercial La Zarza Camino De Cortes, Urb. El Paraiso, Estepona 29688, Malaga
E-mail: [email protected]
Tel: 952 884 789 Fax: 952 886 926

Benavista, Estepona, near Marbella. Primary School Only. Ages 2 to 12 years. Co-ed day school. Bi-lingual (English & Spanish). Small Classes. English National Curriculum. Montessori for ages 2-5. Includes an all weather sports court, landscaped gardens, school vegetable garden. Air-conditioned and heated classrooms, child sized toilets, rounded walls, a state of the art computer suite with digital smart boards, sports grounds and a soft play area for the younger children.


The Marbella Design Academy

All tuition is in English, with courses including Interior architecture, furniture design and graphic design. Camino Hoyanca, 29110 Monda..
Tel: (+34) 952 459 677/609 594 885

The Tutorial Learning Centre

Tuition in a variety of GCSE and A Level subjects.
N340/A7, Km. 197, Calahonda, Mijas Costa. Tel: (+34) 952 838 078

Málaga Business College Provides tuition for the University of London/LSE undergraduate degree in business and diploma for graduates in Management. Melior Building, C/ Palma del Río 19, 29004 Málaga.
Tel: (+34) 951 164 923



Escuela Finlandesa

C/. José Salik 4, Urb. Los Pacos, Fuengirola.
Tel: (+34) 952 476 193


German College

(Colegio Alemán Juan Hoffman) Urb. Elviria, La Mairena, Plaza de Alemania s/n, Marbella,
Tel: (+34) 952 831 417


Norwegian School

(Colegio Noruego/Den Norske skolen Costa del Sol) Avenida Cerro Del Viento s/n, Arroyo De La Miel, Benalmadena.
Tel: 952 577 380


Swedish School

(Colegio Sueco/ Svenska Skolan) Avda. Acapulco 11, Fuengirola.
Tel: 952 475 076