Finding the right school for your children is essential to your kids wellbeing in Madrid. Growing up in a foreign country is a unique opportunity to learn a new language and a new culture. Luckily, Madrid has many options to enable your children to learn and progress in a new environment. The main strength of private schools compared to public schools in Spain is that the teachers have more time and ressources to give much more personal attention to the pupil, and the level of English spoken there will really be bilingual.
The first criteria would then be to see which schools are close to where you are thinking of living. Most private schools in the suburbs have a private bus service to take their pupils around Madrid from their home to their school. These fees can cost from 1,000 to 2,500 a year. Anyway, you should try to find a school less than 20 minutes by car or bus from where you live. They are in majority in the North of Madrid, either out of the center but still in Madrid, or in the suburbs. I recommend you have a look at this interactive map to see all the best private schools for expat children in Madrid.
The second criteria would then be the price. The price tag for one of these quality private schools would be between 4000 and 20 000 € a year, depending on the services and reputation of the school. Most schools do not disclose their prices on their websites. You will have to contact them to get the price quote for your specific case. Ask about prices to several schools, including: yearly tuition fees, “matrícula”/inscription/capital fee, bus fee, and other charges you might have. Compare final prices since schools usually have many fees you will need to sum up to be able to compare.
Third criteria: do you want your child to be only with other expat kids, or to mingle with local Spanish pupils who want to be bilingual ? Most private bilingual schools have a majority of Spanish pupils, some only have expats. If you feel your children has to get more support and feel less lost on his first year, then going for a 100% expat school can be a solution. If you believe that your children will be able to learn Spanish and make friends in a new environment, then choosing a mixed Spanish / Expat pupil population is the best choice. It is all about defining the capacity of your child to adapt to its new environment: does he need to dive directly into this new world, or does he need a transition period within an expat environment ? Depends also if you are in Spain for the long term or only for a short period.
Last but not least, you should be able to assess the quality of the teaching. This is the hardest part. You should ask for:
- the school curriculum,
- the staff credentials,
- references of families from the same country/region with children in the school,
- ask directly “How are you different from X/Y/Z (schools you are considering)”
If you need help to move to Madrid zen, do not hesitate to send us an email !