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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice



Last update: 13 February 2023
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Academic support specific needs (necesidades específicas de apoyo educativo)

Pupils who require educational attention differing from the ordinary, due to special educational needs, as a result of delayed maturation, language and communication development disorders, attention or learning disorders, severe lack of knowledge of the language used in learning, socio-educational vulnerability, high intellectual abilities, late entry into the educational system or personal conditions or school history.

Assessment criteria (criterios de evaluación)

are defined as the references that indicate the level of student performance in the learning situations or activities to which the specific competences of each area, field or subject refer at a given moment in the learning process.

Certificate of professional experience (Certificado de Profesionalidad)

Certificate officially accrediting vocational competences, that is, the set of knowledge and skills that enables to pursue a professional activity in accordance with production and employment requirements.  These competences refer to ‘competence units’ of vocational qualifications from the National Catalogue of Vocational Qualifications, so each ‘certificate of professional experience’ can comprise one or more of these units.

Competence unit (Unidad de competencia)

The minimum element of a vocational competence that can be partially recognised and accredited.

Diagnostic assessments (evaluaciones de diagnóstico)

Assessment that schools carry out for their pupils in the fourth year of Primary Education and in the second year of Compulsory Secondary Education. The purpose is to provide a diagnosis and to check, at least, the mastery degree of linguistic communication and mathematical competence. Schools will take the results of these assessments into account in their improvement plans. The National Institute for Educational Evaluation and the corresponding bodies in the education administrations collaborate in the implementation of a common assessment framework.

Exit Profile (Perfil de salida)

Students' Exit Profile at the end of basic education is the tool that identifies and defines, in connection with the challenges of the 21st century, the key competences that students are expected to have developed on completing this stage within their educational itinerary. The Exit Profile is unique and the same one for the whole national territory. The baseline reference for defining the competences included in the Exit Profile is the European Union Council Recommendation of 22 May 2018 on key competences for lifelong learning.

General evaluation of the education system (evaluación general del sistema educativo)

Evaluations that make it possible to obtain representative data, both for students and schools in the Autonomous Communities and for the State as a whole. They are carried out by the National Institute for Educational Evaluation, in collaboration with the education authorities. They deal with the competences established in the curriculum and are carried out in Primary and Secondary education.

Educational inspection (Inspección educativa)

Civil servants from the Educational Inspection Service supervise, evaluate and control, from a pedagogical and organisational point of view, the functioning of educational institutions, as well as the projects and programmes they may develop. Among other functions, they also supervise the teaching practice and the managerial function, and cooperate in their constant improvement.

Improvement plan (Plan de mejora)

Document incorporated into the school's Educational Project, in which, based on the analysis of the different assessment processes of the pupils and the school itself, the strategies and actions necessary to improve educational results and the procedures for coordination and relations with families and the environment are proposed.

Inspection of the education system (inspección del sistema educativo)

It is carried out on all elements and aspects of the education system, in order to ensure compliance with the law, guarantee the rights and observe the duties of all those involved in the teaching and learning process, improve the education system and ensure the quality and equity of education. The relevant public administrations are responsible for organising, regulating and carrying out this educational inspection within their respective territorial scope.

Key competences (competencias clave)

Skills that are considered essential for students to be able to progress with guaranteed success in their educational itinerary, and to face the main global and local challenges.

They are the adaptation to the Spanish education system of the key competences established in the European Union Council Recommendation of 22 May 2018 on key competences for lifelong learning.

This adaptation aims to link the competences to the 21st century challenges and to the principles and purposes of the Spanish education system according to LOE 2/2006 as amended by LOMLOE 3/2020. They are also adapted to the school context, as the Key Competences included in the recommendation refer to lifelong learning throughout life, not to the basic education stage.

The key competences that are listed in the pupils' exit profile at the end of compulsory education are:

  • Linguistic communication skills.
  • Multilingual skills.
  • mathematical competence and scientific, technological and engineering skills.
  • digital skills.
  • personal, social and learning to learn skills.
  • citizenship skills.
  • entrepreneurial skills.
  • cultural awareness and expression skills.

The key competences have a cross-cutting nature and the acquisition of each of them contributes to the acquisition of the others.

Operational descriptors (descriptores operativos)

They constitute, together with the stage objectives, the reference framework for determining the specific competences in each area, field or subject.

For each of the Key Competences, a set of operational descriptors has been defined. They are included in the Exit Profile. The link between operational descriptors and specific competences allows for the assessment of the degree of acquisition of the key competences based on the assessment of those specific competences.

Since the key competences are acquired in a sequential and progressive manner, the exit profile also includes operational descriptors that provide guidance on the expected performance upon completion of Primary Education.

Publicly-funded private educational institutions (centros educativos privados concertados)

Private schools offering free education under a system based on educational agreements. Private schools providing services to populations with unfavourable economic conditions, those carrying out experiments of pedagogical interest for the education system, those favouring local schooling and those constituted and operating under a cooperative system, shall have priority in order to benefit from the system of educational agreements.

Pupils who integrate late into the Spanish education system (alumnos con integración tardía en el sistema educativo español)

Students who, because they come from other countries or due to any other reason, are incorporated late in the Spanish education system. This incorporation will be guaranteed, under all circumstances, within compulsory school attendance age ranges.

School Council (Consejo Escolar)

In public schools, it is made up of the head of the institution, who acts as President, the head of studies, a councillor or representative of the Town Council, a number of teachers who may not be less than one third of the total number of members of the Council, a number of parents or guardians and pupils who may not be less than one third of the total number of members of the Council, a representative of the administration and services staff of the institution and the secretary of the institution, who will act as secretary of the Council, with the right to speak but not to vote.

School Development Plan (proyecto educativo de centro)

It lists the values, goals and priorities for action of an educational institution within the framework of the characteristics of the social, economic, natural and cultural environment of the school's pupils, as well as the relations with educational, social, economic and cultural actors in the surrounding area. It includes the specification of the curricula established by the corresponding educational administration and promotes and develops the institution's own principles, objectives and methodology. It also covers, among other plans, the school's digital strategy, the approach adopted to respond to student diversity, measures for tutorial action, the coexistence and reading plans, and the improvement plan.

School rules (Reglamento de régimen interior)

Internal rules of non-university educational institutions that specify the rights and duties of students and the other members of the educational community.  They establish the organisational and operational rules of the school, including compliance with the Plan for Coexistence.  The rules contained are educational and contribute to create an adequate climate of respect, responsibility and effort in learning, which are necessary for the functioning of educational institutions.  They are developed with the participation of all the sectors of the educational community and must be approved by the School Council.

Sectoral Committee for Education (Conferencia Sectorial de Educación

The Sectoral Committee for Education  is a meeting and deliberation body whose main purpose is to achieve maximum coherence and integration in terms of the application of the decisions that the State Administration and the Autonomous Communities make in the field of education policy, within the scope of their respective competences, through the exchange of points of view and the joint examination of the problems that may arise and the actions planned to address and resolve them. It is constituted by the Minister of Education and Vocational Training, who will chair it, and by the Regional Counsellor or Counsellors with competence in the matter in each Autonomous Community. Participation. The Director General for Territorial Cooperation and High Inspection acts as Secretary, with the right to speak but not to vote.

Senior teacher and Senior professor (Catedrático)

Body of teachers belonging to the civil service with the highest academic rank.  ‘Senior teachers’ in non-university education can be:  ‘Senior teachers’ of secondary education; Music and Performing Arts; Language Education; and Plastic Arts and Design, who are doctors or graduates with at least eight years seniority in the corresponding teaching body as public official.  University ‘Senior professors’ comprise Senior lecturers or doctors who are not Senior lecturers but have at least eight years seniority and a positive teaching and research report.

Special educational needs (necesidades educativas especiales)

Pupils who face barriers that limit their access, presence, participation or learning in education, due to a disability or serious behavioural, communication or language disorders for a certain period or throughout their entire time attending school. They require certain support and specific educational attention in order to achieve the learning objectives according to their development.

Specialised education (enseñanzas de régimen especial)

It includes Arts Education, Language Education and Sports Education.  Arts Education includes Music, Dance, Dramatic Arts, Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, and Plastic Arts and Design.

Specific competences (Competencias Específicas)

Performance levels that pupils must be able to display in learning situations. Their approach requires basic knowledge of each area, field or subject. They are a connecting element between the exit profile, the basic knowledge and the assessment criteria.

Stage objectives (objetivos de etapa)

Achievements that students are expected to have attained by the end of an educational stage. The achievement of these objectives is linked to the acquisition of the key competences.

High Inspectorate (Alta inspección)

It guarantees the fulfilment of the powers assigned to it in matters of education in the Autonomous Communities, the observance of any constitutional principles and rules currently applicable and other basic rules that develop Article 27 of the Constitution. Its functions include compliance with the requirements for the general organisation of the education system, inclusion of the basic aspects of the curriculum, compliance with the conditions for obtaining qualifications and compliance with the basic conditions that guarantee equality in education.

Teachers’ Assembly (Claustro de profesores)

It is the body in which teachers participate in the school's governance and is responsible for planning, coordinating, informing and making decisions on all educational aspects of the school. It is chaired by the school head and it is made up of all the teachers of the school.

Technician and Advanced technician (Técnico y Técnico superior)

Vocational qualifications obtained after successful completion of vocational training and some types of ‘specialised education’ (professional Plastic Arts and Design studies and Sports education).  Although their main objective is to qualify for the labour market, the holders of these qualifications can also pursue other studies.

Training cycle (Ciclo formativo)

Set of studies, modular and of varying duration, into which vocational training and some types of ‘specialised education’ (Plastic Arts and Design and Sports education) are organised.

Vocational module (Módulo profesional)

Minimum unit of content that can be accredited in vocational training.  Its successful completion leads to the award of vocational training qualifications and ‘certificates of professional experience‘.