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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
National reforms in early childhood education and care


14.Ongoing reforms and policy developments

14.1National reforms in early childhood education and care

Last update: 15 September 2022

Pre-primary education is the stage of education which caters for children aged 0-5. It is non-compulsory and organised into two cycles: the first one for children up to 2 years of age, and the second one for children aged 3-5.


School Code Plan 4.0

This plan will be structured as a Territorial Cooperation Programme between the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MEFP) and the educational administrations of the autonomous communities. Its purpose is to help develop the digital skills of students in early childhood, primary and secondary education with a special focus on computational thinking, programming and robotics.

Over the next two years, an investment of 356 million euros is planned for the incorporation of programming assistants in classrooms to help teachers implement robotics, programming and computational thinking in their lessons.

Likewise, this plan does not imply the modification of the new curricula which begin implementation in September, but rather their development. During the 2022/2023 school year, it will be implemented in child and primary education and, the following year, in secondary education.

Similarly, the plan includes the provision of equipment and teaching materials, specific educational resources and guides that will be prepared by the National Institute of Educational Technologies and Teacher Training (INTEF).

New steering document for ECEC

Royal Decree 95/2022 was approved in February which establishes the organization and minimum contents of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) from 0 and 5 years (ISCED 0). For the first time, the new legislation regulates and provides an educational character to the education stage from 0 to 2 years. Pre-primary school is not mandatory, and it is divided in two cycles: 0 to 2 years (ISCED 01) and 3 to 5 years (ISCED 02).

One of the objectives, within the framework of the new Organic Law 3/2020 (LOMLOE) which modifies the Organic Law 2/2006 (LOE), is the progressive implementation of the first cycle through public offer and the extension of its gratuity. It also focuses on the prioritization of access of the students in danger of poverty and social exclusion, and to palliate the situation of low rate of schooling.

The purpose of pre-primary education is to contribute to the physical, affective, and social development of children. In order to do so, the new Royal Decree defines the objectives, aims, general and pedagogic principles, and key competences for this period, as well as the specific competences, evaluation criteria and basic knowledge. The educative contents of pre-primary education are organized in areas related to fields part of the experience and infants’ development and will be treated by global propositions of learning which has interest and significance for the kids in each area they will be integrated:

  • growth in harmony;
  • discovery and exploration of the surroundings;
  • communication and representation of reality.

The specific competences in each area include the abilities students must master in activities or situations, whose approach require basic knowledge of each area. These specific competences represent a connecting element between the basic knowledge of the areas and the evaluation criteria.


Cooperation programme to finance the creation of public places of the first cycle of Early Childhood Education

In order to achieve greater equity in the educational system, one of the fundamental objectives set by the LOMLOE (Law on Education 3/2020) is the universalization of schooling from 0 to 2 years. To achieve this objective, a cooperative work between the MEFP and the autonomous communities is necessary. This semester the cooperation programme  to finance the creation of public places of the first cycle of Early Childhood Education, endowed in 2021 with 200 million euros, was presented to the General Education Commission. The first annuity will allow the creation of more than 21 000 places.

Prevention, hygiene and health promotion measures against COVID-19 for educational centres in the 2021/2022 school year

The prevention and protection measures adopted have meant a reconsideration of the organization of multiple activities so that they are carried out safely, including activities in educational centres. The current situation makes it necessary to maintain the measures against COVID19 for the academic year 2021/22 in order to protect the right to education of children and adolescents, adapting them to the possible scenarios that may arise in the pandemic context in the coming months. The measures are collected in the following document: HEALTH PREVENTION, HYGIENE AND PROMOTION MEASURES AGAINST COVID-19 FOR EDUCATIONAL CENTERS IN THE COURSE 2021/2022. This document is being updated periodically. The latest version was approved by the Public Health Commission on June 29, 2021.

New Organic Law on Education LOMLOE

On January 19, 2021, the Law on Education 3/2020 which amends the Law 2/2006 became effective (LOMLOE). Its coming into force has repealed Law 8/2013, of December 9, for the improvement of educational quality.

The main changes this new law introduces in Early Childhood Education are the following:

  • Educational provision:

    • The Administrations will gradually increase the offer of public places in the first cycle in order to meet all requests from ages 0 to 2.
    • All centres from 0 to 5 years will require authorization by the educational administration for their operation.
    • The Government will regulate the curriculum and the minimum requirements of the two cycles of this stage, that is, the qualifications of all professionals, the student-teacher ratio, the facilities, and the number of school positions.
  • Objectives and principles:
    • At this stage, emotion-management, education for responsible and sustainable consumerism, and health promotion and education are pedagogical principles.
    • The promotion of gender equality is a new objective in Early Childhood Education.
    • At this stage, the effects of cultural, social and economic inequalities on children's learning and development will be compensated for.
  • Evaluation and orientation:
    • Early detection and early attention to specific educational support needs will be a priority.
    • At the end of the stage, a report will be issued on the development and needs of each student.

Since the coming into force of this law, an implementation process has begun that will conclude in the 2023/2024 academic year.


Draft Organic Law on Education

The Spanish Council of Ministers has submitted for parliamentary processing and subsequent approval the Organic Law Project that modifies the Education Law in force since 2006 and modified in 2013. 

This legislative initiative aims at tackling the following challenges in the Spanish Education System:

  • improving the level of competence of the entire student body, compensating for initial disadvantages;
  • regaining the equality lost during crisis years;
  • updating the teaching profession to lead curricular and didactic innovation;
  • improving the scope and quality of 0-2 education and its curriculum framework;
  • increasing STEM vocations, especially among female students.

To meet these challenges, the proposed legislation sets out four main objectives:

  1. renovating the education system;
  2. regaining equality and inclusiveness in the system;
  3. improving performance and increasing educational achievement;
  4. stabilising the education system as the main foundation of knowledge policies.

The Ministry of Education proposes the following changes in Early Childhood Education, in accordance with the existing challenges and the objectives set out in the education reform:

  • The first cycle 0-2 will be educational in nature with certain minimum requirements and a pedagogical proposal.
  • The educational stage will be aimed at compensating for the effects of inequalities of cultural, social and economic origin on children's learning.
  • Early detection and early care for difficulties will be encouraged.

More information on An education for the 21st Century.

Measures and actions against COVID-19 in Education Centres during the 2020/2021 school year

Last June, the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training and the Ministry of Health created the following document: Prevention, Hygiene and Health Promotion Measures against COVID-19 for schools during the 2020/2021 school year. The basic principles of the defined measures are to limit contact, personal prevention measures, handling of cases, and cleaning and ventilation. In addition, transversal actions are set out such as school restructuring, coordination and participation, communication, and education for health and equity.

Later this year, the Government and the Autonomous Communities, during the Education and Health Multisectoral Conference, have agreed to 29 measures and 5 recommendations for the 2020/2021 school year to be applied in schools by the competent administrations. This agreement allows for further progress in providing public administrations with a common framework. The main points of the agreement are:

  • As a general rule, lessons will be face-to-face for all levels and stages of the educational system, specially for younger students, at least until the second year of ESO (Compulsory Secondary Education).
  • It is necessary to go back to face-to-face classroom activity "as a priority" by adopting a series of prevention, hygiene and health promotion measures that guarantee the safe return to the classroom.
  • Schools will remain open throughout the school year ensuring dining services, as well as educational support for minors with special needs or socially vulnerable families, as long as the epidemiological situation allows it.
  • The staff working in schools will reduce their presence in them to the essential. In order to achieve this, online realization of all those non-teaching activities that admit to do so will be promoted.
  • In addition, as already stated in the document about Prevention, Hygiene and Health Promotion Measures against COVID-19 for schools during the 2020/2021 school year, all schools must designate a person in charge of matters related to COVID.

For more information, see the Agreement.

National Scholarship System and Study Grants Reform

The Government has increased the investment in the scholarship system by 22% reaching 1 900 million euros for more than 600 000 recipients in the coming 2020/2021 school year. The Ministry of Education and Vocational Training and the Ministry of Universities have reformed the National System of Scholarships and Study Grants in order to ensure equal opportunities for all students regardless of their socioeconomic situation. More specifically, in Early Childhood Education the scholarships and grants for students with specific educational support needs will include those students affected by ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) as recipients of direct aid.

For more information, see the Royal Decree 688/2020, from July 21, where the thresholds for income tax and family assets, and the amounts of scholarships and study grants for the 2020/2021 school year are established, or the call for grants for students with specific educational support needs for the 2020/2021 school year.