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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
National reforms in school education

Spain

14.Ongoing reforms and policy developments

14.2National reforms in school education

Last update: 13 February 2024

2023

Project: Combat antisemitism through education

In July 2023, the project Combat antisemitism through education was issued. This Unesco project is part of the actions promoted by the European Strategy to combat antisemitism and promote Jewish life. The Ministry of Education, Vocational Training and Sports (MEFD) has accepted the invitation to participate in this initiative led by Unesco, the European Commission and the OSCE, which will also be part of the recently approved National Plan for the Implementation of the EU Strategy for Combating Antisemitism (2023-2030).

This initiative is in line with Spanish education legislation (LOE-LOMLOE) that seeks to prevent any discrimination based on birth, racial or ethnic origin, sex, religion, opinion, disability, age, illness, sexual orientation or gender identity, or any other personal or social condition or circumstance. The law encourages the study and respect of other cultures, contributes to valuing cultural differences, as well as the recognition and dissemination of the history and culture of ethnic minorities in our country, to know them better and reduce stereotypes. In addition, it includes education on historical events that have seriously violated human rights, such as the case of the Jewish Holocaust.

Action Plan against early leaving education and training

In mid-June 2023, the Secretary of State for Education of Spain presented the report Proposals for an Action Plan to reduce Early School Leaving, prepared by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Vocational Training and Sports (MEFD) and the Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support of the European Commission. The document details 15 recommendations, broken down into 44 proposals and divided into five areas of action, to prevent young people from leaving the educational system prematurely. Despite improved data over the past decade, more work is needed to improve opportunities for all students. The main lines of action of the plan are:

  • identification of vulnerable schools;
  • teacher training;
  • support for students;
  • curricular flexibility and competency-based learning;
  • promotion of collaboration between educational administrations;
  • support programmes: Pogramme for Reinforcement, Guidance and Support (PROA+) and Guidance and Support Units.

Reform of the degree plan of the Bachelor's degree in Primary Education

The Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities has published a draft ministerial orders with the changes it proposes for the curriculum of the Primary Education Bachelor's Degree. Among these modifications, the order includes the organisation of the courses and the distribution of the credits to pass it. The order proposed by Universities adds more credits to subjects such as Fundamentals of Educational Inclusion and Attention to Diversity. In addition, there are subjects that were not mandatory and now become so as the Attention to Diversity. Similarly, this reform focuses on general issues such as “the digitalisation of education, personal skills or sustainability”. As for the subject called Digitalisation, 12 university credits are dedicated.

Scholarships and study aids for the course 2023-2024

The budget of scholarships and study grants has reached its historical maximum for the next year. In particular, EUR 2 520 million will be allocated to scholarships and study grants. It is the fifth consecutive year that has increased its funding. Since 2018, the budget has increased by 70 %.

All information on requirements, deadlines, amounts and procedures to be eligible for these scholarships and grants are available on the scholarship website of the MEFD and the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities. The goal is to centralise information and make it more accessible. The deadline to apply for general scholarships begins on March 27 and ends on May 17.

In addition, in this new call there is a universal aid of EUR 400 for students of non-university education levels who demonstrate a disability of at least 33 %, serious behavior, communication or language disorder or the autism spectrum, in order to cover the additional costs that their families must face. In this case, the minister has estimated that the aid will benefit more than 214 000 students.

2022

School Code Plan 4.0

This plan will be structured as a Territorial Cooperation Programme between the Ministry of Education, Vocational Training and Sports (MEFD) 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 curriculum for bachillerato

In March 2022, Royal Decree 243/2022 was approved. This decree sets the organization and minimum contents of bachillerato (post-compulsory secondary education). It establishes a competence-based curriculum aimed at facilitating the educational development of students; it also guarantees the comprehensive training of students, contributing to the full development of their personality and preparing them to the full exercise of human rights and active and democratic citizenship in the current society. This will never imply, by no means, a barrier that generates school dropout or prevents access and enjoyment of the right to education.

The purpose of bachillerato consists in offering training, intellectual and human matureness, knowledge, abilities, and attitudes that allow the development of social functions and the incorporation to the active life with responsibility and aptitude. Moreover, this stage must enable the acquisition and achievement of the necessary competences for their training and professional future and enable them to access higher education.

The purpose of the minimum education, established by this new legislation, is to guarantee the development of the key competences. At the same time, the curriculum established by the education administrations and their specification by the school centres carried out in their educational projects will have as a referent the operational descriptors detailed in it.

This new planning will start to apply in first grade of bachillerato in the school year 2022-2023 and the second grade on the following year.

New curriculum for compulsory secondary education

Royal Decree 217/2022 was approved in March 2022, which sets the organization and minimum contents of compulsory secondary education. It establishes a competence-based curriculum aimed at facilitating the educational development of students. It guarantees their comprehensive training, contributing to the full development of their personality and preparing them to the full exercise of their human rights, active and democratic citizenship in the current society. It will not imply, by no means, a barrier that generates school dropout or prevents access and enjoyment of the right to education.

The purpose of the stage of compulsory secondary education consists in the students’ acquisition of basic elements of culture —humanistic, artistic, scientific and technical, and motor side. Another purpose is to develop and consolidate study and work habits as healthy life habits, this way, they are being prepared for their incorporation to later studies and labour integration. The last purpose is to train them for the exercise of their rights and obligations as citizens.

Furthermore, this legislation establishes the students’ output profile when they finish basic education and sets the key competences they must have acquired and developed. It constitutes the maximum referent of competence performance, both in the evaluation of the different stages and modalities of basic training and the qualification in Graduate in Compulsory Secondary Education. The purpose of the minimum education established by this act is to guarantee the development of the key competences seen in the output profile. At the same time, the curriculum established by the educational administrations and their specification by the school centres carried out in their educational projects will have as a referent said output profile.

This new planning for secondary education will start to apply in the odd grades of the school year 2022-2023, and for the rest of the grades in the following school year.

New curriculum for primary education

Royal Decree 157/2022 was approved in March 2022, which sets the organization and minimum contents of primary education. It establishes a competence-based curriculum aimed at facilitating the educational development of students, and it guarantees their comprehensive training. This stage will have again three cycles of two school years and will attend first and foremost the effects of the different disadvantages that exists in the education and children’s evolution.

The purpose of the stage of primary education consists in providing the learning of speaking, listening, reading, calculation, and logic and mathematic abilities. Another purpose is the acquisition of basic notions of culture, and the coexistence, as the study and work habits, the artistic sense, creativity and affection, with the aim to guarantee an integral formation that helps their fully development of their character. The last purpose is their preparation to start compulsory secondary education. There are eight key competences established for this stage:

  • competence in linguistic communication;
  • competence in multilingual communication;
  • mathematics and science competence, technology and engineering;
  • digital competence;
  • personal, social and learning to learn competence;
  • citizen competence;
  • entrepreneur competence;
  • awareness and cultural expression competence.

Aside of these competences, the act establishes the areas in which they are organized:

  • Natural, Social and Cultural Means Knowledge;
  • Artistic Education;
  • Physical Education;
  • Spanish and its literature, and Co-official Language and its literature, if any;
  • Foreign Language;
  • Mathematics;
  • Education in Civic and Ethic Duty, in some of the academic years of the third cycle;
  • Second Foreign Language, area of transversal character, depending on each Autonomous Community.

Currently, the Autonomous Communities have the responsibility to establish the curriculum of this stage from the minimum education set by the Government in this act. The schools and teachers will adapt the teaching to the children that are a part of the group.

This new primary education planning will start to apply in the odd grades in the school year 2022-2023.

Evaluation, promotion, and certification new legislation

In November 2021, the Royal Decree 984/2021, which regulates the evaluation, promotion, and qualification of the different educational stages, was published.

This decree arises from the need to regulate evaluation, promotion and certification in the transitional period until the new curricula come into force. Therefore, it will be in force exclusively for the 2021/2022 school year and, only for even courses, in the 2022/2023 school year. As of 1 September 2022, the new curricula will begin to be applied in odd courses and the evaluation, promotion and qualification will be regulated by the royal decrees of primary, secondary and bachillerato.

Its purpose is to promote students’ positive evolution guaranteeing their learning process and keeping their expectations of achieving a training as advanced as possible.

In compulsory stages (primary and secondary education), the students’ evaluation is continuous. The promotion is not subordinated to the number of subjects not passed, the decision of the promotion to the next grade and qualification fall entirely to the teaching staff. In primary education, the decision will be made at the end of the second, fourth and sixth school year, the promotion will be automatic in the other school years. In secondary education, the teaching staff will decide if the student’s global evolution will let them promote to the next grade with positive prospects of recuperation of the subjects not passed. All in all, the repetition is an exceptional measure, taken only if the other reinforcement and support measures have been exhausted. In any case, the student can stay in the same school year once, and two times maximum along the compulsory education.

This evaluation system lays emphasis on the early detection of the possible difficulties, the adoption of reinforcement measures as soon as they are needed and measures of recuperation to assure the learning not very settled.

The new legislation eliminates the extraordinary calls for retaking exams in June or September.

The promotion at bachillerato, between first and second grade demands a maximum of two subjects not passed, continuous evaluation and different in each subject. To obtain the tittle, a positive evaluation in all subjects will be necessary, though it is foreseen the possibility to obtain it extraordinarily with a subject not passed only if the student hast reached the objectives and competences of the stage, has pursued the subject with normalcy (class attendance, examination, etc.) and the arithmetic mean of every qualification is 5 or more. This decision will be a college decision taken by the teaching staff.

2021

Guidelines of the future new curriculum

The new Education Law (LOMLOE), approved at the end of last year, sets the framework for the development of a new curriculum model in accordance with the acquisition of competencies, which is open, flexible, with a manageable and better structure, at the service of an inclusive education that values diversity. Minister of education presented the guidelines for the future curriculum at an event in April. The Ministry of Education, Vocational Training and Sports (MEFD) began work months ago on the design of the new curriculum and its central element, the Exit Profile, which identifies the key competences that all students should have acquired and developed at the end of compulsory education. The new curriculum will consist of eight competences: linguistic communication, multilingual competence, mathematical and science and technology (STEM) competence, digital competence, personal, social and learning to learn competence, citizenship competence, entrepreneurial competence, and competence in cultural awareness and expression.

These competences come from the Recommendation of the Council of the European Union of 2018 and the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda. Each of them has three dimensions (cognitive, instrumental and attitudinal), their acquisition contributes to the acquisition of all the others and the achievement of the objectives set by LOMLOE for basic education.

The publication of the new curriculum will take place in the coming months. The modifications introduced in the curriculum, the organization and objectives of primary and secondary education and bachillerato will be implemented for odd-numbered courses in the 2022/2023 school year and for even-numbered courses in the 2023/2024 school year.

Prevention, hygiene and health promotion measures against COVID-19 for educational centres during 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.

Scholarships and study aid for the 2021/2022 school year

The budget for scholarships and study aid has increased by more than 128 million, to 2 038 million euros, in part to include the entry of new beneficiaries as a result of the crisis derived from the Covid-19 pandemic. It is the third consecutive year that its funding has increased. Since 2018, the budget has increased by 39.6% and the number of beneficiaries by 24.5%. The deadline to apply for general scholarships for non-university students is September 30, 2021.

All information on requirements, deadlines, amounts and procedures to be eligible for these scholarships and grants is available on the scholarships website of the Ministry of Education, Vocational Training and Sports (MEFD) and the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities. The goal is to centralize the information and make it more accessible.

According to the estimations of the MEFD and the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, some 850 000 students will benefit from this call for general scholarships: 390 000 of them from university education and 460 000 from non-university education.

Strategic Plan for subsidies by the Ministry of Education, Vocational Training and Sports (MEFD)2021/2023

Last May 2021, the Minister of Education, Vocational Training and Sports (MEFD) approved the Strategic Plan for Subsidies 2021-2023, with the aim of helping the planning, execution and monitoring of the subsidies managed by the Ministry. This plan seeks to carry out a more effective, efficient, and transparent management. This plan consists of 8 strategic objectives, of which the following have an impact on primary and secondary education:

  • Strategic objective 2: promote permanent training and mobility of teachers with subsidies for courses and teacher training.
  • Strategic objective 3: improve the quality of the education provision in Secondary Education and Vocational Training with subsidies for the creation of centres of excellence, incentives for centres to participate in internationalization programs...
  • Strategic objective 4: guarantee educational inclusion and quality education by subsidizing to private non-profit entities for the performance of actions aimed at students needing special educational support, and compensation for inequalities in education…
  • Strategic objective 5: guarantee equal opportunities in the exercise of the right to education by subsidizing to circus companies for educational assistance to the itinerant population of compulsory school age…
  • Strategic objective 8: promote the learning of foreign languages with subsidies for English Language Immersion Programmes...

New Organic Law on Education LOMLOE

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

Primary Education

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

  • Objectives and principles:
    • The acquisition of autonomy in the school and family settings, emotional management, technological competence with a critical view, and the development of an active and healthy mobility are reinforced.
  • Academic organization and orientation:
    • The three-cycle structure is recovered, with two courses each, and the curriculum is organized into subjects that can be grouped into knowledge areas.
    • Fostering creativity, critical spirit, ICT, and meaningful and competency-based learning, and dedication of school time to carrying out projects and promotion of flexibility in the organization.
    • The classification of subjects as core, specific, and subjects designed by the Autonomous Communities disappears.
    • Civic and Ethical Values will be taught in the third cycle.
    • Religion will be offered compulsorily by schools and chosen voluntarily by students. The obligation to take an alternative subject disappears.
    • Special emphasis is placed on attending to the individual differences of the students, improving educational inclusion, personalized attention and the prevention of learning difficulties.
  • Evaluation and promotion
    • Families will receive a personalized report for each student at the end of each cycle and stage.
    • Retaking a course can only occur at the end of a cycle and always after adopting other precautionary and alternative measures.
    • The individualized evaluation of 3rd grade of Primary Education is eliminated.
    • All education centres will conduct a diagnostic evaluation of the competences acquired by their 4th year of Primary Education students.

Secondary Education

  • Objectives and principles:
    • Its purpose is to prepare students for their incorporation to subsequent studies and for the exercise of their rights and obligations as citizens.
    • Promotion of meaningful and competency-based learning, with special emphasis on technological and digital competence, social and business entrepreneurship, critical and scientific spirit, emotional and values education, creativity, and autonomy and reflection.
    • The development of significant and relevant projects and collaborative problem solving are included in the school hours.
    • Subjects can be grouped into areas to improve student learning process.
  • Academic organization and orientation:
    • Tracks, subject hierarchy, and the compulsory end-of-stage tests are eliminated.
    • The subject of Education in Civic and Ethical Values is introduced.
    • Organization of courses 1st to 3rd of ESO (Compulsory Secondary Education):
      • Limitation of the number of subjects in 1st and 2nd year of ESO to facilitate the transition from primary education.
      • There will be at least one subject in the artistic field in all these courses.
      • Among the optional subjects, one of digital development, a monographic work, an interdisciplinary project or a collaboration with a community service will be included.
    • Organization of 4th year of ESO:
      • All subject configurations lead to the same single degree.
      • Students will choose three subjects from a set, which can be grouped into options. Their choice can only be limited by objective criteria.
      • In addition, students may take one or more optional subjects, with characteristics similar to those of previous courses.
    • Education centres will adopt measures, both curricular and organizational, reinforcement and support to achieve the objectives of the stage and ensure that students obtain the degree.
    • In order to attend to the diversity of the students, their interests and expectations, starting in the 3rd year of ESO, the Curricular Diversification Programs and the Basic Degree Training Cycles can be taken.
    • The academic and professional orientation must include a gender perspective.
    • At the end of the 2nd and 4th year, an orientation advice will be given to each student regarding the most suitable training path for them.
  • Evaluation and promotion
    • Evaluation will refer to the objectives of the stage or course.
    • The promotion or degree may also be achieved with curricular adaptations.
    • Decisions in the evaluation, promotion and qualification achievement will be made collegially.
    • All education centres will carry out a diagnostic evaluation of the competences acquired by their 2nd year ESO students.
    • Upon completion of schooling, all students will receive an official certificate that will be taken into account for accreditation and continuation of training.
    • Students are promoted by achieving the objectives of the subjects or areas, or with a negative evaluation in one or two subjects. Also provided that the teaching team considers that said promotion will benefit their academic evolution.
    • Successful completion of the diversification programs and basic level training cycles will lead to obtaining the degree of Graduate in Compulsory Secondary Education. In the case of basic level training cycles, they will also lead to the Basic Technician title.
    • Permanence in the same course is considered exceptional, it will only be adopted after having exhausted the reinforcement and support measures and will entail a specific personalized plan.
    • Students may stay in the same course only once and a maximum of two times throughout compulsory education.

Bachillerato

  • Objectives and principles
    • The encouragement of a responsible attitude in defence of sustainable development and in the fight against climate change, the consolidation of sports habits and the consolidation of affective-sexual maturity are added to the objectives of this stage.
  • Academic organization and orientation
    • The possibility of completing the Bachillerato in three courses will be regulated under certain conditions.
    • To the three existing modalities and tracks (Sciences and Technology, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Arts), the General Bachillerato is added.
    • The subjects will be: common and modality, regulated by the Government; and optional subjects, which will be regulated by the Autonomous Communities.
    • The possibility of taking a subject in other education centres or remotely is recovered if it does not exist in the centre itself.
    • Special attention will be paid to the educational and professional orientation of the students, incorporating the gender perspective.
  • Evaluation and promotion
    • To obtain the Bachillerato degree, a positive evaluation will be necessary in all subjects. The possibility of obtaining the degree, exceptionally and under certain conditions, with a failed subject will be regulated.
    • New pathways are established between Bachillerato and Vocational Training, Artistic Education, and Sports Education studies that allow the attainment of the Bachillerato degree by studying different subjects.

Urgent measures adopted in the area of non-university education for the 2020/2021 school year

The Council of Ministers, at the Ministry of Education, Vocational Training and Sports’ proposal, passed the Royal Decree-Law 31/2020 which includes, among others, the following measures:

  • Exceptionally and temporarily, the hiring of teachers who meet all the requirements but have not yet completed the specific master's degree in didactic and pedagogical training. In this way, a reinforcement of the staff has been made possible. This was necessary to guarantee the right to education in safety conditions during the 2020/2021 academic year. The coverage of these positions, of an exceptional and limited nature, may be carried out in the subjects in which the lists of applicants to the performance of temporary jobs, and of job seekers who are in possession of the aforementioned master's degree, are exhausted. The jobs created will be extinguished at the end of the academic year in which the reasons of urgent need that originated their creation disappear. Continuity in the exercise of teaching, as well as the eventual subsequent entry into the public function of those who have taught under these exceptional conditions will require that they be in possession of the aforementioned master's degree.
  • In order to facilitate the adaptation of the didactic programs to the decisions that are adopted regarding the presence of the students in the education centres, the nature of the assessable learning standards is given for guidance only. The evaluation, promotion and qualification criteria in Primary, Secondary and Bachillerato are also adapted so that the educational administrations may authorize their modification to better adapt them to the situation caused by the pandemic. The teaching teams will assess collectively and globally whether the objectives of each stage have been achieved or not.
  • End-of-stage evaluations of Primary and Compulsory Secondary Education are suppressed, as there are other sources of information on the educational performance of the students. Regarding the school calendar, school days will be considered all those in which attention and educational support is given to the students, either in person or remotely.