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In Madrid, international schools may be thin on the ground (at least compared to the number of cultural gems or fabulous fish restaurants), but there are more well-established educational options to choose from than you can find in many European cities. 

Best schools in Madrid Spain

Education in Madrid 

Thanks to the brilliant public transport in Madrid, there’s huge flexibility about where you can decide to live, knowing that you won’t need to get out the compass and draw a tiny circle around where you work - or where your children go to school - in order to avoid daily travel meltdown. 

'Escuela pública' is a less popular option than the international schools for expats (unless Spanish is already part of daily life) as there is no guarantee that the teachers will speak English. But smaller children tend to adapt and become integrated more easily and it is a good solution (particularly at the primary stage) if you intend to stay for a long time and want your child to speak fluent Spanish. It is also easier to move from state to private than vice-versa. However, be aware that the standards of these schools can vary dramatically - although will probably be higher, if in an area favoured by expats and wealthier Spaniards. 

In addition, and probably more appealing to expats, are private Spanish schools (escuelas privadas), which are mainly co-ed, day schools used by about one third of Spanish families.  

Choosing a school in Madrid 

Unfortunately, the quid per quo for being surrounded by magnificent architecture, can be time spent on the school run, as only three of the international schools that are reasonably close to the centre are those in northwest Madrid. These consist of the main campus of the British Council School, interestingly founded in 1940 (surely a brave move), Kensington School and the American School of Madrid. The group of SEK International Schools has several campuses, Colegio Internacional SEK - El Castillo is in northwest Madrid, but one of its other divisions, Colegio Internacional SEK - Santa Isabel, is bang in the middlle, a stone’s throw from the Prado, whilst the campus for Colegio Internacional SEK – Cuidalcampo, is further out to the northeast, beyond Alcobendas.  

The cost of housing is not a deterrent to the wealthy, so Alcobendas has attracted other international schools to set up there, including, King’s College School (at present, teaching up to the age of 16) which is conveniently on the spot in La Moraleja, the International College of Spain (owned by Nord Anglia) and Runnymede College, which (like the International School of Madrid) only offers A levels as a final qualification. Other international schools to the east of Madrid are Hastings School (in fact a group of five schools for different ages) the International School of Madrid and St George International, the newest of the popular international schools in Madrid. 

When it comes to curricula, almost all the schools offer IGCSEs and then the majority go on to A levels, including KIng's College, (the only school in the group to go through to 18), with one IB Diploma school (Agora International), In addition, several of them provide the alternative leaving qualification of the Spanish Bachillerato. 

Pre-schools, kindergarten and nurseries in Madrid 

Two of the best known infant schools, the British Council Infant School and King’s Infant School, are found in Chambertin, a marginally cheaper (and less chic) neighbourhood with bigger houses good for young families. 

Best schools in Madrid 

American School of Madrid 

American curriculum/ American High School Diploma/ IB Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 980 students

Founded in 1961 and located to the west of Madrid near Aravaca. An American education but also offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma. Usually, under the patronage of the current American Ambassador and accredited by the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges (MSA). Roughly equal cohorts from the US, Spain and other countries. Graduates head more or less 50/50 to university, either in North America or the UK and Europe.

Click here to read our full review of American School of Madrid

International College of Spain 

PYP/ MYP/ IB Diploma; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 900 students

Founded in 1980 in Alcobendas and acquired by Nord Anglia Education Group, who now run nearly 70 international schools. The only school in Spain, belonging to the group and also the only school in metropolitan Madrid to offer all three original IB programmes.  

Click here to read our full review of International College of Spain 

Lighthouse American School 

International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (candidate); ages 3-12; co-ed; 190 students; day; Independent: privately owned 

Lighthouse American school is a co-ed American School in Madrid for 3 to 12-year-olds with American teachers, an international atmosphere and a very supportive family feel to it. 

Click here to read our full review of Lighthouse American School 

Maxwell School 

EYFS/ Adapted National Curriculum for England/ International Middle Years Curriculum; ages 4-13; co-ed; day 

Maxwell School follows an internationally modified version of the English national curriculum for children aged 3 to 16 years with personalised teaching and very small classes. Would suit children who think 'outside of the box'.

Click here to read our full review of Maxwell School

Richmond Park School 

EYFS/ Adapted National Curriculum for England/ IB Diploma; ages 2-18; co-ed; day; 500 students; Independent: privately owned 

Richmond Park School is a relatively new all-through British international school with a strong sporty and creative vein running through it and based right in central Madrid. 

Click here to read our full review of Richmond Park School 

Scandinavian School of Madrid (The) 

Cambridge International Primary Programme/ Cambridge International Secondary 1 Programme/ IGCSE/ A level; ages 18 months-18 years; co-ed; 400 students; Independent: private non-profit 

The Scandinavian School in Madrid consists of a Swedish and international section and runs true to a more relaxed Scandinavian philosophy with a strong emphasis on mental wellbeing. 

Click here to read our full review of the Scandinavian School of Madrid 

SEK International Schools of Madrid - Santa Isabel 

The SEK Education Group, established in 1892 in central Madrid, now has three schools and a university in the city. The schools, which teach in English and Spanish, are accredited by both the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

SEK Santa Isabel is a primary school in central Madrid teaching the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme preparing children to move on to other SEK schools.

Click here to read our full review of SEK International School Santa Isabel 

SEK Castillo in the northwest of Madrid educates children from 4 months to 18 years offering three all-through International Baccalaureate programmes.

SEK Ciudalcampo (in the north of Madrid) is an all-through school, with impressive sports facilities, offering three International Baccalaureate programmes and is the only school in Spain recognised by the global network of innovative Round Square schools.

The Global College 

International Baccalaureate Diploma; ages 15-18; day and boarding; co-ed; 70 students; Independent: privately owned  

A new co-educational day and boarding school offering only the two-year IB diploma programme in a pre-university mode, The Global College benefits from local IE University's resources and facilities.

Click here to read our full review of The Global College

These schools have been brought to our attention, but until we have more reports from parents, we are unable to consider reviewing them. 

Brewster Madrid

Reggio Emilia/ American high school diploma/ AP/ IB diploma (candidate); ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent: privately owned

Opened in 2023, with a second campus opening in La Moraleja in September 2024, Brewster Madrid is the offshoot of Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, US which was founded in 1820. Offering a US-based curriculum (with the option of IB diploma in graduating years) to students aged 3-18. 

British Council School

School adapted curriculum/ GCSE/ Bibac; ages 2-18; co-ed; day; independent; private non-profit; 1,950 students

Opened in 1940. The first British school in Madrid, charmingly known as 'El British', expanding very quickly to 1,500 students and now has close on 2,000. The only school in the world to be run by the British Council and offers the Bibac, an exclusive, patented Bilingual Baccalaureate which gains students entry to leading global universities. The school now also runs a nursery, British Council Infant School, based in the El Viso district in the heart of Madrid.

City Country School 

Montessori; ages 3-16; co-ed; day; Independent; privately owned 

English Montessori School 

Montessori/ IGCSE/ A level; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; Independent: privately owned 

A private co-educational school for children aged 3 to 18 offering a Montessori style education through to English National Curriculum, IGCSEs, A levels or the Spanish Baccalaureate. 

Hastings School Madrid

National Curriculum for England/ Spanish curriculum/ IGCSE/ A Level; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 850 students

Made up of one nursery, two primaries, one nursery and primary and one primary and secondary. All operated by the large international education group, Cognita, who acquired the group of schools in 2010. Recently, nearly 40 per cent of students gained A*-A at A Level and over 50 per cent obtained the same grades at IGCSE.

International School of Madrid

Adapted National Curriculum for England/ IGCSE/ A Level; ages 1-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 800 students

Founded in 1971 in the El Viso district of central Madrid. Starting with only 38 pupils, the school has continued to expand and a brand new building for years 7-9  opened in September 2019. An impressive over 45 per cent of students achieved A*-A at A Level recently and over 40 per cent A*-A at IGCSE, with Oxbridge and Russell Group universities given as graduate destinations.

Judy Sharp International School 

American High School Diploma; ages 11-18; co-ed; day; Independent: private non-profit 

The Judy Sharp International School is a private, independent, non-profit co-educational day school for English-speaking students ages 11-18 who require a strong and supportive structure and personal guidance. 

Kensington School Madrid

Adapted National Curriculum for England/ Cambridge 1, 2/ IGCSE/ Spanish Bach; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 1,000 students

One of two ‘Kensington’ schools in Spain. This one was founded in 1968 in the residential suburbs of north Madrid. A non-selective international school teaching the British curriculum and also preparing students for entry to Spanish universities, with the Spanish Bachillerato and for the DELF exams of the French Institute. 90 per cent of students are Spanish.

King's College Madrid

Adapted National Curriculum for England/ I/GCSE/ A Level; ages 2-18; co-ed; day and boarding; independent; privately owned; 2,315 students

On three sites, the main school, in the countryside between the city and the mountains, teaches pre-nursery to sixth form. The second campus (King's College School) is for pupils from age three to 16 in the residential area of La Moraleja in Madrid and the third (KIng's Infant School), in Chamartin, caters for pre-nursery to year 2. All three were previously run by King’s education group, which was founded in Spain but were bought and taken over, unexpectedly, by Inspired Education in October 2019. Just over 40 per cent of students gained A*-A at A Level in a recent year. Inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate for British Schools Overseas (BSO).

Madrid Montessori School 

Montessori; ages 1-12; co-ed; day; Independent: privately owned 

Founded in 2006, this elementary school for 1 to 12 year olds offers a Montessori programme and is accredited by the US Educational Board, MSA. 

Runnymede College

Adapted National Curriculum for England/ IGCSE/ A Level; ages 3-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned; 870 students

The first British school in Spain, founded in 1967 by the parents of the current head. Now located in La Morleja. Traditional British education with rigorous academics leading to over 70 percent of students gaining A*-A at IGCSE. An impressive over 60 per cent of students achieving A*-A at A Level, leading to several Oxbridge offers.

St George International Madrid

Adapted curriculum/ IGCSE/ IB Diploma; ages 2-18; co-ed; day; independent; privately owned

Opened in 2010 in Los Dominicos and owned by British Education System Limited, who own four other schools in Spain. Offering a British based curriculum but also incorporating Spanish language and culture lessons and the Duke of Edinburgh international awards.

For more information on the schools above, please go to each school’s individual entry on the Good Schools Guide international section.

 

 

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