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Tumbit : Jo Green - Having a Baby in Spain

Jo Green, 34, has been living & working in Spain with her long term partner for 5 years. As a "Professional Career Woman" in the UK she always believed that being a Mum was something that happened to other women. However, on moving to Spain she has found herself succesfully managing a career and being a full time Mum to an unplanned (but much loved) Baby Daughter. Things in life change, things don't go to plan... Jo tell's how it's those that can and are willing to adapt to change that generally succeed in making a life in Spain.

Registering for school
15 September 2010 @ 17:58

Originally written & Posted July '10

Over here in Spain children are able to start school as early as three years old. Well it’s not ‘proper school’, but it is actually called ‘pre-school’ and this is usually for 3 – 6 year olds and leads nicely into primary school.

So given that our daughter will be three in June, and that the school year starts for 3 years olds in September it is something that we naturally have to think about. On one hand it seems a very young age, but on the other she has made friends in her 2.1/2 years at Nursery and seems flexible and adaptable enough to make the step and move along to pre-school with her friends.

Our Finca is situated in the Campo, halfway between a Village and a slightly larger Town. Officially, we are resident in the village, however our buzon de correos, bank and all the bars and shops are located in the town and so naturally we feel more a part of the community in the town as opposed to the village. Add in the fact that the village is practically pedestrianised and without any parking closeby, and that my daughter already attends nursery with her friends in the Town, and I’m sure you can appreciate why we would like her to attend the pre-school in the town rather than the village.

The reason that she does not attend nursery in the village is simply because there isn’t one – and as far as I know there is only maybe 2 or 3 children her age, and certainly no more than about 50 in the school as a whole, covering the ages of 3 to 11.


Due to the small numbers the pre-school and primary school are combined in the village, and in many cases classes are made up of 2 class years together. Whilst we don’t feel too strongly about this being a major issue, we would prefer that she attended a school that made separate provision for each class year, along with the friends that she has already made, and in a school that was dedicated to ‘pre-school’ children.

Would this be a problem? – Especially given that our Padron clearly stated that we were resident in the next village?

The staff at the nursery, the locals, and even the Pre-school in the Town itself said no, it would not be a problem at all. It even seems like they want our ‘business’ as the more children they have, the more funding they can apply for – and in any case the number of children of that particular age registered on the pardon was pretty low for that year.

The ‘problem’, we believe, comes in 3 parts :

1.) Each school is largely autonomous and has a set period every year when parents attend the school to register their child for the coming school year – due to start in September. Our first choice (the Town) has their registration week in May, whilst our second choice (the Village) has theirs week 1 of April.

Therefore, if for any reason we are unable to register for the Town, we have missed the registration for the Village and have to wait a further year before registering.

2.) Apparently the Village, feeling their nose pushed out of joint, can cause a fuss and in some cases insist that the child is taken out of school and made to attend the school where they reside. Again, this is basically down to them wanting the funding from the regional Government allocated to her place.

3.) We do not have a ‘Libretto de Familia’ – some schools request this on registering, however when we registered the birth of our daughter at the Ayuntamiento (in the village) we were told that we were not eligible to have one because we were not married (Gasp!) – We have since been told that this is not the case and just that the Ayuntamiento were just being lazy. As we DO have her Residencia, NIE Number, Spanish Birth Certificate and Full medical records, we are hoping that this will suffice.

Although our Spanish is passable enough, and we are confident to attempt this procedure on our own, there is no margin for error here and we have asked a Spanish friend (who is also training to be a teacher) to help us out – just incase there is some tiny, but crucial point that we have overlooked or misunderstood.

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