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Secondary Education


On completion of Primary Education, students start Compulsory Secondary Education. Following the amendment of Organic Law 2/2006, of 3 May, on Education (LOE), by Organic Law 8/2013, of 9 December, for the Improvement of Educational Quality (LOMCE), this stage is divided into two parts: the first is made up of three school years and the second, one. The latter has an essentially preparative nature (preparation for the study of a discipline).

From the second year of Compulsory Secondary Education, programmes are established for the improvement of learning and performance aimed at students with learning difficulties which cannot be attributed to lack of study or effort.

In the fourth year of the Compulsory Secondary Education programme, students may opt for one of the following two options:

  1. Academic instruction for students wishing to continue their studies with the Baccalaureate.

  2. Applied education for students wishing to continue their studies under the vocational training programme.

On completion of the secondary education stage, the student will complete an individualised assessment, for either the academic or applied instruction option, in which they will be tested on the achievement of the objectives of the educational stage and the level of acquisition of the corresponding competencies. The assessment may be made in either of the two options regardless of the option taken in the fourth year, and it is even possible to sit for both assessments at the same time. To obtain the School-Leaver’s certificate, it is necessary to pass the final assessment, and to obtain a final mark for that stage equal to or higher than five out of ten.

This certificate provides access to further education in accordance with the requirements established for each teaching programme.

A student who has had their fifteenth birthday but not their sixteenth, and who has completed the first stage of Compulsory Secondary education, or exceptionally, the second stage, may enrol on a Basic Vocational Training stage following the prior recommendation of the teachers. On passing this stage they receive the Basic Vocational Certificate, which provides access to the Intermediate Vocational Training stages and is equivalent, for the purposes of employment, to the School-Leaver’s certificate. In addition, the student may sit for the final assessment of the Compulsory Secondary Education stage.

To access the Baccalaureate, it is necessary to have the School-Leaver’s certificate and to have passed the final assessment of the Compulsory Secondary Education programme in the academic instruction option. The Baccalaureate is for two years and has three modes:

  1. Sciences

  2. Humanities and Social Sciences

  3. Arts

To obtain the Baccalaureate certificate, after passing all the subjects in this stage, it is necessary to pass the final assessment with a mark equal to or higher than five out of ten.

The Baccalaureate certificate provides access to the different education programmes in the higher education cycle.

To access the Intermediate Vocational Training Programmes, it is necessary to fulfil at least one of the following requirements:

  1. To hold at least one of the following certificates:

    • School-Leavers Certificate and to have passed the final assessment of the Compulsory Secondary education programme in the applied instruction option,

    • Basic Vocational Certificate,

    • Baccalaureate Certificate,

    • University degree,

    • Intermediate or Higher Vocational Training certificate.

  2. To hold a certificate confirming that all the subjects of the Baccalaureate have been passed.

  3. To have passed a specific training programme for access to the Intermediate stage, and to be at least seventeen years old during the last year of the programme.

  4. To have passed an entrance examination in accordance with the criteria established by the Government, and to be at least seventeen in the year in which the test is taken.

On the successful completion of the Intermediate vocational training programmes, the student receives the corresponding vocational certificate for their vocation and this permits access, subject to the passing of an entry procedure, to the Higher Vocational Training programme.