Bringing our twelve year old to Spain have always been our main worry, having read many articles and forum discussions regarding bringing an older child to a different country can pose many complications, mainly affecting their education and social skills.  Having to learn a new language after the age of 10 proves a lot more difficult for many children.

We enrolled our two boys aged five and twelve in a (half government maintained and half privately funded) concertado school in Valencia. We initially chose a British Private school, but the distance proved to be too much to travel everyday. The concertado school we enrolled the boys in have a good English language support for non-Spanish speaking students.

At the start we was not sure whether we made the right decision.  I think it has helped that the school that we have chosen was very helpful and supportive to us and our boys.  Since starting in the beginning of November, our eldest boy specially is doing very well. Not only he has made new friends and has settled in well, he is also doing great in speaking and learning Spanish. Our youngest boy, however, is still lacking confidence in speaking the language, but the school has reassured us that this will come in time. They are not pressuring him in any kind, other than to learn how to speak Spanish.

He to have made some friends and do understand a few words, sometimes, we think that he knows more than he is letting on, he will come out with phrases and words that we didn’t think he knew. Even though we encourage him to speak Spanish at home, he is still unsure and prefer to speak in English, but I guess that will come in time and I would assume that native English speaking kids do prefer to speak their mother tongue while at home.

Hiring a private tutor definitely helps, we have found English speaking tutors in Valencia who help us polish our Spanish.  The prices vary, depending on what area you live in and always go with recommendations. I have spoken to a few British families in Spain, and it is really surprising that STILL many expats come here refuse to learn the language. I guess if they live in an English speaking community they do not feel the need to integrate with the Spaniards. Personally, I think this is very sad, and I cannot imagine taking my family in a non- English speaking country and NOT speak a word of their language. Kind of ironic isn’t it when some Brits complain about non-English speaking immigrants that come to the UK.

This week my son told me that he is ready to read some Spanish books. He is an avid reader and I suggested that maybe we should get a book that he has read before but in Spanish.  He picked up ‘The Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ or ‘Diario de Greg’. He has read the book a few times so he said that this would help him understand more written Spanish and how the words are constructed. I’m proud to say that he is very determined which makes his transition a lot easier here in Spain. So far we are pleased with the kids progress and happy with the school that we have chosen.

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British/Filipina now living in Valencia, Spain. Mum, wife, designer and illustrator. I am also the author of Ohla Living where I share my lifestyle, travel, recipes and creative ideas.


  1. Pingback: Bilingual children and dual language learning adviceContinental Fairy

  2. Soeterman

    Hello, thank you for you blogs! We are planning to move to Valencia too, with our 3 children, we live in Amsterdam Holland. If I may ask, which school did your kids go to? What was the name of the school? Can you recommend other ‘concertado’ schools? (or public)
    Thanks in advance. Sencere, Miriam

    • Mariá

      Hi Miriam, thanks for dropping by my blog. I have sent you an email 🙂

      • Hi Miriam, if you don’t mind, I’d love some info on school suggestions as well. Moving to Valencia from Australia with my 13-year-old son next October. (So excited!)

        • Mariá

          Hi Sally,

          Thanks for leaving a comment. I will send you a email. Congrats about moving to Valencia! ☺️

          • Hello Maria, we plan to move in sept this year (2019) to Valencia, a bit too quickly but this is the moment to do it. Please can you tell me the school you chose for your children? And also, you said your children started the school in November, was this possible? Didn’t you have to start in September? Please excuse me that I come with all these questions… it would help very much to have an answer from you. Right now all schools are closed and they don’t answer the phone. Thank you very much!

  3. Hi Mariá, kamusta ka? Love your site! Found your blog while googling on asian stores in Valencia. Haha as a Malaysian Dutch it is important to get my asian ingredients too!! :-p
    While browsing through your site about schools i found this page. Also i am eager to know the name of the school. Could you email me??
    We are planning to move to Valencia next year!! My son will be 7 so starts primary. Tia!

  4. Hello, I have a similar question about schools — concertado or other options — for my children (8 and 9) in the Ruzafa District. Many thanks!

    • Mariá

      Hi Chris
      Thanks for your comment, please take a look at my new post. Here you will find a map of concertado schools in Valencia including Ruzafa.:) Good luck

  5. Hi There,

    Thanks for the lovely blog/article. We are South Africans moving to Spain and I am in DIRE need of finding a school that can teach my child in English but is either PUBLIC or CONCERTADO. From the onset I don’t think we can afford private schooling but will work our way up to it.

    In the meantime I desperately need to contact some of these schools to see what the fees are and how they would work. My daughter only speaks English and I fear will not be able to help her if she gets taught in Spanish.

    I am 100% going to at least learn conversational Spanish to make sure that we survive in Spain. I could really use your help

    • Mariá

      Hi Tanya
      Thanks for your comment. I hope you found my blog useful. I have published a new post where you can view and download a list of concertado schools here in Valencia. I hope it helps you on your search! Yes, I do advice to learn some Spanish as it will help greatly in helping your child through school. Good luck!

  6. Steph Gillen

    Hi Maria, thanks for the informative post. We are considering a move to Valencia with our 2 kids, age 4 & 11. They both have a base level of Spanish and we will hire a tutor for them before starting school.
    Our main concern is jobs – I am hoping to teach English and my husband is a chef with very little Spanish. Can I ask, how did you guys find employment? Was it difficult to secure jobs? We will most likely rent for a while.

    • Mariá

      Hi Steph, thanks for your comment. My husband and I are self-employed. So we have no experience on how the well the job market here is for expats. However, I would advise to learn conversational Spanish especially if your husband wish to work as a chef. 🙂 I have seen some job offers for English teachers, however I cant recommend anywhere for you that I know of. I would suggest to join one of the Facebook Groups in Valencia, head over to my post, maybe you can ask other expats about any job opportunities. 🙂 Goodluck!

  7. Pingback: List Of Concertado Schools In The Region Of Valencia

  8. Hi,we would like to know some semi privat school in Valencia for 6 yo boy
    Thank you fir you blog

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