Going to School in Gibraltar: The Education System Explained
If you’re thinking about relocating to Gibraltar, there are many factors to consider, such as the Gibraltar residence criteria, employment, tax obligations and financial planning. If you have children, then the question of education and the process of enrolling your children in school in Gibraltar is a central factor of your decision-making process. What do you need to know to make sure that your children can seamlessly make the transition in the classroom? Here’s our guide to the education system on Gibraltar.
School in Gibraltar: The Essentials
In a jurisdiction of its relatively small size, regardless of the category of Gibraltar residence, a little local knowledge goes a long way in deciding which school is the best option. You should take the cultural proximity of the UK and Spain into account, and you will see this as a common thread throughout our analysis.
In Gibraltar, there are 15 state schools, along with the Ministry of Defence schools, private schools, language schools and special education schools. If you’re looking for an international school, there aren’t any in Gibraltar proper, but you can enrol your children in a fee-paying international school across the border in Spain where English is generally the primary language of instruction.
The School System in Gibraltar
The school system in Gibraltar follows the UK’s National Curriculum. Formal compulsory education starts at the age of four, with the option of students beginning at the age of three. Just like in the UK, the school system in Gibraltar culminates in GCSEs and A-level exams. Education in the 15 state schools on the Rock is free of charge with lessons on a full-time basis. In contrast to the British system, Gibraltar divides pre-secondary education into primary and middle schools. Plus, all secondary education (for studies starting at the age of 12) are in single-sex schools.
As for private education, two fee-paying schools are offering primary school instruction. As we previously mentioned, you can enrol your children in a Spanish private school with the logistical challenges involved, but you must have Spanish residency to enrol in state schools.
If you were considering living just over the border in Spain while working on Gibraltar, please note that you cannot send your children to schools in Gibraltar. If following the British curriculum is a priority, it may be best to have residency in Gibraltar to guarantee enrollment under the Gibraltarian system.
The closest international school is the Sotogrande International School which is about a half-hour to forty minutes away from the Rock by car but remember that would require crossing the border every day.
Enrolling Your Children in School in Gibraltar
If you’re set on enrolling your offspring at a school in the Gibraltarian system, what does the process entail? You must apply to the Department for Education. The parent or guardian must supply proof of residence in Gibraltar, such as a civilian registration card, as well as evidence of a local address through a recent utility bill or tenancy agreement. They will also ask for the birth certificate for the child (or children) you wish to enrol.
What Gibraltar school is the right one for my family?
Many decisions that stem from moving to Gibraltar have a basis on multiple factors. They include your employment or financial status, and of course the place you are leaving to settle on the rock. There is a wealth of choices when it comes to your children’s education. With extensive experience in Gibraltar residency, our team at Europe Emirates Group will successfully guide you through the options you have for your family. If you’re ready to begin your residency and education journey, contact us today.
CEO, Europe Emirates Group