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The current system of education in Spain is known as LOE (Ley Orgánica de Educación), or Fundamental Law of Education. School attendance is required from the age of 6 until 16 and like most of Europe, public schooling is free.
There are four levels of education before you reach the university level, they are:
- Pre-school (Educación Infantil) 3 years - 3 to 5 years of age
- Primary School (Educación Primaria) six years of schooling - 6 to 11 years of age
- Compulsory Secondary Education (Educación Secundaria Obligatoria) four years of schooling - 12 to 15 years of age
- Post-Compulsory Schooling (Bachillerato) two years of schooling - 16 and 17 years of age
Children from 3 to 5 years old in Spain have the option of attending the Pre-school stage (infantil or popularly known as preescolar), which is not required by law and free for all students. It is highly recommended and regarded as an integral part of the education system with infants' classes at almost every primary school. There are also some separate nursery schools for even younger children (Colegios Infantiles).
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Spanish students aged 6 to 15 undergo primary (colegio) and secondary school (instituto) education, which are compulsory and (like preschool from age 3) free of charge. Successful students are awarded a Secondary Education Certificate, which is necessary to enter the post-compulsory stage of Schooling (principally the Bachillerato) for their University or Vocational (Formación Profesional) Studies. Once students have finished their Bachillerato, they can take their University Entrance Exam (Pruebas de Acceso a la Universidad, popularly called Selectividad) which differs greatly from region to region. The compulsory stage of secondary education is normally referred to by its initials: ESO (Educación Secundaria Obligatoria).
Information from Wikipedia