Access to education


Country Report: Access to education Last updated: 22/05/23


Children in Spain have the right to education, and the schooling of children is compulsory from age 6 to 16. This right is not explicitly regulated by the Asylum Act but it is guaranteed by other regulations concerning aliens and children.[1]

Minors’ protection-related issues fall within competence of the Autonomous Communities, which manage education systems on their territory and must guarantee access to all minors living thereon. Asylum seeking children are given access to education within the regular schools of the Autonomous Community in which they are living or they are hosted in.

The scheme followed for integrating asylum seeking children in the school varies depending on the Autonomous Community they are placed in, as each regional Administration manages and organises school systems as they rule. Some Communities count on preparatory classrooms, while others have tutors within the normal class and some others do not offer extra or specialised services in order to ease the integration within the school.

In practice, asylum seeking children are usually enrolled in school, even during the first reception phase, during which they are accommodated in asylum facilities.

Nonetheless, shortcoming concerning children accessing education have been reported concerning children hosted in the CETI in periods of overwhelmed conditions due to extreme overcrowding. Moreover, in August 2019, the association of immigration lawyers published a press release denouncing the deliberate lack of schooling for children in Melilla.[2] Following various denounces by the Ombudsman, UN bodies and NGOs, in February 2022 the Minister of Education changed the legislation with the aim of guaranteeing the access to education for all children residing in Ceuta and Melilla.[3]

Moreover, due to increase in arrivals on the Canary Islands, hundreds of presumed unaccompanied children waiting to undergo age determination procedures were not able to access to education as of the beginning of 2021.[4] A thematic report on the situation of children in the Canary Islands published by UNICEF in July 2021 underlines that, while some reception centres guarantee the immediate access to schooling for migrant children, the same cannot be said for other reception facilities; that is often due, among other reasons, to the lack of preparation for both reception centres and schools in managing such situations and to the lack of available places in schools.[5]




[1] Article 10, Law 1/1996 of 15 January 1996 on the legal protection of minors, partially modifying the Civil Code and the Law on Civil Procedure, as modified by Law 26/2015, of 28 July, modifying the system for the protection of children and adolescents, available in Spanish at:

[2] Abogados Extranjeristas, ‘La asociación de abogados extranjeristas denuncia enérgicamente la premeditada desescolarización de menores en Melilla’, 25 August 2019, available in Spanish at:

[3] El País, ‘El Ministerio de Educación cambia su normativa para garantizar la plena escolarización de los niños en Melilla’, 17 February 2022, available at:

[4] El Diario, ‘Más de 1.000 migrantes siguen en un limbo y sin escolarizar a la espera de que las pruebas óseas determinen si son mayores de edad’, 25 January 2021, available in Spanish at:

[5] UNICEF, ‘Canarias: niños y niñas migrantes en una de las rutas más peligrosas del mundo’, July 2021, available at:

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation