Schools in Tenerife

With a new school-term approaching, signifying a brand new year for thousands of pupils throughout Tenerife, I thought that I would give my readers some general information on both British and Spanish schools on the island. All of the Spanish state education schools welcome pupils from other countries, on the proviso that the parents are resident -and that all of the necessary documentation is in order. However, all of the required books and stationary, etc. must be provided by the parents, a list of which is given at the start of each school year. Uniforms are not required. There are also private Spanish schools on the island, which charge tuition fees. University education is very similar to the UK -i.e. they incur considerable fees for each term attended by the student.

There are various stages of schooling, from ‘Jardin de Infancia’ (‘Garden of Infancy’) which caters for children up to 3 years of age, to ‘Pre-School’, for 3 to 6 year-olds, which is not obligatory, but highly recommended -and it is free! From the ages of 6 to 11 children attend Primary School, before moving-on to Secondary school at 12 years of age, up until the age of 16. Both of these are compulsory. Further Education for 17 and 18-year-olds is not obligatory, but is a must for students who wish to go on to further education, which consists of ‘5’ specialised branches; ‘Humanities’, ‘Science and Engineering’, ‘Arts’, ‘Social Sciences’ and ‘Nature and Health Sciences’ -all of which are sub-divided into specific, individual categories. From here students have the option to progress onto ‘Technical College or ‘University’.

Primary school hours are normally 9 am until 2 pm -but finishing at 1 pm in June and September, whereas secondary school times normally run from 8.30am until 2.20 pm. Just like English schools, there are 3 terms per year, with the children having ‘2’ weeks off for Christmas and New Year, but only ‘1’ week for Easter, which is easily made up for in the summer-time, when the schools normally shut-down from the last week in June, until the second week in September. Although there are no ‘half-term’ holidays, these are easily made-up by a considerable number of national, regional and various religious holidays! Younger children (i.e. infants) who are not Spanish, can quickly pick-up the language in pre-school or primary school, but for those people with older children who do not speak a word of Spanish, then the only other alternative is to send them to a private (fee-paying) English-speaking School -which is exactly what I did with my teenage step-son.

After visiting various schools, and speaking to several of the teachers -and also the head-teachers, my fiancée and I unanimously decided that the Wingate School, which is situated in the sleepy village of Cabo Blanco, came-out firmly on top. Wingate School is a First Language British School, which was founded in 1982 and named after Major General Orde Charles Wingate -a hero from the Second World War. The schools’ curriculum is based on the British National Curriculum, and children are accepted from the tender age of ‘3’, all the way up to 6th form (16+ A-Level students). For anyone who is considering sending their child / children to an English-speaking school, then from Monday 24th August, up until Friday 4th September, the Wingate School office will be open every day between 10 am and 3 pm. Anyone wishing to contact the school can also e-mail them at

For locals and ex-pats alike, who are living in the Adeje area, a big favourite it seems is the Colegio Costa Adeje, which was founded in 1986, and is situated in the vicinity of El Madronal. The school has a selection of classes for the following levels: ‘Nursery’, ‘Kindergarten’, ‘Primary’, ‘Secondary’ and ‘6th Form’. Parents can contact the school by telephoning them on (0034) 922 713 217, or by e-mailing them at For those people who are considering enrolling their children into a Spanish school, then the Luther King School, which was founded back in the 70’s, when it was one of the first ‘mixed’ schools on the island, would probably be a safe bet, as it has recently been ranked in the ‘Top 100 schools in Spain’ honours list. Parents can contact the school by telephone on (0034) 922 167 141 or by e-mailing them at for San Miguel, or for La Laguna. Whatever you choose for your child then I wish you all the very best for their future, as I for one, certainly have no qualms with the education system here in sunny Tenerife.