With many postings available and no Spanish language eligibility criteria, the programme in Spain is open to a wide variety of candidates. The Spanish Ministry for Education is interested in receiving applications from students and graduates from a range of academic disciplines.
Language Assistants in Spain are considered participants of a grant funded mobility programme and receive a monthly stipend, rather than a paid salary with contract of employment. As such, the programme may not be suited to those looking to relocate to Spain permanently, or candidates with dependants due to allocation timelines and the need for flexibility regarding locations.
Am I eligible?
To be a Language Assistant in Spain you must:
- fulfil the general eligibility criteria
- be aged 60 or under
- proficiency in Spanish is not required, but recommended
- hold a UK or European Union passport (those who hold only a Spanish passport are not eligible. Dual nationals in possession of a non-Spanish European passport are eligible and should provide details of both their passports on the application form).
When do placements start?
Posts in Spain will run from 01 October 2021 until 31 May 2022, with the exception of Comunidad de Madrid posts which run until 30 June 2022.
How much will I be paid?
Indicative information about pay and hours is available in the regional information below.
How many hours will I work?
Language Assistants in Spain work approximately 12-16 hours per week depending on the post. Please be aware that the number of hours can vary depending on the region and institution that assistants are allocated to, this will be confirmed in the contract (nombramiento) which will be issued to assistants directly by the Spanish authorities. Your timetable will be provided to you by your school.
How many posts are available?
Due to the growing importance of language-learning in Spain in recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of language assistant posts in the country. Undergraduates required to complete a year abroad at a UK university will still be treated as priority candidates, but we also expect to be able to offer a large number of posts to graduates or students of other subjects.
What type of institution will I be working in?
There are posts available in Spanish secondary schools, primary schools and state language schools (Escuelas Oficiales de Idioma, for adult learners).
Many schools in Spain have prominent Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) programmes, in which they teach a variety of subjects in English, including maths, science, history, geography, art, music and physical education. These schools often refer to themselves as ‘bilingual schools’ or as having bilingual departments. CLIL programmes are most prominent in the regions of Madrid and Andalucía, where there is a focus on maths and science, but can be found across Spain. You should therefore be prepared to help with English activities in a range of subject areas.
What holidays will I have?
The school calendar dates in Spain are determined by the respective autonomous communities or cities but generally run from September to June. Typically, assistants can expect to receive the same school and national holidays as their institution.
You may also wish to view the Spain school calendar website for guidance but please bear in mind your institution will give you full details of your term dates when you begin your post.
Will there be an induction course?
You will be allocated to either a Ministerio or Comunidad post.
The Ministerio will organise a central induction in Madrid before the start of your placement. Each autonomous region’s Comunidad will organise their own induction day to be held in the region, sometimes after your official start date.
Full details on induction days will be sent to you directly by the Ministerio or Comunidad.
Where can I go?
Posts are available in all Spanish regions. In most cases, candidates are allocated to a region in the first instance, with the local authorities in each region choosing the environment and type of school for each successful candidate through final allocations. For this reason, we encourage all applicants to express regional preferences.
Because of the nature of the programme, it is not always possible to allocate applicants to one of their preferred regions. Applicants must therefore be flexible and willing to accept a placement in regions they have not listed.
You can choose one regional preference from Group A, one from Group B, and final preference from any of the three groups. We have provided some information about each region below, however candidates are encouraged to conduct their own research before selecting preferences.
The areas listed in the group information below refer to regions and not towns or cities, although they may share the same name (e.g., Valencia, Madrid). It is not possible to apply to a city or district within a given region and you should expect to be allocated anywhere within the region.
It should be noted that many of the posts in Spain are in small towns and villages. Previous programme participants have highlighted that more rural placements provide a real immersion in Spanish culture and language. It is important that the British Council and Spanish Ministry for Education allocate assistants to rural as well as more urban institutions as pupils in both settings deserve the opportunity to benefit from exposure to other cultures and language learning.
If you need to be in a specific region due to your language studies (e.g. you are studying Catalan), please tell us this in your application form in the section asking your motivation for your regional preferences.
In certain regions of Spain, there are cultural and religious sensitivities regarding the wearing of religious clothing and clothing that conceals the face. In some schools in the region of Melilla, wearing a burka is discouraged – although this is not true of all schools. If you have any questions or concerns please contact us, and we will try to ensure that you are allocated to a suitable school.
I’ve worked as a Language Assistant in Spain – can I apply again?
If you are currently or have previously been a British Council-appointed Language Assistant in Spain, you may be eligible to apply for a consecutive year in Spain. Different regions have different rules regarding consecutive year applications. Please see the returning applicants’ guidance page for more information