Why choose Spain?
Spain’s geography is amongst the most diverse in Europe, boasting beaches, cities, mountains and national parks, all within a relatively short distance of each other. Made up of 17 autonomous communities, all with their own unique cultures and even languages (such as Basque and Catalan). Spain is the perfect place to visit other areas of Europe and Africa, such as Portugal or Morocco.
Spanish was identified as the most important language to the UK’s future in ‘Languages for the Future’ research commissioned by the British Council. It is widely spoken, and is the official language of 21 different countries.
What will I do?
There are Language Assistant posts available in Spanish secondary schools, primary schools and state language schools (Escuelas Oficiales de Idioma, for adult learners) across the country. Assistants will be employed and paid either by the Ministry of Education or by their local Comunidad Autónoma, and will be informed which type of post they have been allocated to when they receive their regional allocation email.
Many schools in Spain have prominent Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) programmes, in which they teach a variety of subjects in the medium of English. This may include, for example maths, science, history, geography, art, music and PE. These schools often refer to themselves as 'bilingual schools' or as having bilingual departments. CLIL programmes are most prominent in the comunidades of Madrid and Andalucia where there are particular focuses on maths and science, but can be found across Spain. All assistants should therefore be prepared, if asked, to help prepare English activities in a variety of different subject areas.
How does it all work?
You will be in post from 1 October to 31 May. Appointments to Comunidad posts in Madrid run from 1 October to 30 June. You will work around 12 hours per week, expect for Madrid where you will work 16 hours per week.
In some regions, the dates of appointment, hours and salary may vary slightly. Please note that assistants working in state language schools may occasionally have to work evenings. Assistants are advised to check these conditions upon receipt of their school allocation details from the Spanish authorities.
Due to the increased importance of language learning in Spain in recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of posts available for language assistants in the country. Whilst undergraduates studying Spanish at a UK university will still be treated as priority candidates, we also expect to be able to offer a large number of additional posts for graduates or students of other subjects (who meet the eligibility requirements).
So, if you are thinking of a career in teaching or have just completed your teacher training, working as a language assistant could be the perfect opportunity for you. It's also a way for you to improve your Spanish skills and gain work experience in an international context. We therefore encourage anyone interested to apply as we hope to be able to offer a post in Spain to the majority of successful applicants.
How much will I be paid?
You can expect to earn approximately €700 net per month. For posts in Madrid, you will earn a salary of €1,000 net per month.
The first payment of your allowance may not arrive until late November, so you should ensure that you take around £1000-£1500 or a credit card to cover initial costs (more might be required in larger cities). This is likely to be an expensive month as you will have to put down a deposit on accommodation and invest in things like mobile phones and possibly extra furniture. We recommend that you budget for 2 months without pay so that you do not run out of money before you get paid.
Where can I go in Spain?
Posts are available in all Spanish comunidades autónomas (autonomous regions), including Islas Baleares and Islas Canarias, as well as in the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla which border Morocco in North Africa. Please note that many posts across Spain are in small towns or villages.
Candidates for Spain may express an area preference. If you wish to express an area of preference, you can choose one from Group A, one from Group B, and one from any of the three groups.
GROUP A Asturias - Ceuta - Extremadura - La Rioja - Melilla - Navarra - País Vasco
GROUP B (Islas) Canarias - (Islas) Baleares - Aragon - Cantabria - Castilla la Mancha - Cataluña - Galicia
GROUP C Andalucia - Castilla León - Madrid - Murcia - Valencia
The areas listed above refer to regions and not to towns or cities, even though they may share the same name (e.g. Valencia, Madrid). It is not possible to apply to a particular city or area within a given region. Candidates should expect to be allocated anywhere within their given region and should keep in mind that they may be allocated to a region which they did not select.
It is important to note that languages other than Castilian are spoken in certain regions. These include: Basque (País Vasco and parts of Navarra), Galician (Galicia), and Catalan (Cataluña, Islas Baleares and Valencia).
While in most areas of these regions Castillian Spanish is widely spoken, assistants should be aware that this is not always the dominant language (particularly in Cataluña) and should do their research before applying for a post.
Please note that in certain regions of Spain there are cultural and religious sensitivities to bear in mind regarding the wearing of religious clothing and clothing which obstructs the face. This is particularly pertinent in the region of Melilla where the wearing of the burka in schools is sometimes discouraged. This is not the case for all schools in Melilla but it should be taken into account when researching your regional preferences. Please feel free to contact us regarding this should you have any questions or concerns and we will discuss your individual situation with the Spanish Ministry of Education to try to ensure that you are allocated to the most suitable school.
Will I be interviewed?
Some candidates may be assessed by telephone interview where areas of their application need to be followed up. These telephone interviews are likely to take place during March.
When will I hear back?
November to February - you will receive an email from us confirming receipt of your application.
May - you will find out if your application has been successful.
May/June - you will find out from the British Council whether you have been allocated a post, and if so the region to which you have been allocated, or whether you have been placed on a short waiting list.
June to September - you will be told the location of your school(s) directly from the Spanish authorities. Please note that each Spanish authority (autonomous regions and the Spanish Ministry of Education) works to its own timescale and, as such, you may not find out your school allocation until September. Candidates are required to be patient and flexible with regards to this.
Will there be an induction course?
Assistants appointed to Ministry posts
If you are an assistant appointed through the Spanish Ministry of Education, you will be invited to an induction course in Spain in late September/early October.
The course will cover all the administration required for living in Spain and will give you the opportunity to meet other assistants of all languages.
Assistants appointed to Comunidad posts
Assistants who are employed directly by their Comunidad Autónoma will be invited to an induction course in their local area. Information regarding the course will come directly from the Comunidad, and may not be available until arrival in Spain.
Staying on for a consecutive year
If you are currently a British Council appointed language assistant in Spain, you have the opportunity to continue in your post for the 2017-2018 academic year (whether in the same or a different school).
Please read the information below carefully before beginning your consecutive-year application:
Am I eligible to apply for a consecutive year in Spain?
Please note that only British Council appointed language assistants currently in Spain are eligible to apply for a consecutive year.
If you are a non-British Council language assistant currently in Spain and wish to apply for a consecutive year then you can apply through the British Council as a first-time applicant, as long as you meet our eligibility criteria.
In both cases, you should apply using our online application. The deadline for all countries, including consecutive year applicants, is 28 February 2017.
How do I apply for a consecutive year in Spain?
Consecutive year applicants should complete the online application form as normal, making sure to read the consecutive year guidance below (including the document at the bottom of the page) carefully before applying. If you do not follow the guidance below then we may not be able to identify you as a consecutive year applicant and it is unlikely we will be able to place you in the same school if requested.
Points to consider:
• You will be asked to upload a reference from your current host school. Please have this ready before beginning your application as you will not be able to submit your application without the reference.
• Remember that it is only possible to be a language assistant with the British Council four times. This includes consecutive and non-consecutive years. If you have already been a language assistant four times then you are not eligible to apply again.
• It is only possible to be a language assistant in Madrid for two consecutive years, whether appointed through the British Council or otherwise. Therefore, if you have already been an assistant in Madrid for two years, it is only possible to stay on if you are willing to be allocated to another region.
• All successful candidates must apply for an International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC) upon receiving their allocation details, including consecutive year applicants. This costs around £60. The ICPC is only valid for one year and we require one for each new assistantship. Please see our eligibility criteria for more details.
Full guidance below, under "Downloads".
Please read the following document carefully before applying as it contains important information about how to complete the application as a consecutive year applicant.