Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona. Photo ©

Tyler Hendy, used under licence and adapted from the original

Why choose Spain?

Spain’s geography boasts beaches, cities, mountains and national parks, all within a relatively short distance of each other. Made up of 17 autonomous communities (comunidades), all with their own cultures and even languages (such as Basque and Catalan). Spain is the perfect place from which to visit other countries, such as Portugal or Morocco.

  • Spanish is one of the most important languages to the UK’s future, according to our Languages for the Future report. It is widely spoken, and is the official language of 21 countries.
  • There are posts available in Spanish secondary schools, primary schools and state language schools (Escuelas Oficiales de Idioma, for adult learners) across the country.
  • 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.

Am I eligible?

To be a language assistant in Spain, you must fulfil the general eligibility criteria (EU citizenship, native-level English, etc.).

Due to the increased importance of language-learning in Spain in recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of posts 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 to graduates or students of other subjects, as long as they meet the eligibility requirements.

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. We encourage anyone to apply, as we hope to be able to offer a post in Spain to the majority of successful applicants.

Many schools in Spain have prominent Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) programmes, in which they teach a variety of subjects in English. This may include maths, science, history, geography, art, music and physical education (PE). These schools often refer to themselves as 'bilingual schools' or as having bilingual departments. CLIL programmes are most prominent in the communities of Madrid and Andalucia, where there is a focus on maths and science, but can be found across Spain. Be prepared, therefore, to help with English activities in a variety of subject areas.

Where can I go?

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. Many posts across Spain are in small towns or villages.

Candidates for Spain may express an area preference. If you wish to do so, 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 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. You should expect to be allocated anywhere within your given region and keep in mind that you may be allocated to a region that you did not select.

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, it is not always the dominant language (particularly in Cataluña). We recommend researching these aspects before you apply for a post.

In certain regions of Spain, there are cultural and religious sensitivities regarding the wearing of religious clothing and clothing that conceals the face. This is particularly pertinent in the region of Melilla, where wearing a burka in schools is sometimes discouraged. This is not the case for all schools in Melilla, but please take this into account when researching your regional preferences. If you have any questions or concerns about this, please contact us, 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.

How much will I be paid?

You can expect to earn approximately €700 net per month. 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 £1,000 to £1,500 or a credit card to cover initial costs. You may need more in larger cities. You will probably 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 two months without pay so that you do not run out of money before you get paid.

In some regions, the dates of appointment, hours and salary may vary slightly. Assistants working in state language schools may occasionally have to work evenings. Please check these conditions when you receive your school allocation details from the Spanish authorities.

You will be employed and paid either by the Ministry of Education or by the local Comunidad Autónoma, and will be informed which type of post you have been allocated to when you receive your regional allocation email.

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 whether your application has been successful.
  • May/June: You will find out from us 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: The Spanish authorities will tell you the location of your school(s). Each Spanish authority (autonomous regions and the Spanish Ministry of Education) works to its own timescale. For this reason, you may not find out your school allocation until September. Please be patient regarding this.

Will there be an induction course?

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 for living in Spain and will give you the opportunity to meet other assistants of all languages.

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.

Am I eligible to apply 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).

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.

How do I apply for a consecutive year?

Please complete the online application form as normal, making sure to read the guidance below (including the PDF document at the bottom of the page) carefully before applying.

If you do not follow the guidance below, 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.

Further:

  • 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.
  • 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, 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.

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