Country information for Spain - Teacher education for inclusive education

Initial teacher education

Initial teacher education underwent profound changes as a result of the gradual adaptation of the university system to the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). All degrees are now adapted to the EHEA.

The academic qualifications required to teach are uniform throughout the entire nation, although they do vary according to the various levels of the education system. In public-sector institutions, teaching staff in higher education, as well as those in lower levels, generally have permanent civil servant status. In public education, first-year teachers in public schools work under the tutelage of experienced teachers. The tutor and trainee teacher share responsibility for the trainee’s teaching plan.

There are three types of teachers, according to the education level in which they teach: teaching staff in pre-primary and primary education, in secondary education, and in higher education.

Pre-primary and primary education teaching staff

Teaching in pre-primary education and in primary education requires a teacher certificate in the corresponding speciality. This comprises a four-year university degree with one of the following specialities: pre-primary education, primary education, music, physical education, foreign language, special education or speech therapy. The study programme focuses on both academic and theoretical aspects and on pedagogical practice.

In addition to primary education degree-holders, other professionals who have undergone vocational training in nursery school or pre-primary education can participate in the first cycle of pre-primary education.

To care for pupils with special educational needs, the education system offers teachers help through specialists in special education, speech therapy and qualified professionals.

Secondary education teaching staff

Teaching at secondary level requires a university degree. In addition, a postgraduate qualification is necessary – a professional certificate of pedagogical specialisation obtained through a master’s degree in education.

Higher education teaching staff

Initial training for higher education teaching staff primarily takes place in university establishments or institutions for first-, second- or third-cycle studies.

Senior lecturers are university lecturers with civil servant status who gain access through the corresponding competitive examination. Their main tasks are teaching and research. Senior lecturers in universities hold a doctorate degree, while senior lecturers in ‘university schools’ hold a bachelor’s, architecture or engineering degree. These degrees are to be phased out. The latter group was abolished by the 2007 Organic Act Modifying the Act on Universities, which established that these professionals may gain access to the group of university senior lecturers by means of a doctorate degree.

Senior teachers are lecturers who have acquired the maximum professional qualification in university and non-university education and in specialised education (languages education, sports education and arts education: music, dance, drama, preservation and restoration of cultural heritage, art and design, etc.). They are civil servants.

In-service training

In-service training constitutes a right and a duty for non-university teachers. Every year, the Spanish Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, through the National Institute for Education Technologies and Teacher Training (INTEF), establishes the priorities for teachers’ continuous professional development plans. It also offers state continuous professional development programmes and establishes the pertinent agreements with other institutions to this end.

In addition, the LOMLOE (2020) establishes a series of guidelines for continuous professional development programmes offered by the education authorities responsible for planning and organising them in their jurisdiction. They must provide teachers with a diversified range of activities and meet their training needs, as well as establishing other training priority guidelines.

The education administrations provide a varied range of free training activities and take the necessary measures to foster teacher participation in these activities. Furthermore, they facilitate teacher access to qualifications which allow mobility between different teaching areas, including universities, through appropriate agreements with the universities.

The education administrations have also reached agreements with universities and other organisations, such as disabled people’s associations and professional associations. These agreements allow them to recognise the training these organisations provide to teachers.

The Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, in collaboration with the autonomous communities, fosters the international mobility of teachers, teacher exchanges and visits to other countries.

The in-service programmes adapt knowledge and teaching methods to scientific progress and to specific didactics. They also adapt them to aspects of co-ordination, guidance, tutoring, inclusive education, attention to diversity and organisation aimed at improving the quality of education and the functioning of schools. In addition, there must be specific training on equality under the terms established by the Act on Integrated Protective Measures against Gender Violence and on prevention, detection and action in cases of violence against children.

The LOMLOE states that education administrations must foster foreign language learning, training in digitalisation and use of information and communication technologies by all teachers, regardless of their specialisation, by providing specific training programmes in these fields. They are also responsible for encouraging research and innovation programmes.

Universities are in charge of organising continuous professional development activities for university teachers. These are elective but necessary for receiving some specific additional remuneration.


Last updated 09/11/2022

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