From the Literature review report: profile of CReLES in Spain

Introduction and Background

In acknowledgement of the diversity of school populations, the Education Act 2006 was modified, and the Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Education was passed in 2013. This reform recognises the need to combine quality and equity in the provision of education (European Commission, 16 September 2019). The preamble to the law states

At the beginning of the 21st century, Spanish society has the conviction that it is necessary to improve the quality of education, but also that this benefit must reach all young people, without exclusions… It is, therefore, necessary to attend to the diversity of the students and contribute equally to the new challenges and the difficulties that this diversity generates.

In the spirit of these legislations, multi-professional Education Guidance teams are formed in most of the autonomous communities. Among other tasks, their responsibilities include providing the necessary resources to enable students to reach their highest personal, intellectual, social and emotional development regardless of economic, cultural, religious, gender and sexual diversity. This team has the authority to ensure educational equity by carrying out specific programmes, curricular or structural modifications and coordination of teaching/ learning processes using the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Education as a general framework (Spanish Education System, 2010). The team provides educational guidance and counselling regarding educational equity to all members of the educational community.

In Spain, there is a greater emphasis on promoting the language of instruction so that students have equal access to education. Knowing and appropriately using the Spanish language is one of the aims of education (Article 17. Organic Law, 2013). One of the characteristics of the Spanish Education System is its linguistic plurality; students are required to learn the community language as well, sometimes as the language of instruction and sometimes as co-official language, depending upon the regulation of the autonomous communities (Spanish Education System, 2010). To develop migrant students’ proficiency in the language of instruction special preparatory classes are organised, and as soon as possible, the timing of the preparatory classes is reduced, and students are encouraged to spend more time in mainstream classes with their native-born peers (Eurydice, 2019). Furthermore, larger migrant communities such as Moroccan and Romanian students are offered classes in home language as well (Eurydice, 2019).

Knowing that teachers are first in the line of contact with students in schools, the Ministry of Education, through the Institute for Teacher Training and Educational Research and Innovation (IFIIE) lays particular emphasis on inclusive education, students’ diversity and intercultural education in Initial teacher education as well teachers’ CPD programmes. These programmes focus on raising teachers’ awareness of students’ academic as well as social-emotional needs. Spain is one such country (Communidad Autónoma de Cataluña) where teaching assistants are deployed not only to facilitate students’ academic progress but also support their overall feeling of wellbeing in the school (Eurydice, 2019).

Primary and Secondary school curricula are established jointly by national and regional education authorities. The national Ministry of Education issues the main guidelines of the curriculum, such as which subjects should be taught in each stage and grade, and the regional educational authorities develop the curriculum (specific aims, contents, and assessment) for each of their territories (OECD, 2011). Intercultural education is promoted as a cross-curricular theme (in Communidad Autónoma de Cataluña), and the subjects through which it is to be developed are also mentioned in the curricula (Eurydice, 2019

The policy enactment of Culturally Responsive Leadership in the Spanish Education System

Principals have a significant role in managing and organising learning in schools, along with organising human and financial resources. The overall style of school leadership in Spain is consultative, and the principal is considered ‘primus inter pares’. Most of the school leaders in the country are Spanish by ethnic and cultural affiliation. Indeed, the multidimensional needs of migrant students are quite likely to pose challenges to school heads; therefore, top-level education authorities organise targeted initial and continuing training activities for school leaders. These training programmes usually include subjects such as school climate, commitment to diversity, the integration of immigrants, the use of new technologies and the opening up of schools to the educational community and the wider community (Ministry of Education, 2011). However, school leaders have no role in teachers’ professional development, and it is managed by regional educational administration.

All secondary schools have a counsellor, who usually is a psychology or pedagogy professional, and whose title is “Orientador/a” (Counsellor). Primary schools can also avail of, specific counselling teams working at a regional level if they have counselling-related needs (student difficulties or diversity, special education needs).