Spain: Home schooling is not legal, rules Constitutional Court

Home schooling is not legal rules constitutional court in Spain

A trial case by two couples who homeschooled their children against the wishes of local social services has failed after the Constitutional Tribunal ruled that homeschooling is not a right under Spanish law, and that children must go through a formal educational system.

The Constitutional Tribunal (TC) has stated that the Constitution allows the legislature to set up a system of compulsory basic education and does not recognize the right of parents to educate their children in their own homes.

In a sentence that has just been published, the Constitutional Court dismissed the writ filed by two couples who homeschool their children, but who had been pressured by the local social services to send their children to school.

Under the Law on Legal Protection of Minors, the Prosecutor requested the Court to order the immediate enrollment of the children in their local schools. The parents argued that “the Constitution does not order the compulsory schooling in the State system” and stressed that their children received an education more appropriate than that given in “public or private classrooms of 30 or 40 students.” Their children spoke five languages, knew music and were taught math, science and language, and ethics education.

The parents claims were however rejected in all instances. The Court of Coin (Malaga) answered the prosecutor’s request and ordered the minors to school. The Judge argued that the Spanish Constitution “does not allow parents to deny children the right and obligation to participate in the formal education system.”

The court added that the exclusion from the formal system can generate in minors “serious problems in their future development” both in academia (in reference to the difficulties of access to university) and in the social and integration with other children their age.

That ruling was upheld by the Provincial Court of Malaga. The Constitutional Court has now rejected the claim for protection of their parents.

The ruling states that “the right of parents to choose for their children an education outside the compulsory education system for reasons of pedagogy does not fall within any recognized constitutional freedoms.”

It also indicates that the Constitution does not prohibit the legislature setting up a system of compulsory basic education “as a period of enrollment period” during which “excluded is the possibility” of teaching their children in their own home instead of proceeding to school.

However, it notes that the option of compulsory schooling is not required by the Constitution, but is a legislative choice that the Constitution does not prohibit, and therefore “it cannot rule out other legislative options to incorporate some flexibility into the education system and, in particular, basic education. ”