The Spanish state education system is free for all registered residents of any nationality (you have to pay for books, uniforms and materials).
However, the application process is fiddly and you have to know when to put your paperwork in and which schools you want to apply to.
Most state schools give all their classes in Spanish and follow the Spanish curriculum and is more rigid and based on rote-learning than many foreign residents are used to from home.
One step up from state-schools are concertado schools run by private foundations.
These are also free but some offer bilingual education and they tend to be more forward-thinking than state schools.
Most are heavily oversubscribed and hard to get into at short notice.
Gran Canaria has a number of quality international schools that teach in English (plus some Spanish lessons focusing on the national curriculum).
They all charge around 600 euros per month not including transport, food and uniforms.
For English-speakers, the main options are the British School, Canterbury, Oakley College and the American School.
The first three focus on a British-style education while the last follows the American system.
For German-speakers there’s the Heidelberg and the Deutsche Schule focusing on German, while Francophones have the Lycée Français René-Verneau de Gran Canaria which offers a trilingual education and is close to Telde town on the east coast.
Another trilingual option is the Anita Conrad School in Las Palmas. It teaches in English, Spanish and German.
Since Gran Canaria’s Norwegian colony is based in the south of the island around Arguineguín, the Norwegian school is in Patalavaca.
If you prefer the Montessori system, then you have several options close to Las Palmas; the Montessori Gran Canaria in Vegueta, the Ludus and Escuela Montessori in Tafira, and the Casa de los Niños in Arucas.
Homeschooling is in a legal grey area in Spain because the law states that all children between the age of six and 16 must be schooled.
This doesn’t really affect people who spend a few month on the island, but is a consideration if you plan to spend a long period on the island and educate your kids at home.
If you are European (EU; EEA or EFTA citizen) and in Gran Canaria for less than 90 days, you are covered by the European Health Card system.
For anyone staying for more than 90 days, the Spanish social security system is free to all foreign nationals with residencia. However, you do have to sign up and get a social security number to use it.
Another alternative is to take out private health insurance, either a valid multi-trip travel policy, or a Spanish health insurance policy (the minimum sign-up period is a year).
"Travelling with Serenity" is a blog that gives the perspective from Serenity (currently 11 years old) of living here in Gran Canaria, fun things to do, experiences for kids, and a general guide to what it's like living here from a child's perspective.
We highly encourage any parents considering moving here with their children to check this out for all the insights and must do's whilst you are here with your family.