On January 19, 2021, the LOMLOE (Organic Law Amending the Organic Law of Education) came into force. The new legislation repeals the LOMCE (Organic Law for the Improvement of Educational Quality, 2013), modifies and updates the LOE (Organic Law of Education, 2006).
This new text seeks to achieve better educational performance, following the guidelines of the European Commission, the OECD and the 2030 Agenda and by doing so, also improving the position of Spain.
The LOMLOE is the result of a broad participatory process: more than 43,000 emails received in a first consultation phase; a number of meetings held by the Education Sectorial Conference – the highest educational representatives of the autonomous communities; significant contributions received from most of the autonomous communities, the regional school councils and various ministries and bilateral or multilateral meetings held with a hundred of associations from the educational world.
There are five pillars at the base of the new text:
1. In the first place and for the first time, a Spanish educational law includes the child rights approach among the guiding principles of the system, as established in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), thus recognizing the best interests of the children in their right to education and the obligation of the State to ensure the effective fulfilment of this right. Along those lines, the LOMLOE intends to progressively increase the number of public places in the first cycle of Early Childhood Education (ECE). In addition, the government plans to regulate the curriculum and the minimum requirements in both cycles of ECE (0-3 years and 3-6 years), including the qualifications of all professionals, the student-teacher ratio and the number of school positions. Early detection and early attention to specific needs for educational support will be especially relevant at this stage.
2. As second pillar, the legal text adopts a gender equality approach through co-education. It promotes, at all stages of learning, the effective equality between men and women, the prevention of gender violence and the respect for affective-sexual diversity. For the secondary education, the law fosters the educational and professional orientation of students with an inclusive and non-sexist perspective.
3. The third pillar is a transversal approach aimed at raising the results of all students through continuous improvement of schools and greater personalization of the learning process.
4. Fourth, the law recognizes the importance of addressing sustainable development as established in the 2030 Agenda. Thus, education for sustainable development and global citizenship must be included in the plans and programmes of the entire compulsory education.
5. Lastly, the reform insists on the need to consider the digital change that is taking place in our societies and that affects educational activities. With the objective of adapting the education system to the digital advances, attention to the development of digital competence of students at all educational stages is foreseen in the text, both through specific content and in a transversal perspective.
The fundamental principles of the transformation of the education system are therefore equity and excellence. The law aims to guarantee students, teachers and schools an inclusive and modern model. The tracks for the 4th year of ESO (last grade in Secondary Compulsory Education, ISCED 3) are eliminated, thus all options will lead to the same ESO degree. In addition, students who attend Basic Vocational Training will also receive the ESO degree, which will allow them to access to any post-compulsory education programmes. Concerning excellence, this law introduces diagnostic assessments in the 4th grade of primary education and in the 2nd grade of secondary education, which will be of informative, formative and of guiding nature. In this way, schools and teachers can develop strategic plans for continuous improvement.
Another remarkable aspect of this new law is a boost to Vocational Training. This has three goals: improving the social recognition of Vocational Training making it more flexible and, consequently, streamlining the processes of incorporating new contents to bring Spain closer to the attendance rates of students who choose this path as compared to other European countries.
Since the publication of the LOMLOE, a progressive implementation period has begun. The law will be fully implemented by the 2023/2024 school year.