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From the XX century to the present day.

The Geneva Convention on the "Rights of Children" reflects western society's commitment to child protection. Spanish child protection laws began to appear at the beginning of the twentieth century, based on the book by Ellen Key "The Century of the child" (1906) and on the regeneration movement. They are focused on three basic aspects: basic academic education, religious education and vocational training in workshops.

In the Second Republic the education system, which was universal but still not secular, was consolidated. With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in July 1936 each side did something for child protection: the republican government created the "Board for the protection of Orphans of the defenders of the Republic" and the national side founded "Winter Aid".

In October 1936 the town council decided to move the San Ildefonso students to a safer place to ensure their safety. The 90 children and their teachers were moved first to Valencia and from there to Vilanova i la Geltrú (Barcelona) where the villagers took the children into their homes showing great kindness.

At the end of the war the San Ildefonso School, an elite centre for child protection, continued with its work under the principles of the new regime; discipline, a hierarchical organization and religious education. The highly qualified San Ildefonso staff provided an excellent education that benefited all the San Ildefonso students.

In the final years of the franquist regime (1973) the school accepted day pupils for the first time, leading to overcrowding in the classrooms -100 boarders and nearly 300 day pupils- and causing a fall in the efficiency of the educational and care services.

The arrival of democracy brought great changes to the Institution: in 1981 girls were admitted and in 1986 the law for child protection separated the educational and protective roles of the school. The school was therefore divided into two different institutions: the San Ildefonso Primary School, which was to belong to the Madrid Community state school network, and the San Ildefonso Boarding School, which became the only centre offering shelter for children thanks to the support of the "Old Students Association" and under the protection of the Town Council.

From the mid eighties to the end of the nineties the San Ildefonso Boarding School became a totally independent institution where the children and the staff live in to give the children a family like atmosphere.

Today the San Ildefonso Boarding School provides support for families which require help in educating and bringing up their children because of their economic or social situation. So it has become the only institution in Spain which takes in children in a preventive capacity showing that tradition and educational excellence can be in the vanguard.

  "The "San Ildefonso School" through the ages": PDF (xxx Mb)

(We are working on the final document)

Niños de San Ildefonso en los pupitres del Colegio durante los años 40.


Los Niños de Villanova volvieron casi 60 años después a su segunda casa.


Comedor de la Residencia-Internado San Ildefonso en el año 2005.

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