Schools in Belgium

The standard of education in Belgium is high and expat parents will have a wide variety of options when it comes to their children’s schooling.

There are three different national education systems in Belgium. The French, Flemish and German regions each have their own government-run education system that corresponds with the regional language. There are also private and international schools in Belgium, which offer an alternative to the public systems.

Education in Belgium is compulsory from age six to 18 and the academic year usually runs from September to June.

Expat Protect plans have been designed for expats and local residents in France, Benelux or Monaco.  They can be purchased as a top-up health insurance or purchased as full cover.

Public education in Belgium is of a high standard and is a good option for expat families who already speak a local language or who are looking for an immersive experience for their younger children.

Extra costs associated with school supplies and school outings are kept to a minimum in public schools. However, these schools tend to offer less extra-curricular activities than private and international schools.

The Belgian secondary education system is highly regarded but admissions procedures can change frequently, and often without warning. Expat families need to be prepared and take the steps necessary to secure a place at the secondary school of their choice.

The teaching philosophies of private schools in Belgium vary from school to school. Some of these privately run schools are also subsidised by the government.

Many private schools are religious institutions, and most offer a curriculum that differs from the regional government curriculum, such as the Montessori or Waldorf curriculum. 

There is a wide range of international schools in Belgium. Some of these schools teach an English curriculum, while others are bilingual and follow the national curricula of countries such as France, the Netherlands or Germany, among others. Many of these schools also offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme.

With a large expat community, particularly in Brussels, space at international schools may be limited and parents should try to apply as early as possible to secure a place for their child at their preferred school.