Expats moving to Greece with children should start making provisions for schooling as early in the process as possible.  

The Greek education system is administered by the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs. By law, all children between six and fifteen years old are required to attend school. During these years, public schooling is tuition-free.

Expats legally residing in Greece are entitled to send their children to a local public school at no cost. However, this isn’t the most practical option because of the language barrier. Most expats either opt to send their children to a private or international school as these are better equipped to handle the unique needs of expat students.

Expat students rarely attend Greek public schools. However, expats moving to Greece long-term and those with very young children may choose to consider this option. One of the great benefits of attending a public school in Greece is that it affords expat children the opportunity to mix closely with local Greek students therefore making the transition to a new country easier.

Despite the fact that there are no fees attached to public education in Greece, expat parents with children in a Greek public school tend to invest considerable amounts in employing private tutors. Furthermore, the Greek education system emphasises rote learning which is very different to the development-based approach use elsewhere in the world.

While private schools in Greece are still supervised by the Greek government and mostly conduct lessons in Greek, these institutions do have greater autonomy than their public counterparts and can make better provisions to accommodate expat students.

The standard of teaching is good and class sizes are much smaller than those found in public schools. While tuition fees are high, Greek private schools offer a good middle ground in that they offer a high standard of education while also providing an integrative experience for expat children by allowing them to have more contact with local students.

There are a number of international schools in Greece, most of which are situated in Athens, with a few in Thessaloniki. These schools offer foreign or international curricula, typically taught in English or the language of the school’s country of origin.

International schools are the most popular option amongst expats because they provide an opportunity for children to continue with a familiar curriculum in their home languages. They also tend to have smaller class sizes, better facilities and a wide range of extra-curricular activities, but all these benefits come with a hefty price tag. Tuition fees vary from one school to the next and tend to increase as children progress.

Another advantage of attending an international school is that they allow both the parents and students to connect and network with other expat families.

The most popular international schools tend to be oversubscribed and have long waiting lists so it is wise to start the application processes as early as possible to secure a spot before moving to Greece.