Schools in Portugal
Understanding the fundamentals
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Public schools in Portugal
Public schooling in Portugal is divided into several tiers. Jardim de infância (kindergarten) offers education for children between the ages of three and five years old. Children between the ages of six and 15 attend ensino básico (basic education) while teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18 attend ensino secundário (secondary education). Schooling is compulsory from ages six to 18 – the entirety of the basic and secondary education period.
Public schools in Portugal are free. Though quality can vary greatly, some are highly respected and considered superior to private schools. As Portuguese is the language of instruction, public schools may not be the best option for older children or families in the country for only a short period.
For those moving to Portugal for the long term, however, public schools are a good way for children to learn the language and assimilate with local children.
Private schools in Portugal
There is a large network of private schools for expats to choose from in Portugal. Many of Portugal’s private schools are Catholic.
Private schools generally have smaller class sizes, more extra-curricular activities and better facilities than their public equivalents. However, this doesn’t always equate to better academic results, so parents should do their research carefully before deciding on a school.
International schools in Portugal
International schools in Portugal offer a variety of curricula in a number of languages. Most uphold high standards of education, and expats needn’t worry about their children falling behind their home country peers while they’re abroad. There are a number of international schools throughout Portugal, most of which are in popular expat areas such as Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve.
Tuition at international schools can be expensive. Expats should be sure to budget accordingly or negotiate an education allowance in their expat package.