Choosing the right school

State or Private?

Portugal's education system is made up of state run and private education institutions at all levels of learning. Make sure you understand the advantages and disadvantages of both systems before making a choice.

Some parents worry about the quality of education in state schools. However, Portuguese state education has improved greatly over the past few decades. In 2006, the government granted the Ministry of Education €6 billion to improve facilities, quality of teaching and classroom sizes.

Classroom sizes in most Portuguese state schools are now smaller than in other European countries with less than twenty pupils per class. Most state schools offer extra curricular activities after the first cycle of basic education.

Entry into state school is simple, and schools can only reject your application if they have no places left and if you do not live nearby.

Private and independent schools

Portuguese private schools are found mainly in Lisbon and Porto. Generally speaking, private schools have more facilities than state schools and some offer the option to board.

Entering a private school is not as easy as entering a state school. Students are required to pass an entry exam and admission is at the discretion of the school directors.

For information on tuition fees you should contact the school directly.

Foreign and international schools

If Portuguese is not your first language, do not be put off sending your children to a Portuguese speaking school. Children can adapt and learn languages a lot quicker than adults can.

Nevertheless, expats sometimes prefer to send their kids to foreign or international schools  that teach in a more familiar language.

The British Consul have several British schools across Portugal . At these schools students follow the national curriculum of the United Kingdom. This is useful if you are taking your children away from their studies in the UK as they can pick up their studies where they left off.


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