International Schools in Portugal: Everything You Need to Know

International schools in Portugal

If you are looking for international schools in Portugal, you’ve come to the right place.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the different types of schools available, plus what you need to consider when choosing one.

So, whether you’re in the process of moving to Portugal or just considering it, read on for more information about the best schools for your family!

Portugal’s education system

Portugal’s education system is renowned for its quality and accessibility. All children are required to attend school from the ages of 6 to 18, and there are a variety of public and private schools to choose from.

In addition, Portugal offers a number of scholarships and financial aid programmes to help students from lower-income families access higher education.

The country’s universities are also highly respected, with several institutions ranking among the best in Europe. As a result, Portugal is an excellent place to pursue a high-quality education.

Education in Portugal is free and mandatory for children aged from 6 up to 15.

The education process begins with primary school, from age 6 to 11. Subjects include maths, sciences, art, and Portuguese language, often with English language alongside.

After that, from grade 5 upwards, students will learn Portuguese and English language, history and geography of Portugal, maths and science, PE, IT, and music.

After sixth grade, most schools offer the opportunity to take a second foreign language (typically Spanish, French or German), along with history, geography, physics, and chemistry.

During secondary education, equivalent to high school in the US, students will choose between a track designed to lead to university education, and another track designed to lead straight into work. All students will take an exam upon finishing high school, the results of which decides which university they will go to.

University in Portugal

Home vs international student?

Portuguese universities differentiate between ‘home’ students and ‘international’ students.

Home students are Portuguese or EU nationals, while international students come from third countries.

If you’ve been legally resident in Portugal for two years, you can apply for university as a home student, which means you’ll pay lower fees than if you enrolled as an international.

Portuguese universities offer three kinds of degrees:

  • Licenciatura (Bachelor’s degree)
  • Mestrado (Master’s degree)
  • Doutoramento (PhD degree)

Types of schools in Portugal

Portugal has both public and private schools. Private schools are free for both residents and Portuguese citizens, while private schools charge significant fees.

Universities in Portugal aren’t free, but they provide discounted tuition fees for both Portuguese citizens and legal residents. Public schools, also known as state schools, teach a curriculum in Portuguese.

But if your child doesn’t yet speak Portuguese sufficiently, you always have the option of sending them to an international school in Portugal.

What is an international school?

An international school is a type of school that follows a curriculum that is different from the traditional curriculum of the country where it is located.

Students at an international school usually come from a variety of different countries and cultures. The most common type of international school is an English-language international school, which uses English as the main language of instruction.

However, there are also international schools that offer instruction in other languages, such as French, Spanish, Mandarin, or Japanese.

International schools typically offer a wide range of extracurricular activities and cultural events, which helps to promote cultural understanding and diversity.

Why should my child go to an international school in Portugal?

International schools offer a unique and valuable educational experience.

By engaging with students from all over the world, your child will learn to appreciate different cultures and perspectives.

They will also develop an understanding of global issues, and learn how to work collaboratively with people from different backgrounds.

In addition, international schools typically offer a more rigorous academic program than traditional schools, providing an excellent preparation for university.

With their global outlook and commitment to excellence, graduates of international schools are highly sought-after by colleges and employers alike.

For these reasons, sending your child to an international school in Portugal is a great investment in their future – in much the same way as EU citizenship is!

International schools in Portugal

International schools in Portugal follow international education standards and typically use a curriculum from either the UK, US, Germany or France.

Some may also follow a Portuguese curriculum alongside. Schools may be bilingual, and often have native speaking teachers.

English-medium schools offer instruction in English, but they also teach Portuguese as a second language.

IB schools follow the curriculum of the International Baccalaureate Organization. They offer bilingual education with an emphasis on multiculturalism.

American schools offer an American curriculum, and they typically have a more diverse student body than other international schools.

Each type of international school in Portugal has its own benefits, and parents should carefully consider their options before enrolling their child in a school.

Things to consider when choosing an international school for your child

When it comes time to choose a school for your child, there are a number of factors to take into account.

First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure that the school is accredited and offers a curriculum that’s aligned with your child’s learning goals. You’ll also want to consider the school’s location, as well as its extracurricular offerings and after-school programs.

Additionally, you’ll want to tour the school and meet with the teachers and administrators to get a feel for the school’s atmosphere and culture. With so many important factors to consider, choosing the right school for your child can be daunting.

However, by taking the time to do your research and tour the schools you’re considering, you can be confident that you’re getting the best possible option for your child.

How to get started looking for an international school in Portugal

If you’re looking for international schools in Portugal, the best place to start is by doing a search online. There are a number of websites that list international schools in Portugal, and you can also find reviews from parents and students on many of these sites.

Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a few schools, you can then contact the schools directly to get more information. Many international schools have websites where you can find detailed information about their programs and policies.

You can also usually find contact information for the school’s admissions office on these websites. When contacting the school, be sure to ask about their admissions requirements and procedures.

Some schools may require that you submit an application form and provide transcripts or other documentation. Others may have more rigorous admission procedures.

Admission requirements

In general, most international schools in Portugal will require the following documents:

  • The completed enrolment form
  • Passport copy and/or birth certificate of the child
  • Passport copy of the child’s parent or legal guardian
  • Several passport-sized photographs
  • The child’s vaccination records
  • The child’s previous school reports
  • Proof of legal residence in Portugal

Some international schools may also require your child to attend an interview. The exact requirements will be included on the school’s website.

Typical tuition fees for international schools

Tuition fees can vary significantly from one institution to the next, as you’ll see in the following round-up of international schools in Portugal.

On average, you can expect to pay around €10,000 per child per year in fees. International Baccalaureate (IB) institutions tend to be more expensive.

International schools will also charge fees for the application, for annual enrolment, and for school supplies such as uniforms (if required) and study materials.

Best international schools in Portugal

Portugal has a number of international schools mainly located in the areas where significant numbers of foreign nationals tend to live.

We’ve grouped the best international schools in Portugal by area, for easy identification of the ones most relevant to your plans in Portugal.

Best international schools in Madeira

The island of Madeira has two international schools, which teach different curriculums.

School nameTeaching languageCurriculumAnnual feesAge range
The International School of MadeiraBilingual – English and PortugueseInternational and Portuguese€2,500 to €3,3303 to 10
International Sharing School Madeira EnglishIBEnquire via school3 to 16

Best international schools in Lisbon (including Cascais, Estoril & Sintra)

As you might expect from a capital city, Lisbon has the largest concentration of international schools in Portugal.

School nameTeaching languageCurriculumAnnual feesAge range
British School of LisbonEnglish British€10,200 3 to 8
Deutsche Schule Lissabon (Lisbon & Estoril Campus)GermanGerman€6,700 to 6,880 3 to 18 (Lisbon)
3 to 9 (Estoril)
Lycée Français Charles LepierreFrenchFrench €4,710 to €5,9523 to 18
Astoria International SchoolEnglish and Portuguese British and PortugueseEnquire via school2 to 18
Oeiras International SchoolEnglishIB€10,550
to €18,060
6 to 18
Redbridge SchoolEnglish, French, and PortugueseInternational, Portuguese, and French€7,405
to €11,100
3 to 15
International Christian School of CascaisEnglishAmerican and ChristianEnquire via school3 to 18
Carlucci American International School Of Lisbon (Sintra)English
IB and American
to €19,372
3 to 18
Greene’s Tutorial College Estoril
EnglishBritish€18,90014 to 18

Best international schools in Porto

School nameTeaching languageCurriculumAnnual feesAge range
International College of Porto (CLIP)EnglishBritish€7,900
to €11,900
3 to 18
Oporto British SchoolEnglishIB and British€7,765
to €12,920
3 to 18
Lycée Français International
to €5,460
3 to 18

Best international schools in the Algarve

School nameTeaching languageCurriculumAnnual feesAge range
Vale Verde International School
English and PortugueseBritish€6,100
to €11,050
5 to 18
Nobel International School Algarve
EnglishBritish and Portuguese€5,149
to €16,985
3 to 18

Before you go…

Sending your child to an international school in Portugal is a great way to ease them into life in the new country, while helping them acquire new languages, develop new skills and an international outlook.

International schools in Portugal vary significantly in terms of the curriculums, teaching language, and fees.

We hope this article has put you on the right track for choosing the best option for your child.

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