Education in Portugal ages 3-15yrs

Moving to a new country is, for most, an endless list of ‘to do’s. Bringing young children with you can add many new worries particularly regarding education. Portugal offers excellent educational facilities; State Nurseries & Schools which are free, private education, International Schools and alternatives such as Montessori education & Home Teaching (either by parent or qualified Teachers).

Jardim de Infancia / Nursery School

School day 8am-9am / 9am – 3.30pm / 3.30pm – 6pm

From 3yrs to 6yrs children can attend a local Jardim de Infanica, nursery school is not compulsory in Portugal although it does provide a great foundation for school after 6yrs, and more importantly, will provide an invaluable introduction into the Portuguese language. The state schools are free apart from the cost of books, hot meals are also provided at an extra cost or children may take in packed lunches. Qualification for free school meals will depend on your circumstances and income. It is advisable to consider all the local schools in your area, children may attend a Jardim de Infancia that is not necessarily in the catchment area however when moving onto to Ensinio Basico (School) they must attend the local school.

Registration usually takes place towards the end of the school year between June & July and will require the following documents; a medical certificate, passport, photograph, and you will need to complete an inscription form including contact numbers, permission for school trips etc. Before the school year begins you will be contacted with the date of a Reuniao (a parents meeting) during which you will be provided with information regarding the coming school year, holidays, a list of what each child will need to bring on their first day, etc. The school year runs from mid September to early July.

  • Ensinio Basico – 1º Ciclo 6-9yrs
  • Ensino Básico – 2º Ciclo 10-11yrs
  • Ensino Básico – 3º Ciclo. 13-15 yrs
  • School day 9am – 3.30pm / 3.30pm – 5.30pm

From 6yrs to 15yrs it is compulsory for children to attend school, they will pass through 3 stages as above, state schools, again are free except books and meals (depending on income or children may take in packed lunches).

The school day is 9am – 3.30pm although children may stay until 5.30pm to cover extra activities. These may vary but usually include P.E. (swimming if faclilities available), English & Music. Early on emphasis is put on Mathematics and Portuguese writing and all children are given homework from the start. The school year runs from mid September through to mid June and registration must take place before the end of the school year, again you will need to provide ID and medical certificate.

Higher Education

When a student wishes to apply for higher education through the Portuguese system, the student must first complete the secondary education course, or legally recognised equivalent. They must then pass the entrance exam of the relevant university or polytechnic that they wish to enroll in.
Additional information available on education can be found on the following websites;