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School education in Portugal

School education in Portugal

What about the education system in Portugal?

Similar to France, from primary to high school level, but with shorter daily teaching days and less fragmented holiday periods.

The duration of education in Portugal is more evenly spread out over the year and leaves room for many school activities.

Education is divided into three main parts: Ensino básico (primary school and junior high school), Ensino secundário (high school) and Ensino superior (university).

In Portugal, education is compulsory from the age of 6 and ends when the pupil reaches the age of 18 in the 12th year of school (12.º ano de escolaridade).

Since 2005, the teaching of English is compulsory from the second year of primary school

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The Portuguese system from kindergarten to high school

The jardin da infância phase corresponds to kindergarten, and is intended for children aged 3 to 5 years

The 1st ciclo ensino básico phase, corresponds to the first 4 years of primary school in France, from CP to CM1

The 2nd and 3rd ciclo ensino básico phase, corresponds to the collège, but lasts 5 years and starts with the equivalent of the French CM2. Teaching is similar to that of the collège in France with one teacher per subject and a main teacher. At the end of these 5 years, students take a certificate of studies (the equivalent of the brevet des collèges).

A lighter school rhythm with shorter hours

At the public school and in the first cycle, classes are held from Monday to Friday, starting at 9:00 am and ending at 3:30 pm (with morning and afternoon snack breaks). This leaves room for extra-curricular activities (computers, music, science etc.)

The school holidays are concentrated only during the Christmas holidays (2 weeks), a few days in February for Carnival, a few days in April for Easter, and a long summer break which runs from mid-June to mid-September.


The ensino secundário phase corresponds to high school.

This cycle lasts 3 years and at the end of it, the following exam is taken:

"Diploma de Ensino Secundário" which corresponds to the Baccalaureate. As soon as you enter the "decimo ano" (the equivalent of the second year), you have to make an orientation.

The student must choose between a general stream (scientific, economic or literary), a vocational stream (which can be followed as an apprenticeship or a sandwich course) and an artistic stream (available only in certain high schools).

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Cost of education in Portugal

In the public sector, from the quinto ano (5th year) onwards, you will have to buy your children's books yourself, about €250/year.

However, more and more Câmaras (local councils) have set up a system of allowances to pay for books (this allowance is calculated according to the overall income of the household).
There is also the canteen which amounts to between 0.30 € and 1.50 €/day maximum

There is also the ATL (Extra-curricular activities): budget between €50 and €150 (depending on your income)

In private schools, fees vary according to the school, but are much higher

The 2 French schools in Portugal :

      - The Lycée Français Marius Latour in Porto
      - The Lycée Français Charles Lepierre in Lisbon

There are two French schools in Portugal, under the authority of the French Ministry of Education, in Lisbon and Porto. In recent years, both schools have become very popular with French students and have very few places available.

Both schools provide French language education, based on the French school system, from kindergarten to high school. Although the vast majority of students are French or Franco-Portuguese, Portuguese is taught to students to help them integrate more easily into their new country (4 hours/week).

The school rhythm is exactly the same as in France: start of the school year, number of hours of lessons per day, date of school holidays, etc.

Cost: around 4500,00€ and 5200,00€ / year + registration fees

In order to support students from abroad who have recently arrived in the Portuguese education system, the Portuguese Ministry of Education offers hours of Portuguese language classes in the form of "Português Língua Não Materna" so that the child assimilates the language more quickly.

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The University

There are two systems of higher education in Portugal: the university system and the polytechnic system. With many similarities with France: licence, maitrise and doctorate.

Some Portuguese universities are very well ranked at world level, notably the Faculty of Economics of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Nova School of Business and Economics, among the top 30 in the world, according to the Financial Times ranking



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