International Education in Lisbon
Once it was the home of pioneering explorers who set off to discover unknown lands. Now it’s home to countless expats from every corner of the globe seeking a high quality of life, an easy lifestyle and plenty of sun. It’s easy to see why Portugal, and its capital Lisbon, is a favourite of global citizens.
If you’re considering moving your family to Lisbon, you’ll need to find an international school for your children. Let us tell you everything you need to know!
The Portuguese school system has four stages; Basic Education Cycles (Ensino Basico) 1, 2 and 3 from ages 6 - 10 (Cycle 1), 10 - 13 (Cycle 2), and 13 - 15 (Cycle 3). This is followed by Secondary Education (Ensino Secundario) from ages 15 - 18. Ensino Basico is mandatory, but Ensino Secundario is optional.
Many international schools in Lisbon cater for children based on these age ranges and cycles. They may offer classes only for Ensino Basico, only for certain cycles, only for Ensino Secundario, or for every stage.
The school year follows a similar format to most of Europe. It kicks off in September and finishes in June, with breaks for Christmas and Easter holidays. The school day runs from around 8.30am to 4pm, although this varies from school to school.
Typically, applications are open from the end of each school year for children who will begin attending when the following school year begins in September. However due to increased demand, many international schools now accept year-round applications.
Just like most of Europe, the standard of education in Lisbon’s international schools is very high. All the usual perks like extensive extra curricular programmes, small class sizes, native speaking teachers, and an array of curricula are on offer here.
As for school fees, despite the high quality available Portugal’s international schools are at the cheaper end of the scale in Europe. If you want the benefits of expat life in a major European city like Rome, Brussels or Paris, but without quite as much of a financial hit, then Lisbon is a worthy choice.
Like other Southern European countries, Portugal has a long tradition of Catholic schools. The same can be said for Lisbon’s international schools, many of which follow a Catholic or Christian ethos. This doesn’t mean you must follow a Christian faith for your child to attend - it just plays a part in their approach to education.
There is a wide choice of international schools in Lisbon and its suburbs. But there are even more schools an easy commute away, particularly around Cascais and slightly further north towards Sintra. International schools outside of the capital will usually offer transport services.
Lisbon is a laid back place to live, but it’s still a big and busy city. If you’d rather get away from the hustle and bustle then it’s worth taking a look at these close by alternatives.
Below, we have compiled our top 10 international schools in Lisbon. However, there are another 12 schools to choose from in the city. You can find the best international school for your child by personalising your results. Just fill in your search criteria, and we will calculate a personal score for every international school in Lisbon based on your requirements.