international schools in portugalAre you moving to Portugal and searching for the perfect school with an international curriculum for your children? Look no further.

The Global Citizen Solutions team in Portugal has launched this International School Guide, providing you with a complete list of schools in the country.

We’ve created a user-friendly tool that allows you to search for international schools in Portugal by name, region, curriculum, and language. From private pre schools to prestigious institutions focused on higher education, our list is comprehensive and designed to help you make an informed decision quickly and efficiently.

Keep reading to find the best international school in Portugal.

How to Choose an International School in Portugal

Portugal has 51 international schools spread across seven distinct cities. The majority of these schools are concentrated in the Greater Lisbon area, Porto, and the Algarve region.

In Lisbon, you can find international schools in various neighborhoods, including Cascais, Estoril, Sintra, Oeiras, and Carcavelos. Meanwhile, the Algarve region offers international schools in Faro, Almancil, Lagoa, and Portimão. Additionally, other Portuguese regions like Braga, Madeira, and Leiria also have a handful of international schools, albeit in smaller numbers.

best international schools in portugalChoosing the right international school for your children can be made easier if you know where to start.  Below are some top tips to assist you in making the best decision:

  • Accreditation: Ensure the school is accredited by recognized organizations like CIS, NEASC, or IBO, guaranteeing high standards in curriculum, teaching, and facilities.
  • Curriculum: Consider the offered curriculum, whether it’s the IB diploma or whether the school offers a North American style education, based on your child’s needs and future aspirations.
  • Location: Think about the school’s proximity to your home or workplace and access to public transportation for easy commuting.
  • Extracurricular activities: Explore the range of extracurricular offerings, such as sports, music, and drama, to help your child make friends and develop new skills.
  • Teacher qualifications: Verify the qualifications and experience of the teachers, as they play a vital role in your child’s learning experience. 

You might also want to consider longevity. Some international schools have an in-built elementary school (primary school) and secondary school and can educate children aged from four years old to school up to eighteen.

Additionally, consider the continuity of education offered, whether the school covers both primary education and secondary education levels, depending on your long-term plans for your child’s education.

List of International Schools in Portugal

Map of International Schools in Portugal

 

International Schools in Lisbon

 

International Schools in the Greater Lisbon Area

(Cascais/Estoril/Sintra/Oeiras/Carcavelos)

 

International Schools in the Algarve

 

International Schools in other regions

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Types of International Schools in Portugal

Note that Portugal offers many different types of international schools, all teaching through different languages and using different curricula. You’ll find British international schools, German schools, French schools, and American international schools in Portugal.

For example, Deutsche Schule Lissabon is an established German school in Lisbon, and Deutsche Schule zu Porto is the second oldest German school in Portugal, located in Porto. Meanwhile, the largest British international school would be the Nobel Algarve British International School.

So, whether your child needs an English-based curriculum, a German-focused education, or any other international approach, rest assured that Portugal’s best international schools stand ready to provide a rich and fulfilling learning experience for students of all backgrounds and aspirations.

The best international schools in Portugal:

Several private international schools are well-regarded in Portugal for their academic excellence, diverse curricula, and international perspectives. Some of the notable in the country include:

  • St. Julian’s School (Carcavelos): A well-established school offering an international program based on the English National Curriculum. On the Portuguese side, children access the Portuguese national curriculum.
  • Carlucci American International School of Lisbon: Located just outside of Lisbon, this is the only school in Portugal recognized by the US Department of State International Christian School of Cascais.
  • St. Dominic’s International School: Situated in Cascais, near Lisbon, St. Dominic’s International School was founded by Irish Dominican Sisters in 1954, and it’s ideal for for parents looking for the benefits of religious education. This school offers three programs: diploma, middle years, and primary years.
  • Prime School International: This international school has locations in areas such as Cascais, Estoril, Lisbon, and Sintra. From ages 3 to 18, students are immersed in the Cambridge Curriculum, taught exclusively in English. Native Portuguese speakers can opt for classes in both English and Portuguese.
  • Oporto British School: Founded in 1894 in the city of Porto, this is the oldest British school in mainland Europe. It follows a British curriculum until the completion of the IGCSE, and it’s the only International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) school in Northern Portugal.
  • St. Peter’s International School: A premium private international school in Setubal, Palmela. This school has both national and international programs, including the Cambridge IGCSE and the IB Diploma.
  • Greene’s College Oxford: With locations in Estoril and Lisbon, Greene’s College International offers online tuition for International A levels, A level Retakes, and Foundation Years through the personalized, Oxford-style tutorial method.
  • International Preparatory School (IPS): Located in Porto, this international school is for children aged between three and eleven. Both the students and teachers are multinational, so this school offers expat children the opportunity to thrive in an international environment.

What can international schools in Portugal offer my child?

In Portugal, international schools offer an exceptional standard of education and typically hold accreditations from international organizations. These schools create a multicultural environment where students have the opportunity to interact with peers from various countries, fostering openness, empathy, and respect for diverse cultures. They also tend to focus on multilingual education, a holistic curriculum, and academic achievement.

What-can-international-schools-in-Portugal-offer-my-childFurthermore, the most respected international schools provide an extensive array of extracurricular activities and programs that support the development of children’s skills, talents, and interests.

Many of these schools follow globally recognized curricula like the International Baccalaureate (IB) or the British curriculum. These curricula are designed to cultivate critical and independent thinking, creativity, and problem-solving abilities, all essential for thriving in the 21st century.

Several of these schools provide globally renowned qualifications like the Cambridge International Examinations, offering your child a competitive edge when applying to universities worldwide.

Some families choose international schools because they focus on children becoming curious and collaborative individuals. Other international schools excel in STEM subjects or emphasize arts and music. You’ll find several English-speaking schools in Portugal with a wide range of curricula.

The Portuguese Education System

The Portuguese education system is highly regarded for its commitment to providing comprehensive and inclusive education. It ranked 24th position, according to the 2022 Best Countries for Education Report, conducted by US News and World Report, BAV Group, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Portugal has made significant strides in recent years to modernize its educational infrastructure, incorporating innovative teaching methods and technology to enhance the learning experience. 

The education system in Portugal is divided into the following educational levels:

  • Preschool education (Educação Pré-escolar): Ages 3 to 6
  • Primary education (Ensino Básico): Ages 6 to 15
  • Secondary education (Ensino Secundário): Ages 15 to 18
  • Higher education (Ensino Superior): Ages 18 and above

The Portuguese Grading System

The Portuguese grading system may be a little different from what you are used to in your home country. Here, we’ll provide you with some insights on what to expect.

For middle school, a five-scale grading system is used:

  1. The lowest grade, fail to pass
  2. Unsatisfactory
  3. Satisfactory
  4. Good
  5. Excellent

High schools are graded on a 20-point scale. You can see a comparison of the Portuguese and US grading systems below:

International schools versus public schools

Public schools in Portugal are generally well-regarded, emphasizing public education and following the national curriculum standards. They are also more budget-friendly as they receive government funding and do not require tuition fees. This makes them an attractive choice for families prioritizing education accessibility or those on a tight budget.

However, international schools offer distinct advantages that might appeal to specific families. For foreign residents or international students, attending an international or private school can facilitate the transition to a new country due to its diverse student body and tailored curriculum catering to various backgrounds.

International and private schools can also provide a more rigorous academic program with smaller class sizes, offering individualized attention from teachers. 

International schools in Portugal fees

Public schools up to a certain education level are tuition-free for citizens and foreign residents alike. However, the private school tuition ranges between €400 and €500 per month from primary to high school level.

If you’re considering an international school for your children, expect higher tuition fees. Monthly costs typically hover around €800. The minimum monthly fee at an international school in Portugal is around €40, but these prices can reach as much as €1,800 depending on the school level. You should also factor in potential costs for uniforms, books, and other school supplies as you budget for education in Portugal.

What is the cheapest international school in Portugal?

All international schools in Portugal are private institutions and charge tuition fees, but the costs can vary significantly. Among the options, Instituto Espanhol Giner de Los Rios and the International School of Madeira stand out as schools with lower-cost tuition fees.

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To Wrap Things Up 

international schools in Portugal

In summary, Portugal has a wide array of international schools catering to all backgrounds and preferences. From British schools that mirror the British curriculum to institutions that follow American or German teaching styles, the options are endless.

International schools present a high-quality education system with opportunities for students’ personal and professional growth. They pave the way toward a bright future by offering students everything from basic education to foreign language assistance, extracurricular activities, certifications, and preparation for their foundational university education.

Whether you’re a parent seeking the best education for your child or a student aspiring for a transformative learning journey, international schools stand as an exceptional choice.

Frequently Asked Questions about International Schools in Portugal

What are the international schools in Lisbon?

There are 28 international schools in the Greater Lisbon region alone, including the British School of Lisbon, Lycée Francais Charles Le Pierre de Lisbonne, and The Lisboan.

What are the international schools in Porto?

There are four international schools in Porto, including CLIP – Oporto International School, Oporto British School, and Lycée Français International de Porto – LFIP.

What are the international schools in the Algarve?

There are 12 international schools in the Algarve, including the Nobel Algarve British International School, Vale Verde International School, Colegio Santiago Internacional, CIV – Vilamoura International School, and Aljezur International School.

What are the best international schools in Portugal?

The best international schools in Portugal:

  • St. Julian’s School — Carcavelos
  • Carlucci American International School of Lisbon — Lisbon
  • St. Dominic’s International School — Cascais
  • Prime School International — Several locations
  • Oporto British School — Porto
  • St. Peter’s International School — Setubal
  • Greene’s College Oxford — Estoril and Lisbon
  • St. James’ Primary School — Cascais

Are international schools free in Portugal?

No, international schools are not free in Portugal. However, you will find fees for international schools here much more affordable than in other European countries.

Are there English-speaking schools in Portugal?

From primary school through to secondary education, you’ll find English-speaking schools in Portugal. English-speaking schools in Portugal are focused in Lisbon, the Algarve, and Porto.

Some examples include the Nobel International School, PaRK International School (English and Portuguese), Oeiras International School, Carluccio International School, St Dominic’s International, the International Christian School of Cascais, International Sharing School, and the British International School of Lisbon. 

There are many different curricula, such as the British curriculum, the American curriculum (such as the Carlucci American International School), and the International Baccalaureate (IB), which follows an international curriculum that is globally recognized. International students in these schools will have a good foundation and will be set up for the challenges of life in the best possible way. 

An American international school will provide your child with a good base in case you may relocate to America and would like your child to be familiar with the curriculum. 

Which is the cheapest international school in Portugal?

The cost of international schools will vary. Two international schools with affordable fees are the Instituto Espanhol Giner de Los Rios and the International School of Madeira. You can find more about the fees for each international school in our International School Guide (see the link at the beginning of this article). You will discover that boarding schools, as expected, will be more expensive.

How many international schools are in Portugal?

There are 51 international schools, mostly focused in Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve, including primary school level through to secondary school level. There are many different curricula to be found in Portugal, such as the British curriculum, the American curriculum, and the International Baccalaureate (IB). American international schools provide your child with a good base in case you may relocate to America and would like your child to be familiar with the curriculum.

How do international schools in Portugal differ from local Portuguese schools?

International schools differ from local Portuguese schools in several key aspects. While local Portuguese schools follow the national curriculum and primarily use the Portuguese language for instruction, international schools typically offer a diverse range of curricula, such as the International Baccalaureate (IB), British, American, or German systems, among others. 

The language of instruction in international schools can vary, and many schools provide bilingual or multilingual education, accommodating students from different linguistic backgrounds. Additionally, international schools often have a more diverse student body, with students from various countries, creating a multicultural and international environment throughout. 

Can my child transition easily from an international school in Portugal to a school in another country?

Yes, students who attend an international school in Portugal can generally transition smoothly to schools in other countries. International schools follow globally recognized curricula, making it easier for students to adapt to different educational systems. 

Do international schools in Portugal provide support for non-English speaking students?

Yes, international schools typically provide support for non-English speaking students. Many international schools have language support programs to help non-English speakers develop their language proficiency and integrate into the English-based curriculum. These schools often have English as a Second Language (ESL) programs or specialized language classes to facilitate the learning process for students whose first language is not English. 

What extracurricular activities are available in international schools in Portugal?

Portugal’s international schools offer a wide range of extracurricular activities such as sports as well as music, drama, arts, debate clubs, and various academic or interest-based clubs. Some international schools may organize field trips, community service projects, and cultural events.

Does Portugal have good international schools?

Yes, Portugal is home to several reputable international schools that offer high-quality education and a range of curricula. These schools cater to expatriate communities and local families seeking an international education for their children.

How much do international schools cost in Portugal?

The cost of international schools varies, but they’re more expensive than local schools. Monthly fees are usually around €800, but prices can reach €1,800 a month.

Can American kids go to school in Portugal?

Yes, American children can attend school in Portugal. There are international schools that offer curricula such as the American curriculum or the International Baccalaureate (IB).

Are international schools in Portugal open to both expatriate and local students?

Yes, international schools in Portugal are open to both expatriate and local students. While these schools are commonly associated with serving the expatriate community, they are also open to local students who wish to benefit from an international education and the opportunities it offers.

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