More expats than ever before are settling to live in Portugal, a vibrant Mediterranean country with a high quality of life, rich history, and excellent healthcare and education systems. Indeed, the high level of education available in Portugal is one of the key factors why families are increasingly drawn to Portugal.
The education system in Portugal is excellent and has been ranked in 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. However, while the country boasts an array of top-quality schools, it can be difficult to find the perfect one for you and your family.
So, why has this guide on international schools in Portugal been created?
Simply put, it has been developed based on our client’s interests and on increased demand for such a resource. We have created this international school guide in collaboration with specialists in the field to provide you with an expert opinion on the education system in Portugal and to help you explore the range of different options on the table.
Our International School Guide
A word from Patricia Casaburi, CEO of Global Citizen Solutions.
“Throughout their lives, there are some difficult decisions you will have to make for your child/children, however, choosing a suitable school is arguably one of the most important.
All your questions will be answered in our International School Guide, which will arm you with crucial information on the steps involved in this exciting chapter for you and your child/ children. The key things to remember are; do your research, visit schools, and, most importantly, trust your instincts.”
Some top tips to consider:
- Start the search early as school places can fill up fast
- Understand the curriculum options and how they will impact your child’s learning in the long run
- Visit all the schools that you are interested in – this is the best way to get a feel for them
- Apply to at least three schools, its best to hedge your bets
- Bear in mind that what works for one family may not work for you
- Seek professional assistance to find the schools that best match your expectations and educational goals
In our International School Guide, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know about the education system in Portugal, including how to navigate the booming international school market in Portugal, maps of the international school locations across the country, and a complete list of these schools, from Braga in the north to the Algarve in the south.
List of International Schools in Portugal
Aljezur International School
Sítio de Ezenha, 8670-116 Aljezur - Algarve
11 to 18 years
€6,600 to €7,200
Rua dos Depósitos de Águas, 2750-561 - Cascais
3 to 18 years
€9,108 to €12,852
Barlavento International Primary School
Sitio Ferrel, 8600-109 Lagos - Algarve
3 to 11 years
Brave Generation Academy
Av. 25 de Abril, n.º 901 Cave, Esq. 2750-515 - Cascais
12 to 18 years
This school does not make their fees public.
Carlucci American International School of Lisbon
Rua António Dos Reis, n.º 95, 2710-301 - Sintra
3 to 19 years
€9,144 to €19,372
CIV – Vilamoura International School
Sitio das Quintinhas, Vilamoura 8125-911 - Loulé
3 to 18 years
€5,040 to €11,075
Why choose Portugal?
Cities like Lisbon and Porto combine old-world architecture, independent boutique shops, and a vibrant arts and culture scene with access to a multitude of outdoor activities. The energy is unpretentious, relaxed, and safe, with family festivals throughout the year. With this said, you’ll be able to find excellent international schools across the country.
Residence in Portugal can be obtained through a number of different methods. Among them is the highly popular Golden Visa program.
What can international schools in Portugal offer my child?
Choosing a school in a foreign country can be challenging for parents who want the best for their children’s future. On the positive side, education in Portugal is of a high standard, with plenty of reputable international schools to choose from.
Some families choose international schools because they focus on children becoming curious and collaborative individuals. Other international schools excel in STEM subjects or place an emphasis on arts and music. You’ll find several English-speaking schools in Portugal with a wide range of curricula.
Thinking about the future
It’s at school that children develop tools to conquer the rapidly changing job market. With high-quality public and private schools, renowned educational institutions can be found in abundance across the country.
How do I find the ideal school for my child?
The journey of choosing your child’s school can be stressful and exhausting. You will need to visit schools, talk to teachers and principals, read up on the school curriculum, and take into account your child’s abilities and personality to find the perfect match.
The choice can be made easier if you know where to start. To help you, the Global Citizen Solutions team in Portugal has launched their International School Guide, which will provide you with a complete list of schools in the country, plus a checklist with top tips.
The Number and Locations of International Schools in Portugal
Locations of International Schools in Lisbon Neighborhoods
International Schools in the Greater Lisbon Area
International Schools in the Algarve
International Schools in other regions of Portugal
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:
- The lowest grade, fail to pass
High schools are graded on a 20-point scale. You can see a comparison of the Portuguese and US grading systems below:
Grade in Portugal Grade in the USA Details 1 to 6 F Mau - Very poor 7 to 9 F Mau - Very poor 10 to 11 C Suficiente - Sufficient knowledge, the minimum passing grade 12 to 13 C Suficiente - satisfactory, but with many errors 14 to 15 B Bom - good, but some errors present 16 to 17 A Muito bom - very good, few errors 18 to 19 A+ Excelente - excellent 20 A+ Muito bom com distinção e louvor - very good with distinction and honours
Grade in Portugal
Grade in the USA
1 to 6
Mau - Very poor
7 to 9
Mau - Very poor
10 to 11
Suficiente - Sufficient knowledge, the minimum passing grade
12 to 13
Suficiente - satisfactory, but with many errors
14 to 15
Bom - good, but some errors present
16 to 17
Muito bom - very good, few errors
18 to 19
Excelente - excellent
Muito bom com distinção e louvor - very good with distinction and honours
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, whether in Porto, Lisbon, or the Algarve, will depend on the priorities chosen by the parents for the education of their child. You should also take into account your new location and your family’s lifestyle. The best international schools for you may be completely different from something else. This will just depend on what you are looking for.
Alongside international schools, you’ll also find private schools in Portugal that are taught in the Portuguese language. This can be an excellent option if you would like your child to be integrated into the Portuguese system. Do note, however, that while many of these schools provide extra Portuguese language teaching, the classes are taught in Portuguese, and, particularly if your child is older, they may struggle to keep up.
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.