Aller au contenu



There are two schools in Portugal that are dependent on the French Ministry of Education. The first one in Lisbon and the second one in Porto. These two schools are very popular with French and Portuguese descendants for about 3 years.

Today these two schools have no more free places for newcomers, the French high school Charles-Lepierre in Lisbon has been on the waiting list for about two years. Porto is also on the waiting list for this school year.

As a result of this new problem, many French people decide to send their children to the Portuguese school system for two reasons, the first is as mentioned above the lack of space and the second is the financial cost of these two schools. For example, a year at the French high school in Porto for a child in middle school costs 5100,00 €.

Our article aims to inform you about the Portuguese school system. But also, to present you the different possibilities which are offered to you as French speakers for the schooling of your children.

The Portuguese education system

In Portugal, education is compulsory from 6 years and ends when the student reaches his/her 18 years old in 12e year of schooling (12.º year of schooling).

The Portuguese education system is divided into three main parts: 

  • gardens of infância (kindergarten)
  • Basic training (so-called "basic" education), 
  • Ensino secundário (secondary education),
  •  Ensino superior (higher education).
Portuguese school systemPortuguese education system
Organization of the Portuguese education system

the gardens of infância

the "gardens of infância are the kindergartens and are intended for children from 3 to 5 years old. For the search of "creches" and "gardens da infância", this site will provide you with a list of facilities near your home.

Basic education

The 1er ciclo ensino básicoThis program is equivalent to the first four years of primary school in France, from CP to CM1, for children aged 6 to 9. 

The 2ème and 3ème ciclo ensino básicoThis is the equivalent of junior high school, but lasts 5 years and starts at the equivalent of the French CM2. At the end of these 5 years, students take a certificate of studies (the equivalent of the "brevet des collèges").

Secondary education

The secondary school corresponds to the high school. This cycle lasts 3 years and at the end of it, students take the "Diploma de Ensino Secundário" exam, which corresponds to the Baccalaureate. Upon entering the "decimo ano" (the equivalent of the second year), the student must choose between a general course (scientific, economic or literary), a professional course (which can be followed in apprenticeship or alternation) and an artistic stream (available only in certain high schools).


With degrees similar to those in France: Bachelor, Master and Doctorate. There are two distinct systems of higher education in Portugal: the university system and the polytechnic system.

Portuguese schools

As you can see, the Portuguese school system is very different from the French one. You will see that the schools also function in a different way.

Public schoolsIf you live in the neighborhood, you will be given priority. Nevertheless, especially in the 2nd and 3rd cycle schools (middle school), it is possible to be accepted even if you do not live in the neighborhood.

Private schools, you choose the one that you want and that fits in your budget (the cost of schooling is similar or even higher than that practiced by the two schools French).

In public and private Portuguese schools, classes are taught in Portuguese. In addition, it is important to know that for foreigners, Portuguese schools offer hours of Portuguese language classes "Português Língua Não Materna" so that the "foreign" child assimilates the language more quickly. French-speaking children will take a different Portuguese test from their Portuguese peers in the 9th grade and 12th grade.

The school rhythm in Portuguese schools

This is very similar to the one practiced in France with the school years from kindergarten to high school starting in September and ending in June and the university years starting in October and ending in May. As for the hourly load, it is between 23 and 27 hours per week depending on the age of the students.  

Concerning the school vacations, it is a little different. There are no vacations on All Saints' Day and no winter vacations, but the summer vacations are longer and in February there are 4 days (including weekends) for the Carnival. In the eyes of your children, this will be the biggest difference between the Portuguese and French school systems.

The cost of the Portuguese schools

In the public sector, you have few expenses to foresee, but it is important to know that books, unlike in France, are not free of charge until the "cinco ano" (the French CM2). It is therefore necessary to count about 250 euros of books for the school year. This is one of the particularities of the Portuguese educational system.

The canteen costs about 1.50 euro per day. In private schools in Portugal, the costs vary depending on the school selected, it is necessary to count between 350 and 550 euros per month all included and the registration fee (between 150 and 350 euros).

The Portuguese school system has many differences with the French educational system, the school rhythm is also different and the private or public national or international schools have a cost. It is therefore essential that you take these elements into account before moving to Portugal.

However, don't worry, your children have a natural ability to adapt that we adults do not have, they will have no problem adapting to the Portuguese educational system.

VAP Consulting

Our advisors are at your disposal

Hello and welcome to VAP Consulting. Our team is at your disposal to answer any questions you may have.

Powered by WpChatPlugins