Italy is renowned for its rich history, culture, and education system. The Italian educational system is structured in a way that ensures every child has access to education. It is compulsory for children aged 6 to 16, and it is divided into several stages. This guide aims to provide expats with a comprehensive understanding of the Italian educational system, including the main stages of education, enrollment procedures, language requirements, availability of bilingual schools, types of private schools, homeschooling and online schooling options, and costs associated with private education.
What are the main stages of education in Italy?
The Italian education system is divided into five main stages: Scuola dell’Infanzia (Kindergarten), Scuola Primaria (Primary School), Scuola Secondaria di Primo Grado (Lower Secondary School), Scuola Secondaria di Secondo Grado (Upper Secondary School), and Higher Education (University). Each stage has a specific focus and caters to different age groups.
Scuola dell’Infanzia (Kindergarten)
Scuola dell’Infanzia, also known as Kindergarten, is for children aged 3 to 6. This stage is not compulsory but is highly recommended. It focuses on the social development of the child and introduces them to basic educational activities.
Scuola Primaria (Primary School)
Scuola Primaria, or Primary School, is for children aged 6 to 11. It is the first compulsory stage of education in Italy. The curriculum includes Italian, English, mathematics, history, geography, science, technology, music, art, and physical education.
Scuola Secondaria di Primo Grado (Lower Secondary School)
Scuola Secondaria di Primo Grado, or Lower Secondary School, is for students aged 11 to 14. It builds on the foundation laid in primary school and prepares students for upper secondary school. The curriculum is more subject-focused and includes two foreign languages.
Scuola Secondaria di Secondo Grado (Upper Secondary School)
Scuola Secondaria di Secondo Grado, or Upper Secondary School, is for students aged 14 to 19. It offers a variety of academic and vocational courses. Students can choose from a range of schools, including Liceo (academic), Istituto Tecnico (technical), and Istituto Professionale (vocational).
How does a newcomer from a different country enroll their kids in school?
To enroll a child in an Italian school, parents or guardians must provide a birth certificate, proof of residence, and a health certificate. For non-EU citizens, a valid residence permit is also required. It’s advisable to contact the chosen school directly for specific enrollment procedures as they may vary.
Can children still learning Italian enroll in a public school?
Yes, children who are still learning Italian can enroll in public schools. Italian schools are inclusive and provide Italian language support for non-native speakers. However, the level of support may vary from school to school.
Are there public bilingual schools?
Yes, there are public bilingual schools in Italy, particularly in larger cities. These schools offer instruction in both Italian and a second language, often English. Admission procedures vary, so it’s best to contact the school directly for information.
What types of private schools are common in Italy?
Private schools in Italy include Catholic schools, international schools, and bilingual schools. International schools often follow the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum or the curriculum of a specific country, and they typically teach in English. Bilingual schools offer instruction in both Italian and a second language.
Do expats typically send their children to public or private school?
Expats in Italy choose both public and private schools for their children, depending on their specific needs and circumstances. Some prefer public schools for their children to learn Italian and integrate into the local culture, while others prefer international or bilingual private schools for continuity in their children’s education.
How expensive are Private schools in Italy?
Private school fees in Italy can vary widely, depending on the type of school and the location. International schools are generally the most expensive, with annual fees ranging from €6,000 to €20,000. Catholic and other private schools are usually less expensive.
Are you allowed to homeschool while living in Italy?
Yes, homeschooling is legal in Italy. Parents or guardians who choose to homeschool must follow the national curriculum and have their children take the same exams as public school students.
May kids attend online school instead of a local school while living in Italy?
Yes, online schooling is an option in Italy. However, it’s important to ensure that the online school is recognized by the Italian Ministry of Education. Parents or guardians should also consider the social aspect of education, which online schooling may not fully provide.