5 Best International Schools in Portugal

Written By Lara Silva

With over 1 million immigrants living in Portugal, it is no surprise that Portugal is home to several high-quality international schools. From French, German, American, and British schools, finding an international school for your child comes with endless options. However, international schools are a lot more expensive than Portuguese private schools. Private international schools tend to cost anywhere between around €7,000 to almost €20,000 a year, depending on the school and your child’s grade. Portuguese private schools tend to cost anywhere between €400 and €500 per month, while public schools are completely free. If an international environment is best suitable for your child, we have selected the 5 best international schools in Portugal.

1. Deutsche Schule Lissabon – German School

Deutsche Schule Lissabon, also known as the German School is a private Portuguese and German-speaking school, one of the best schools in the country. Founded in 1848, the school is the second oldest German school in a foreign country. The school is divided into three parts, a Kindergarten and a Primary School in Lisbon and Estoril, as well as a secondary school in Telheiras, Lisbon. The school has a little over 1,000 students and a staff of 145 teachers and educators. Made up of 8 buildings, the primary school and social sciences have their own buildings. The school also has a library with around 12,000 books, 2 IT rooms, an auditorium, as well as a pool and terrace.

Around 80% of students are Portuguese and 20% are German. Learning both German and Portuguese is mandatory, but all students learn English starting in the third grade and French starting in the seventh grade. Students learn at least four languages throughout their school life at the German school.

The school is partially funded by the German Federal Republic, as well as by the tuition charged to parents.

German School Yearly Tuition Fees

The pre-enrolment fee costs €300 which will be refunded if the student is not admitted and the enrolment fee costs €550. Siblings of students get a discounted fee: 10% for the second child, 25% for the third child, 40% for the fourth child, and so on. The oldest child gets the largest discount, and the youngest does not get any. The yearly fees for the Kindergarten and Primary Education in Lisbon and Estoril include morning and afternoon snacks. The German School is one of the most affordable international schools in Portugal.

2. St Julian’s School

Established in 1932, St Julian’s is the largest British International School in Portugal with a strong record of academic achievements, serving the Portuguese and international community containing around 45 different nationalities. Located in Carcavelos, St Julian’s provides an international curriculum for students aged between 3 and 16 years old, based on the English National Curriculum. For those 17 and 18 years old, the school offers the International Baccalaureate (IB), a prestigious diploma. Along with an international curriculum, the school has a Portuguese section where children between the ages of 6 and 15 can access the Portuguese national curriculum, while still having some joint classes with international students, such as Art.

The school boasts incredible facilities such as an 18th-century palace housing the art and music department and the dining hall, as well as an assembly place, and a building opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1985 that houses the primary school. Along with other facilities, St Julian has some of the best school sports facilities in the country. These include outdoor tennis courts, volleyball and basketball courts, football and rugby pitches, a fitness room, as well as an indoor gymnasium.

St Julian’s School Yearly Tuition Fees

A one-time payment is made when a student enrolls at St. Julian’s which is non-refundable of €5,000. A registration fee for admission is also made when parents submit an application form to the Admissions Office of €1,000 which is also non-refundable. School lunch prices vary by age, but for a Year 13 student, this costs €896 a year. The school provides a sibling discount, where the third child gets a 15% discount and the subsequent siblings get a 25% discount. The oldest child is considered the first child to be enrolled and all children must be enrolled at the same time.

3. Carlucci American International School of Lisbon (CAISL)

Anthony McKenna founded a small American school in 1956 with only 9 students in an apartment in Pedrouços. With a passion for education, he planted the seed which would grow into the Carlucci American International School of Lisbon with over 700 students of 57 different nationalities. The curriculum includes an American collegial preparatory leading to the American High School Diploma with the option of pursuing the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) in the last two years of high school. Students who opt for the IB Diploma will also graduate with an American High School Diploma.

CAISL’s staff includes 98 full-time faculty members from all over the world, 69% of them being native English speakers. For the 2021-2022 academic year, 724 students represented 57 nationalities. 115 were American, 42 came from English-speaking countries such as the United Kingdom, and 185 were Portuguese. Over 30% had more than one nationality.

CAISL boasts high-quality facilities with a library media center with over 40,000 print items, fully equipped science laboratory classrooms, art, and music classrooms, a state-of-the-art 450-seat theater, cafeteria, and snack bar, 1400m2 covered gymnasium, as well as more than 10,000m2 of outdoor sports fields. There are computers in all classrooms, with 1 computer per student in grades 1 to 5 in the classroom, and one private laptop checked out for each student in grades 6 through 12.

CAISL is governed by the not-for-profit Fundação Escola Americana de Lisboa (FEAL).

CAISL School Yearly Tuition Fees

The registration fee is a one-time non-refundable payment of €500. A building fee is also mandatory and must be paid for the first five years a student is enrolled from Grades 1 to 12, used to support the school’s building expenses, costing €1,953 a year. The yearly fees do not include lunch, transportation, and after-school child care and activities. For EC3 to EC5, school lunches cost €736 a year and for grades 1 to 12, they cost €988 a year.

There are multiple discounts available for 2022-23. A 5% discount on tuition is provided if tuition is paid in full on or before June 15, 2022. A 5% discount on the building fee will also be provided for those who pay it in full on or before June 15, 2022, together with yearly tuition. Sibling discounts are also available, including a 15% discount on the tuition and building fee for a third child enrolled concurrently and a 25% discount on both for a fourth child (and any subsequent children) enrolled concurrently at CAISL. The sibling discounts are applied to the youngest children.

CAISL also offers financial assistance to some, having a small number of fee reductions granted annually for tuition. There must be evidence of financial need and the students must have been at CAISL for at least one year and must have positive academic and behavioral records.

4. Oporto British School

Founded in 1894, Oporto British School boasts a large Portuguese and international community, with the latter making up 48% of the school population of 540 students. The only International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) school in Northern Portugal, the school adopted the sixth form curriculum almost 30 years ago. Located in Foz do Douro, the school has around 600 students.

Oporto British School follows the British curriculum until the completion of the IGCSE, and then senior students follow the IB Diploma. Throughout their school life, students get to learn English, Portuguese, French, Spanish, and Mandarin. The average number of students per class is around 15, with 20 students being the maximum.

The sports facilities at the school are high-quality, including a sports hall with changing rooms and showers, an outdoor basketball court, a large grass area, and a football pitch. The school is divided into three houses: Braganca, Lancaster, and Windsor, representing the royal dynasties that have tied Portugal and British. The houses allow kids to have a sense of belonging and they are led by a Head of House, who coordinates the activities of tutors.

Oporto British School Yearly Tuition Fees

A non-refundable fee registration fee costs €150 and this fee does not guarantee a place. An acceptance fee that must be paid within two weeks of a student receiving an offer costs €450. Parents must also pay a refundable deposit equal to a one-term fee that is payable before admission. This fee varies and will be returned when the student leaves, provided a one term’s notice is given in writing or if the student graduates.

A capital and maintenance charge is also paid every year at the beginning of each academic year which costs €500. Insurance is charged annually at €40 for injuries. Examination fees are also charged for IGCSE and IBDP. School lunches are priced at €4.60 per meal in Primary and €5.70 per meal in Secondary, to be paid monthly.

Parents with more than two children in the school get a discount of 25% for the third child and a 50% discount for the fourth child. A 50% discount applies to any additional children.

5. King’s College School Cascais

Located in Cascais, King’s College School opens in September 2022 and is already making waves as an international school to look out for. Although it is the first of its kind in Portugal, King’s College has a 50-year history of delivering premium education internationally. Students will enjoy a curriculum based on the renowned Cambridge International Primary and Secondary curriculum, offering IGCSEs, and the IB Diploma for the older pupils. The school also offers a bilingual program up to Year 7, to ensure that students know Portuguese and English fluently.

An existing campus in Cascais will welcome students from the age of 1 to 13, expanding in 2023-24 to nearly 40,000 m2. The new campus will have the highest quality modern spaces, including sports facilities for student-athletes and a Boarding House for up to 50 students from 13 to 18 years old. The facilities include two gymnasiums, football, and rugby pitches, tennis and padel courts, a swimming pool, as well as performing arts rooms. There will also be science labs, a large hall, an auditorium, and many green spaces.

Run by Inspired, one of the world’s largest and most innovative education groups with over 70 premium schools on 5 continents, the group has provided education to over 55,000 students globally. They run a holistic curriculum focused on three pillars: Academics, Sport, and Creative & Performing Acts to ensure students become well-rounded individuals. Over 90% of Inspired students go on to attend their first-choice university.

King’s College School Yearly Tuition Fees

Founding students, enrolling in September of 2022, will benefit from a 25% discount on the 2022-23 yearly tuition fees. There is a one-time matriculation payment when enrolling a student of €2,000 for students in Early Years 1 to Year 7 and €5,000 for students in Year 8 and above. The application process also has a cost of €500. Uniform and extracurricular activities are not included in the yearly fee.

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