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Expats take their children to international schools for good reason. Here are some of the top international schools in central Portugal.

Last Updated on November 15, 2023 by Maryam Siddiqui

For a majority of the expats moving to Portugal, some regions like the Algarve or Lisbon happen to be a common favorite. However, the few that have discovered the wonder of the central region of Portugal have a lot of great things to say about living here with their families. Fortunately, there are enough international schools in central Portugal where your children can get top-tier education too. 


What’s more, life away from the city is generally slow-paced. Hence it is ideal for raising a family or living your golden years peacefully. Getting a good education for your kids is paramount for those thinking of moving with family to this charming region in Portugal. 

However, it is worth mentioning that other regions in Portugal, for instance, the Algarve and Lisbon have more international school options. So, in an effort to help you find the right school for your kids, here is a detailed review of some of the best international schools in central Portugal.

What are the best international schools in central Portugal?

Again, as mentioned earlier, there are not many international schools but the few available guarantee quality education for your school-going children. Here are our top three picks of the best international schools in this region of Portugal.

  • Colégio Luso-Internacional de Centro (Leiria)
  • Colégio de São José (Coimbra)
  • St. Paul’s School (Coimbra)

There are plenty of reasons why expats prefer international schools to local public schools, and the major reason is the curriculum and language of instruction. While this is important, extracurricular activities also play an essential role in the growth and development of the child. 

Having said that, before settling on any school, do your due diligence beforehand. This will go a long way in ensuring your child gets the right school to advance their development on all fronts.

International schools in Central Portugal

Quality education can be found in regions other than Lisbon or the Algarve. The international schools in central Portugal are well equipped with qualified staff and state-of-the-art resource centers where your child will get the most out of modern-day education. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best international schools in central Portugal.

Colégio Luso-Internacional de Centro (Leiria)

Located in Leiria, the Colégio Luso-Internacional de Centro is among the best international schools in the central region of Portugal. This particular school operates on the mantra of providing education through different challenges that encourage learners to think. 

Besides pure academia, this school is also concerned with providing children with ideal values like concern for others and a sense of personal drive and achievement. It is worth mentioning that CLIC students wear a school uniform that creates a sense of identity and also fosters discipline in young minds.

  • Curriculum: British and Portuguese
  • Language of Instruction: English
  • Tuition Fee (per annum): between €4,460 to €7,065
  • Other available languages: French and Mandarin
  • Age range: 3 to 18 years
  • Extra Curricular: Arts Club, Ballet, Dance club, Computer club, and Piano

Colégio de São José (Coimbra)

Another great international school option in this region is Colégio de São José, located in Coimbra. If you are looking for a school with a Christian religious foundation, this particular school is a good option. 

The Colégio de São José tries to provide an education system that helps solve today’s problems based on ethical-evangelical values. This school’s education system is geared toward building education for the holistic growth of children in all its dimensions.

  • Curriculum: Available upon request
  • Language of Instruction: English
  • Age range: 3 to 18 years
  • Extra Curricular: Sports e.g., swimming

St. Paul’s School (Coimbra)

St. Paul’s School is your best option if you are looking for a school that strives to build creative and self-reliant students. The fundamental curriculum of this school is rooted in the idea of creating solutions in response to the needs of society. 

Besides achieving academic excellence, the education model in St. Paul’s School also aims to foster attitudes, practices, and principles that help model the learners into responsible members of society. With the cosmopolitan spirit of the school, English is the main language of instruction.

  • Curriculum: British
  • Language of Instruction: English
  • Other available languages: Spanish, German, and Latin
  • Age range: 3 to 18 years
  • Extra Curricular: Art and Social clubs

When does the school year start in central Portugal?

Generally, most academic years in Portugal begin in September through mid-June. However, it is also important to mention that the school calendar differs from one region to the other. 

You must also remember that international schools in central Portugal and other regions often have a different school calendar than public institutions. There are several common breaks in between the school calendar that also apply to international schools, including:

  • Carnival break between late February and early March
  • Summer break, taken between June and September
  • Easter break in April
  • Christmas break in December

Other than the breaks listed above, other national or regional holidays also give children a break from school for not more than a day. To get yourself up to speed with such holidays, be sure to check the school events calendar, which can be found on the website or on campus. 

During the major holidays like summer or Christmas break, there are a lot of fun activities that you can engage with your family in central Portugal, like visiting one of Portugal’s cultural treasures, the Monastery of Batalha.

Why choose these schools over the Portuguese public system?

The Portuguese public education system is among the best in producing brilliant individuals fit for society. However, it is also worth mentioning that for foreign nationals, enrolling children in public schools comes with a few challenges that might get in the way of the academic progression of your children. One of the significant challenges is the language barrier.

Understandably, since the national language in Portugal is Portuguese, it goes without saying that the primary language of instruction is the same. This causes an inherent difficulty for the children to fit in. 

Also, Portuguese is a relatively tough language to learn, so it will take a lot of time for your children to master, write, and speak fluently. On the flip side, though, international schools predominantly use English as the language of instruction. 

So enrolling your children in schools that feel familiar with their previous ones will not cause a major interruption in their academic progression. Also, international schools emphasize extracurricular activities that build the child holistically. Remember, these activities are as important for your children as other academic learnings!

What about pursuing higher education in central Portugal?

Central Portugal is an excellent place to pursue your higher education. Three major universities in this region offer specialization in different disciplines. They include the University of Coimbra, the University of Aveiro, and the University of Beira Interior


Other than universities, central Portugal is home to different colleges and polytechnic institutions besides universities. For instance, the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria and the Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra

Although Portugal is popular as a tourist attraction, many students from all over the globe also seek higher education in Portuguese Universities and other institutions of higher learning. The main reasons why many foreign nationals pursue higher education in Portugal are good quality of education and relatively lower tuition fees of about €2,000 to €10,000 per annum.

Do you need help bringing your family to central Portugal?

If you are considering relocating to the central region, education shouldn’t be a problem; there are good international schools in central Portugal that can be relied upon to deliver quality education. The same is also true when it comes to institutions of higher learning.

So, do you need help bringing your family to central Portugal? Our qualified team of immigration professionals is more than willing to lend you a hand. Contact us today, and let’s help get your family to this beautiful sunny country.

Be sure also to join our Facebook Group – All About Portugal, For Expats who have been through the process before you. First-hand experiences are an excellent way to guide you!



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