Have you found your forever home in Portugal? Read this article to discover the best International Schools in Porto for your children!

Last Updated on April 16, 2024 by Prince

You’re about to make one of the best decisions of your life! Studying at famous European educational institutions polishes up young minds like no other. It’s one of the many reasons expats decide to enroll their children in the best International Schools in Porto. 

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Portugal’s second-largest city, Porto, is home to 230,000 inhabitants, of which more than 18,000 are expats. This number includes many families who found a better quality of life than in their home country. All this is possible because of Porto’s attractive business and educational facilities.

There’s no doubt that enrolling your children in a new school is a very daunting task, especially if they’re older. However, we’re here to help you secure your children’s future and allow them to explore their limitless potential. Keep reading to know every useful detail!

What are the best international schools in Porto?

Porto comes second in line to Lisbon regarding infrastructural developments and resources for the residents. A city with many attractions for foreigners and a strong showcasing of rich Portuense heritage, Porto’s community is growing.

When the community continues to grow, so do the country’s facilities. For this reason, the city’s educational facilities are accommodating more international students every academic year. The primary curriculums offered at this point are British, French, German, and the International Baccalaureate. 

Check out the top 4 International Schools in Porto that expats love: 

  1. Lycée Français International Porto
  2. The Oporto British School
  3. CLIP Oporto International School
  4. German School of Oporto

These come in the top 4 due to their focus on academic excellence, extra-curricular activities, and character development. It’s important to mention that this ranking is in no particular order, and we believe these institutions are equally great. 

With that being said, let’s focus on each institution individually (fee details updated as of September 2023) and tell you a bit more about their systems. Keep reading till the end to know whether they’re as good as the Portuguese public schools and what approach expats prefer more.

Lycée Français International Porto

Located next to the Serralves Museum, in the heart of the city, Lycée Français International is a French International School. The Lycée Français International aims to empower students to build their own personal journeys. 

Their approach includes activities such as observation, manipulation, creation, research, and exchange that involve and empower the students. It’s an excellent choice for our French expats living in Porto. 

The LFIP is also one of the most well-known members of the AEFE (Agency for French Education Abroad). Renowned for its highly trained staff and academic excellence, it’s an institution you should definitely look into.

  • Ages: 3 to 18 years 
  • Curriculum: French National Curriculum
  • Tuition Fee (per annum): €4,771 to €5,801

The Oporto British School

Founded in 1894, the Oporto British School carries pride in educating generations after generations of the same families for decades. With an aim to instill courage, leadership, tolerance, and respect in young pupils, the institution does exceptionally well at grooming responsible citizens. 

The Oporto British School has two modes of teaching: the International Baccalaureate (IB) and the National Curriculum for England. It’s located in the community of Foz do Douro, a beautiful place within the city that lets children enjoy the beauty of Portugal.

Their co-curricular activities aren’t limited to sports and arts but also drama, music, and science. The Oporto British School has partnered with many different organizations to make activities and training even more worthwhile. If your child is interested in and has a knack for music, this is a great place to explore.

  • Ages: 3 to 18 years 
  • Curriculum: International Baccalaureate (IB) and National Curriculum for England
  • Tuition Fee (per annum): €8,735 to €14,585
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CLIP Oporto International School

Established in 1986, the CLIP Oporto International School is the second International School in Porto that teaches the National Curriculum for England. Their guiding principles are based on nurturing open-minded and creative individuals to transform them into extraordinary adolescents. 

This institution also bases most of its learnings on the High-Quality Learning (HQL) approach, allowing students to continuously improve and deepen their understanding. It’s a place where achievements are celebrated, learning is encouraged, and versatile intellectual competence is fostered.

Educational Psychology and counseling are a part of CLIP Oporto International School to ensure that students are cared for physically, socially, and emotionally. As for the extracurriculars, the institution focuses on sports leagues, fine & performing arts, and Model United Nations to enhance learning experiences. 

  • Ages: 3 to 18 years
  • Curriculum: National Curriculum for England
  • Tuition Fee (per annum): €7,988 to €12,692

German School of Oporto

The German School of Oporto is known as a meeting school, representing that different nationalities come together and dive into the inclusivity of other cultures and communities. It’s the only German-Portuguese school in Porto and follows the mandatory Portuguese curriculum to make adaptation easier later on.

A primary goal for the institution is to promote the joy of achievement and encourage linguistic and scientific knowledge. Since the school establishes a close relationship between two cultures, they value open-mindedness, tolerance, and worldview in intercultural relations.

This institution also offers exchanges with German schools and class trips to German-speaking countries. Apart from being a go-to for expats from Germany, other expats also pick this school to broaden their children’s horizons. The extra-curricular activities mainly include sports, theatre, choir, etc.

  • Ages: 3 to 18 years
  • Curriculum: German
  • Tuition Fee (per annum): €4,645 to €5,290

When does the school year start in Portugal?

The academic year officially starts from early September until mid-June for most International Schools in Porto. Therefore, summer break is usually from June to the end of August, just in time for the best summer activities for people of all ages! 

Throughout the academic year, students get four breaks on different occasions, as listed below: 

  • Summer break – June to September
  • Christmas holidays – Two weeks in December
  • Easter holidays – Two weeks in April 
  • Mardi Gras Carnival – Few days off in February/March 

The school year is divided into three terms. The first term is from September to December, after which students get two weeks off for Christmas and New Year. The second term starts after they’re back from their break, from January till two weeks before Easter. The last term starts right after Easter, from the end of April till mid-June.

During these breaks, expats and locals like to engage their children in recreational activities, and there’s much that you can do. Summer camps like Unicamp Porto and other productive workshops are excellent ways for your children to explore their new life in Portugal.

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  • Summer In Portugal is the most wonderful time of the year! Thousands of tourists fly from various countries to enjoy the unique activities you can only find in our beautiful country. Your children are surely in for an exciting summer vacation!

Why choose these schools over the Portuguese public system?

The decision to choose between the Portuguese public schooling system and the International Schools in Porto depends on various factors. First, you should know the major difference between these systems is the language of instruction.

Here are some reasons you should consider before making your final decision:

  1. Language barriers
  2. More facilities and extra-curricular activities
  3. Adaptability mid-way in education

Public schooling is in Portuguese. For expats with older children, adjusting to this new language and adapting to an entirely new country becomes quite a hassle. For some, it’s doable because they take extra learning classes alongside. 

However, language barriers can make it harder for your family to feel at home in a new environment. This change could seem overwhelming, especially if your children are in the middle of their schooling. 

Other than the language barriers, the presence of better facilities and extra-curricular activities exist profoundly in private schools. From our list of recommendations, you’ll find that all the International Schools in Porto have very comprehensive curriculums.

Public schooling can sometimes lack adequate funding, as in many countries. This hinders their ability to provide students with better experiences, such as extra-curricular and up-to-date facilities. This doesn’t mean they’re horrible institutions, but the standards are undeniably higher at International Schools.

The Portuguese public system isn’t a bad option; your child may also flourish in a public school. Expat children from Britain, France, and the US have adapted quite well over the years. 

Do expats prefer International Schools in Porto?

Most expats do indeed tend to lean more towards International Schools in Porto. The reason for this decision is based on three main factors:

  • Education is in English
  • International Curriculum
  • Connection to multicultural families

As mentioned above, schooling in public institutions is in Portuguese, and it’s not easy for children to learn a language so soon. If your child is older, it’s even more challenging. So expats whose children are older prefer International Schools. 

For younger minds, learning a new language is much easier if they’re living in the country indefinitely. Expats who relocate with long-term plans in Portugal prefer to enroll their children in public schools for this purpose.

Another reason why expats prefer International Schools in Porto is because they have International curriculums. So, technically, your children can pick up right where they left off from. This assures a much smoother adjustment journey.

Lastly, while there’s a growing expat community within Portugal, finding communities you’re used to can be challenging in public schools. International Schools in Porto have multicultural families with similar stories. Hence, they give your children a platform where they can relate to others’ stories and share the same experiences.

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What about pursuing higher education in Porto?

Apart from the International Schools in Porto, the country’s higher education institutions attract hundreds of international students looking for quality education. Pursuing higher education in Porto is a lot easier if your child has studied here for a few years prior, but starting directly from higher education is also possible!

Undergraduate programs in Porto universities last around three years. The most prestigious disciplines are Business Management, Finance, Architecture & Urban Planning, Public Health & Pharmacy, Data Science, Fine Arts, Engineering, and Law.

The tuition fee for most institutes ranges from €2,000 to €10,000 per annum. We have some great news! Portugal is one country that offers scholarships for international students; some are even fully funded!

As you can tell, pursuing higher education in Porto is an excellent decision that numerous international students make every year. We’ve made a list to help you narrow down your options in case you want to plan for your child’s long-term future.

Here are some of the best universities in Porto:

Checking out our article on the Best Universities in Portugal might be worth your while if you’re interested in pursuing higher education here. We’ve listed the top universities countrywide, discussed visas, and the cost of living as a student in Portugal. 

Do you need help bringing your family to Porto?

Now that you know some top preferences, picking your favorite is easier. Still don’t know which one is the right option? We’ve got you covered! Viv Europe has helped numerous expat families relocate and settle down in Portugal. Finding the perfect International School in Porto for your children is easier than you think.

If you’d like to consult other expat parents living in Porto, join our Facebook Group – All About Portugal For Expats. Read stories, ask questions, and start planning your relocation.

And remember, we’re always here to help you every step of the way. Starting from applying for your Visa to enrolling your child in the perfect International School for them. Contact Viv Europe now and turn your dream into a reality!

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