International Schools in the Algarve What are the Options?
If you are a family thinking of moving to the Algarve one of the most important criteria on your list of prerequisites may be finding an International School for the children.
The Language Barrier
Bearing in mind that Portuguese schools are free but pupils are expected to speak the native language which can be a barrier for most kids.
In International Schools, the first language is English with Portuguese taught as the second language. However, as with all things good, there is a price to pay.
The cost varies from school to school but if you can afford the fees it is a great option and comes without the difficulty of the language barrier.
Although some would argue it is far better to throw them in the deep end in thinking that they will learn the language much quicker.
Learning in English
I guess this is true but for some parents, this would not be an option, especially if their child is older and in the final years of learning. To change over at this stage would be almost impossible and you may even find your child being dropped down a year to cope with the work at the same time as learning Portuguese.
You need to take into consideration that the move itself will cause your children some concern. We all know what it is like to have to uproot and settle in a new location. Leaving family and friends behind can be somewhat stressful for even the most hardened folk.
The Lifestyle outways the Stress!
One thing I would say is the benefit a move brings far outweighs the mini trauma of moving for both parent and child. The lifestyle in the Algarve is so rewarding you will soon forget about the stress of moving and the dreary life you lead back in the UK.
No more constant grey skies or grey people, the same folk doing the same thing day in and day out! Life is just so much more relaxed. Sure it rains sometimes and it can get a little chilly at night but with 300 days of sunshine guaranteed per year you soon appreciate the difference
The weather is just so much better it really does light up one’s life. The kids can play outside all year round instead of being stuck indoors watching the TV or playing video games.
School First – Property Later?
No matter what your decision I can tell you from personal experience that most schools in the Algarve, both International and public are a great place for your children to learn.
One piece of advice I would give for those with children, if like me you want to keep school runs to a minimum, is to find the school first and then look for an Algarve property to buy rather than the other way around. It would be a good idea to rent in the first instance to get to know the area and spend time looking for your ideal home.
Plenty of English kids in Public Schools!
Getting back to the schooling options in the Algarve, sure the public schools throw your kids onto a totally different learning curve but if they are young enough they will pick up the language very quickly.
You will also find that there are many other foreign children attending these schools, so there is always someone to help and make friends with the same language.
How much do International Schools Cost?
However, if your preference is for your child to attend an International School then there are plenty of options on offer at varying costs. You can expect to pay between €450 to €1,200 per month depending on your Child’s age.
One huge bonus with the International schools, bar one or two of the larger ones, is the class sizes are much less than the public schools. So if this is something you feel your child will benefit from then this would be the way to go.
The Definitive List of Algarve International Schools
Below are the 14 Algarve International Schools on offer at the present moment. As a parent myself I can recommend the Algarve International School – AIS in Almancil.
- The Algarve International School-AIS
- Aljezur International School Algarve*
- Barlavento International Primary School
- Brave Generation Academy-BGA
- Colégio Bernadete Romeira-CBR
- Colégio Internacional de Vilamoura-CIV
- Colégio Santiago Internacional-CSI
- Eden Montessori International School
- Escola Alemã do Algarve (Deutsche Schule Algarve-DSA)
- Eupheus International School
- Nautiluz Education Hub
- Nobel International School Lagoa Algarve
- Nobel International School Almancil Algarve
- Vale Verde International School-VVIS
Please note as of August 2022 the Aljezur International School has been hit by an unexpected closure notice and a fight is now on to save the school.