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Winter rentals and schools advice needed.
We're a family of 4 planning to come to Portugal in September/October.
We are determined to rent a house in a rural area and enrol our daughter (10) in a local school straight away (she's missed a lot of socialising through COVID, and also we want to make sure she's exposed to Portuguese as much as possible).
We don't speak the language (will learn though!), my partner is a remote software engineer, and I believe we're an adaptable and not overly demanding family 🙂.
The advice I'm after is mostly regarding house search - I've been on Idealista and a few others and they don't seem to have a lot of rural properties on. I've also found a Pure Portugal site which is exactly what we want (a lot of farms, small remote cottages, and mostly quite affordable too). Do you know if there are any websites dedicated to winter let's and remote areas?
We're not too fussy about the region,perhaps the North would be our least favourite.
Could you also advice me on the process of registering children in school? I'll find all the necessary information, but from personal experience - is it an easy process, or a lengthy one? A lot of paperwork required?
All advice will be hugely appreciated!
Thanks for your questions.
Pure Portugal has a special rentals website - you can find them here:
Enrolling your kids into local schools is very easy. When I did it for my girls, I just turned up at the school and in my limited Portuguese asked where the office was.
I needed to take passports and ID and fill in some forms. If you have any Portuguese friends who could help you it may help with the paperwork.
Same here re school. We arrived in Portugal on the Wednesday, visited the local 'primary' school (which had 20 students in total!) on the Friday to ask what we needed to do (our children were then 5 and 6 years old). They sent us to the 'secondary school' as that was the central registration point, we registered them - just a few standard documents (one of which was their proof of temporary residence), and on the Monday they were picked up by the local school bus and started school!
As your daughter is 10 - which is the age they start second school here - they might suggest one of two things:
1. She starts at secondary school straight away and has apoio (help) with the language
2. She drops back a year, so does her first year in Portugal as her last year in 'primary' school here and uses this year to learn the language, build friends and confidence etc while being introduced and familiarising herself with the Portugese Curriculum. before moving up to second school next September. Please note there is no stigma with going back a year over here.
Many, many students do it - especially expat children, for this very reason. For our two, the youngest went direct to kindergarten, so was in the 'correct' class for his age, but our daughter went into the year group below her academic age. For her it was definitely the right decision as the school work was easy so she could just focus on the language and making friends (and I do believe it actually made school easier the following year as she had nailed the language by then), but you should be guided by what you feel is right for your daughter.
Additionally, be prepared to buy EVERYTHING for school! That was our first surprise (which may vary from school to school). For our area you have to buy every text book, work book, pen, pencil paper, paint, materials your child will need for class. For the text books and work books alone it is at least 100.00 per child.
I am a full time remote worker over here (as is my husband) which is a definite advantage as you will sometimes get very short notice to come and collect them if the class is going to finish early, or not happen at all! And, as there are no half terms here, be prepared for what seems like random holidays in the middle of the week - oh, and of course the VERY long summer break! 🙂
We've been here for almost 7 years and they are both really happy at school. They even managed to maintain full schooling via Zoom during lockdown.
Hope that helps!