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International Schools near Cascais
I currently live in Brighton England with my Partner Paul and my daughter (12) Issy. We really want to move to Portugal within the next couple of months and there seems to be an overwhelming amount to organise! All very exciting but, I feel I could do with some guidance. My daughter is slightly nervous about moving to a new country where she doesn’t know anyone and obviously starting a new school. I’d like some advice on the schools in this area ands also if their are people on here with children of a similar age. I keen to try to get to know a few people and get her school sorted asap. Thank you in advance!
Welcome to the forum. I live in Sintra and have two daughters aged 10 and 12. We are from Australia.
There are many great International Schools in Oeiras to Cascais area. We tried to get our girls into the International school system but they were all full or able to take one but not the other. In the end, we settled on a private Portuguese school which we are very happy with.
Unless you are Madonna's son and get to jump the 200+ queue to get into St Julians, then you may have to call around and see which one have vacancies. Having said that, I have also heard that many schools have had a huge decrease in students due to the crisis so you may be lucky.
Are you definitely settling in Cascais? And not too sure if you have checked out the fees for International Schools - they are very expensive.
Schools to consider would be:
- St Julians
- St Dominics
- Park International School
- Oeiras International school
Happy to share more knowledge with you and even meet up when you get here - may help ease your daughter's concerns knowing she may have "potential" friends before she gets here.
If you are locating permanently my advice would be to send your child to Public School. When we first came to Portugal because we were worried about language barriers and the kids settling in we sent them to a Private School in Tavira. Total waste of money for a variety of reasons, least of all they learnt nothing. Since moving them to Public School they have blossomed.
I agree with @paulcresswell.
If you are going to stay in Portugal, consider a Portuguese public or private school. As mentioned earlier in this thread, my girls both go to a Portuguese private school and have English lessons 3-4 times a week.
If you aren't planning to stay in Portugal, then an International School where they can "continue" when moving to another country is probably a better choice.
I have expat friends living in Cascais and sending their kids to St Dominics and they comment that they don't feel like they are part of the Portuguese community and never meet anyone Portuguese. I also have Portuguese friends sending their kids to St Julians and their kids barely speak any Portuguese.
The biggest difficulty for me personally is when my girls bring homework home and it is in Portuguese, I can't really help 🙁
hi. Just a quick question, did your daughters speak any portuguese before attending the Portuguese Private School? Does anyone speak Portuguese at home that can assist with homework? Although I believe full immersion is the best way to learn a language, in a school scenario, at least for the first year, I would think children may fall behind academically. We are also looking for a school in the Sintra/Cascais area for our 12 1/2 yr old son and are feeling a bit overwhelmed by both the different choices as well as the prices! Ouch!
@flygirl1234 my eldest daughter had the Portuguese language already but my youngest didn't. So at their school, they have special classes for kids who need extra attention. They aren't thrown into a "regular" Portuguese class - they have small group per year level with help by qualified teachers. It has helped a lot.
My husband is Portuguese but is away a lot for his work so, in relation to homework help, we sometimes get a tutor in or they get help from their aunty.
Our school has a lot of international students now as it is ranked 25th in the country and 1st in Sinta area. Kids from China, France, Germany and us (Australia). It doesn't really have a lot of other English kids there which I am surprised, but maybe because the location isn't in a popular spot for expats. But they do have a bus system in place for picking kids up and dropping off to areas all over Greater Lisbon.
There is a huge difference in prices between International and Portuguese Private.
We are planning a webinar next week with Chitra Stern from the new United Lisbon Internationals School which you may be interested in listening too. Information will be posted on the site soon.
Hope this helps.
Astrid, thanks for the info. Your school sounds great. Can I ask the name?
I prefer the Sintra area (even a bit further out as we’ve found a house we like @10mins north). Don’t think Cascais is for us really. We don’t tend to cling to expat communities & really would prefer to fit in as much as possible with locals. We plan on being in PT for the long haul-definitely as long as our son is in school-after that, we’re at retirement age so possibly we’ll go elsewhere (somewhere different in PT or even another location in the EU). None the less, we all plan on learning Portuguese and integrating as much as possible. Just not sure if basic language skills will be enough for him to get by with at the start. He’s already been kept behind a year because of his struggle with keeping up in a foreign language at school here in The Netherlands. We took him out of the local Dutch school after 3 yrs because the teachers never worked with myself nor his tutor who were both capable of helping but never knew there was an issue until it was too late. By the time he was in an International School, although he spoke English, he couldn’t read or write it as we had been concentrating on Dutch. 8 yrs on & he’s finally at his age level in all subjects. Poor kid, his education has been an uphill struggle from the start. Thank goodness he rolls with the punches. 🙂🥊
Thanks for any additional info you could offer and I will keep my eyes peeled for that webinar next week.
@flygirl1234 my girls go to Colegio Vasco da Gama.
Sounds like an International school would be the easiest for your son. I can imagine it would be very difficult for him otherwise. I think the Spanish, German and French "international" schools are cheaper than the "English" ones but may not help you in your situation.
The Salesianos schools may also be something for you to consider as I think some of their lessons are in English. We tried to get our girls in there but they were full. There are a couple of campuses, one in Manique and one in Estoril that I know of.
Depending on when you come, you may also consider enrolling your son into one of the language courses they have over the holidays (which started this week). Could be a chance for him to get ahead with the language skills and make new friends.
I guess if he is going to learn the language, now is the time to get him started because as we all know, the older you get the harder it is.
Hope this helps.