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There are several schooling options available for expat children in Antwerp. The city is home to several reputable international schools as well as several good public and private schools. Parents will need to take the fees, language of instruction, and location of any prospective schools into account before deciding on one for their children.
Expats with children at pre-primary age can enrol them at a nursery school or home day-care. Depending on the school, this can be free or fees are charged relative to the parents’ income.
Public schools in Antwerp
Public schools are divided into pre-schools, kindergartens, primary schools and secondary schools. Flemish (a regional dialect of Dutch) is the language of instruction and other languages are introduced towards the end of primary school.
Public education in Belgium is free to legal residents and is managed at the regional level. Children can start school at two-and-a-half years, but attendance is only compulsory from the ages of six to 18.
Private schools in Antwerp
There are a number of private schools available in Antwerp. The language of instruction in these schools is usually Flemish. Expats who plan to stay in the city long-term or whose children already speak the local language will find that private schools are a good option.
Most private schools in the city are Roman Catholic but allow for students of different faiths.
International schools in Antwerp
Most expats on short-term assignments in Belgium send their children to an international school. These provide various curricula such as the American, British and International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes. The language of instruction is usually English and most give students a choice of French or Dutch classes.
Admission to schools in Antwerp
By law, expats will need to enrol their children in a recognised school within 60 days of arriving in the country. To do this, they’ll need to provide proof of identity, a residence permit, vaccination records, their children’s academic records as well as the national identification number given on their Belgian social identity card.
Are you an expat living in Antwerp?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Antwerp. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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