Education and Schools in Milan
The Italian education system is largely dominated by state schools, and Milan is no exception. Expats who don’t intend to stay for the long term usually opt for private international schools, but these are expensive and competition for places is high.
The school year runs from around mid-September to the following June. There is a two-week winter break towards the end of December, with shorter breaks in February and April. The summer break at the end of the academic year lasts about 12 weeks.
Public schools in Milan
Public schools in Italy are excellent and are free for Italian residents, although the language of instruction is in Italian, so enrolling their children in public schools isn't an option for many expats.
According to national law, Italian schools have to provide Catholic religious education, but children are allowed to attend non-religious alternativa classes, which cover subjects such as human rights and mythology.
In line with the national curriculum, schools in Milan are divided into four levels. Scuola dell’infanzia is equivalent to kindergarten and is for children from three to five years old. Primary school (scuola primaria) is compulsory and caters to children between six and 11 years old. Secondary school is split between scuola media (11 to 14) and scuola superiore (14 to 19), both of which are compulsory for teens up to 16 years old.
Private schools in Milan
There is often not much difference between public and private schools throughout Italy as both receive state funding. This funding means that private schools have to adhere to certain curriculum and educational standards set by the government. However, unlike public schools, private schools tend to operate under a specific religious or pedagogic philosophy, like Catholicism or the Montessori method.
International schools in Milan
Milan has various international schools that teach a range of programmes, including the International Baccalaureate as well as American, British, French and German curricula. These schools can be expensive but are a good way to get around language differences.