Education in Italy
Free state education is available to children of all nationalities who are resident in Italy.
Children attending the Italian education system can start with the Scuola dell’Infanzia also known as Scuola Materna (nursery school), which is non-compulsory, from the age of three. Every child is entitled to a place.
Scuola Primaria (Primary School)
At age six, children start their formal, compulsory education with the Scuola Primaria also known as Scuola Elementare (Primary School). In order to comply with a European standard for school leaving age, it is possible to enter the Scuola Primaria at any time after the age of five and a half. At Scuola Primaria children learn to read and write and study a wide range of subjects including maths, geography, Italian, English and science. They also have music lessons, computer studies and social studies. Religious instruction is optional. Scuola Primaria lasts for five years. Classes are small with between 10 and 25 pupils. Pupils no longer take a leaving exam at the Scuola Primaria. At the age of eleven they begin their Secondary education.
Scuola Media (Middle School)
Scuola Secondaria di Primo Grado (First Grade Secondary School)
All children aged between eleven and fourteen must attend the Scuola Secondaria di Primo Grado (First Grade Secondary School). Students must attend at least thirty hours of formal lessons per week, although many schools provide additional activities in the afternoons such as computer studies, music lessons and sports activities. Formal lessons cover a broad range of subjects following a National Curriculum set by the Ministero della Pubblica Istruzione, MPI (Ministry of Public Education). At the end of each term, students receive a school report. At the end of the third year, students sit a written exam in the subjects of Italian, mathematics, science and a foreign language. There is an oral examination of the other subjects. Successful students are awarded the Licenza di Scuola Media (Licenza Media). They then move onto the Scuola Secondaria di Secondo Grado (Second Grade Secondary School)
Scuola Superiore(High School)
Scuola Secondaria di Secondo Grado (Second Grade Secondary School)
There are two types of Scuola Secondaria di Secondo Grado in Italy: the Liceo (like a British grammar school), which is more academic in nature, and an Istituto, which is essentially a vocational school. For the first two years all students use the same state-mandated curriculum of Italian language and literature, science, mathematics, foreign language, religion, geography, history, social studies and physical education. Specialised courses, called ‘Indirizzi’ begin in the third year.