Italian schools are rather old styled. Children are asked learn obedience and memorize lessons, while very little emphasis is given to creativity. The Italian state school system is free of charge and consists of several levels. Attendence is compulsory from age six to 14. Children start the scuola elementare (primary school) at six. After five years they move on to the scuola media (secondary level) until they reach the age of 14. The next level, the scuola secondaria superiore or liceo (higher secondary school), is voluntary and lasts five years until the student is 18 or 19 years old. This is divided into: Liceo scientifico (scientific high school), Liceo classico (classic high school), Liceo Linguistico (language high school), Istituto Magistrale (law school), Istituto Tecnico (technical school), Istituto Professionale (professional school) and art school divided into Liceo Artistico (artistic high school), Istituto d’Arte (school of art), Conservatorio DI Musica (conservatory of music), Accademia DI Danza (dance academy), Accademia Nazionale d’Arte Drammatica (national academy of dramatic arts). This implies that students 15 years old should know quite clearly what they intend to do for the rest of their life. Going back is almost impossible.
Public nursery schools are free, except for a meal fee. Classes are reasonably sized, and the teachers are generally motivated. Italian state schools have a good reputation.
Enrolling your child in a public school
All children are required to attend school until the age of 16, and consequently enrollment is free for all children on Italian soil regardless of nationality. You will need to visit the school board and fill out an enrollment form. You’ll be asked for proof of ID for the child, a birth certificate, a vaccination certificate, and a transcript from the child’s previous school. You should have these documents translated into Italian and certified by a consulate. One final consideration: If your child reaches majority while in the Italian school system, he or she will have to present a permesso di soggiorno, or permit to stay, to the scholastic authorities.
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