Choosing the Right School for Your Children in Cyprus

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Relocating requires adjusting to new things and making difficult decisions. The more information you have about your destination, the more educated these decisions will be and the more comfortable you will feel with them.
In the area of education, Cyprus offers many options, both private and public, which means you will be able to find the best option for your child.

Education in Cyprus

Schools in Cyprus are generally divided into 4 age groups and are overseen by the Ministry of Education and Culture. School is compulsory for children aged 5 to 15.

The first age group or pre-primary school is for children of ages 3 to 6. The standard curriculum promotes integrated development and preparation for citizenship.

The second age group or primary school is for children of ages 6 to 12. The location of schools depends on the size of the children population within a community, with communities without a school attending the neighbouring community’s school. Children attend the school in their district in accordance with their address.

The third age group or secondary school is for children of ages 12-18. The group is divided into two, Gymnasium or lower secondary school, with a focus on general humanities. The second group is Lyceum or Upper Secondary School, allow students to specialise based on their interests and skills.

Afterwards, children can continue into higher education for ages 18+. This includes universities and colleges.

Public versus Private

Cyprus’ state-funded public schools are a free, quality option available to you upon relocation. Albeit, public education is in Greek, meaning it will not suit many foreigners moving to Cyprus.

Private education is popular among the expat community in Cyprus. Such require fees covered by the families or the company responsible for the relocation. There are multiple options available within the private education sphere.

Private education in English is common for foreigners moving to Cyprus, including British private schools which also provide UK standard education. If you are moving from the UK or intend to move back to the UK after your time in Cyprus, this can help your children with the transition between countries.

There are also Russian private schools available. These speak Russian and follow Russian education guidelines.

The decision will have to depend on the individual child and which system will best fit them.

Young Children

There are plenty of options available for younger children in Cyprus, populated with both local and foreign students.

When picking a school for your children, remember it will also be a great location for you to befriend fellow parents. Making friends with other parents will help you better adjust to the new environment as well as be more informed about life in Cyprus.

If you will be staying in Cyprus for many years, your children will be able to follow their friends from pre-school through graduation. Finding the right school can help your child make life-long friends.

Older Children

The school year in Cyprus runs from September to May and the structure is mostly consistent between the different schools available, both private and public. Children have holidays for public and religious occasions as well as the summer holiday which runs from June to September.

Completing either grade in upper secondary school will grant the student with a certificate for finishing a year and a school-leaving certificate for successfully graduating. These certificates are qualifications for employment.

Technical and vocational education options are also available for children who are less suited for regular schools and their academic demands. These schools will prepare them for more specific jobs or fields and their successful completion will grant the student with a TVET and a school-leaving certificate, equivalent to that of upper secondary school.

Important to Consider

Consider the following when choosing a school for your child:

Your family’s standards ranging from your religious orientation to your child’s future goals.

The teaching language and the language your child will be most comfortable learning in. Remember, at times being able to read and understand a language might still mean facing challenges in subjects such as science and math which have specific concepts. Attending a Greek school will allow your child to be more immersed in the local language, but maybe going to an English-speaking school will instill more confidence.

The facilities the school offers such as the number of students, the cost, the curriculum, extra-curricular options available, and the accreditation they will leave the school with are all important.

Some schools may offer more opportunities for your children to explore the things they enjoy such as sports or arts. Consider activities your children enjoy, and which schools will allow them to practice the most.

Remember

Try talking to people who have completed a similar change to the one you are about to embark on. If they have children, maybe they can talk to yours and share their experiences. Cyprus has great education opportunities to offer your children. Trust they will leave any school more knowledgeable than before they came and focus on finding the right space for your child.

The school your child will go to will be a great opportunity for you and them to make friends and best adjust to Cyprus and your new adventure. Consider their interests and skills, and if it is nearly time for them to think about universities, where will they be most prepared for that new adventure ahead.

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