Best International Schools
Best International Schools in Greece - Guide for Expats
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Best International Schools in Greece
The history of educational institutions in Greece dates back to ancient times, and even today, the country maintains a remarkably high standard of education. Furthermore, approximately one-third of students are eligible for tuition-free education, including one-quarter of postgraduate programs.
Private schools in Greece, like in many other countries, tend to be more expensive. However, the quality they offer justifies the cost, as private schools often outshine their public counterparts. Additionally, the private sector in Greece includes a wide range of international schools, unlike public schools, which primarily teach in Greek.
Athens and Thessaloniki, the two major educational hubs in Greece, boast some of the best international schools in the country. In these cities, students have the opportunity to study in various languages, including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and even Russian and Chinese.
In the traditional Greek education system, there are eight levels that are generally followed, with minor variations observed across different institutions.
Designed for children aged up to 2.5 years.
Between the ages of 2.5 and 4 years.
The pre-formal stage, spanning from 4 to 6 years old.
It consists of three levels. Although not mandatory in Greece, many parents opt to enroll their children in kindergartens and pre-school institutions, much like in other countries. It’s worth noting that Greek classes are not offered in international schools during this stage.
Primary school covers Grades 1 to 6.
During the first two grades, no marks are given. Grades 3 and 4 introduce a four-grade system, ranging from A for excellent to D for acceptable. In the final two years of Dimitiko, a ten-point system is implemented, with 9-10 denoting excellence and 1-4 indicating acceptability. At this stage, there are no negative marks. Pupils in international schools commence learning Greek in Dimitiko.
In grades 7 to 9.
Teachers utilize a 20-point grading system, where 20 represents excellence, 10 signifies acceptable performance, and 1 denotes very poor achievement. Pupils are required to take exams at the conclusion of each academic year, with a passing mark typically set at 10.
In the majority of international schools, students must decide whether to continue their studies in their native language or opt for the Greek section. By choosing the latter, they will also delve into Greek language and culture, and have the opportunity to obtain the Greek secondary education certificate.
High school encompasses grades 10 to 12.
While education becomes voluntary at this stage, approximately three-quarters of students in Greece choose to complete their high school education. Students have the option to attend regular schools or pursue vocational and technical colleges. In the latter case, students not only receive their secondary education certificates but also obtain low-level professional diplomas in their chosen field.
7. Undergraduate Higher Education
If students decide to pursue higher education, they will generally follow the same academic levels as in many European universities. The initial level is the Bachelor’s degree, which is usually sufficient for licensing and employment in most professional fields.
This might explain why many students choose to conclude their studies at this stage. However, it is important for students from countries that adhere to the British education system to be aware that undergraduate studies in Greece encompass both Bachelor’s and Honours degrees, spanning a duration of 4 years.
8. Postgraduate Higher Education
Certain professional fields necessitate additional certification, and depending on one’s occupation, it may be required to acquire a Master’s or even a PhD. At this point, foreign students from Western countries should expect minimal surprises.
In Greece, while public nurseries, kindergartens, and secondary schools are provided free of charge, the cost of tuition varies significantly across educational institutions. The most prestigious international private schools tend to have the highest fees. Below is a table displaying approximate annual fees for the 2022-2023 academic year:English Schools
Nursery & Kindergarten
Please be advised that the figures provided are subject to change and should be considered as approximate estimates.
Rest assured, you will find an abundance of excellent English schools in Greece, regardless of the city or region you decide to reside in. This section introduces a selection of the finest examples of English education available in the country.
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International School of Athens
Established in 1979, the International School of Athens was created to meet the educational needs of the international community in Athens. Today, the school welcomes students from nearly forty different nationalities, representing a rich tapestry of cultures including British, Chinese, Egyptian, Australian, Russian, and Nigerian.
The school offers a diverse range of disciplines, including languages, natural sciences, social studies, technology, arts, and sports. From nursery to high school, hundreds of children immerse themselves in this vibrant learning environment, where they explore the world around them and thrive in its stimulating atmosphere.
It comes as no surprise that many graduates of the International School of Athens go on to pursue their studies in leading universities worldwide.
The British International School, also known as a beacon of educational excellence, nurtures students aged 3 to 18 in the ideals inspired by Lord Byron. With a diverse student body representing over 50 countries, this institution offers a highly stimulating intellectual and spiritual learning environment.
Upon completion of their studies, students are awarded the prestigious International General Certificate of Secondary Education, with their grades consistently surpassing the national average in Great Britain. In addition to rigorous academics, the school offers a plethora of extracurricular activities encompassing drama, culinary arts, sports, choir, and martial arts, fostering a well-rounded education for every student.
American Community School
At ACS of Athens, we uphold the core values and principles of the US education system. Our focus extends beyond intellectual development to encompass the social, ethical, and emotional growth of our students. Through a diverse range of disciplines, we equip our pupils with essential life skills and foster their creative thinking abilities. Additionally, we empower them with technological proficiency and cultivate their social awareness.
Our school’s extracurricular activities center around sports, foreign languages, and interactive initiatives that enhance personal responsibility and promote an appreciation for cultural diversity. Join us on this enriching educational journey!
St. Catherine British School
St. Catherine’s, an English school in Greece, follows the UK’s National Curriculum. With over a thousand pupils, the school has a strong track record of students gaining admission to top universities in Europe. The school’s mission is to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of Greek culture, history, and geography. To enhance their learning experience, students are taken on regular tours to explore the country’s remarkable museums and archaeological sites.
St. Lawrence College
St. Lawrence is a highly esteemed institution within the English-speaking community in Athens. With a dedicated and experienced academic staff, many of whom have been with the college for nearly 15 years, the school provides exceptional educational services to ensure individual attention with a student-to-teacher ratio of no more than ten. Moreover, the school offers an extensive array of extracurricular activities, including sports, drama, photography, chess, computer labs, and calligraphy, making it the city’s premier choice for a well-rounded education.
Established in Thessaloniki in the 1950s, Pinewood provides students with a remarkable array of academic disciplines and extracurricular activities to foster their physical, cognitive, and artistic growth. Children have the opportunity to utilize state-of-the-art science labs, explore an extensive library, engage in performances at a spacious amphitheater, exercise in a well-equipped gym, and even participate in a forensic science workshop.
France and Greece have a rich history of educational collaboration, with numerous distinguished French institutions established in Greece. Below, we have curated a selection of the most renowned ones, capturing their popularity and significance.
École Française d’Athènes
The French School at Athens takes great pride in being the oldest foreign educational institution in the country. Since its establishment in Athens in 1846, it has primarily focused on the study of Greek history from prehistoric times. Over the years, the college has expanded its academic offerings to encompass a wide range of disciplines, catering to students at all levels, from bachelor’s to PhD.
However, the department that truly shines is the Ancient History of Greece. It is renowned for its groundbreaking archaeological research projects, with over 15 scientific titles published annually. Additionally, the school houses a magnificent library with nearly 100,000 items, a must-visit for anyone interested in furthering their studies, even if they choose to do so elsewhere.
Lycée Léonin in Athens
Established in the 19th century by french monks, Lycée Léonin is a prestigious non-profit private Catholic school that offers comprehensive education to students ranging from primary to lyceum levels. With over a thousand pupils as of 2023, the school provides a diverse range of academic disciplines and a plethora of extracurricular activities.
Lycée Léonin proudly counts among its alumni several renowned Greek poets, artists, composers, as well as a former Minister of Justice and a former President of Greece. The school is situated in Athens, with two campuses located in New Smyrna and Patisia. Notably, the New Smyrna campus does not offer primary school education.
École Française de Thessalonique
Established at the turn of the twentieth century, the French School of Thessaloniki caters to students aged 3 to 18, spanning all educational levels from pre-school to lyceum. A notable feature of this institution is the flexibility it offers, with students having the option to study in French, Greek, or English. Furthermore, the school’s certificates hold full recognition from both the Greek Ministry of Education and international counterparts.
Moreover, the French School of Thessaloniki extends opportunities for distance learning from 6th to 12th grade. Upon graduation, students are awarded the prestigious French National Diploma and Baccalauréat, opening doors to diverse academic prospects.
Lycée Franco-Hellenique Eugene Delacroix
Lycée Franco-Hellenique, widely regarded as the country’s premier French school, offers comprehensive education from nursery to high school. Renowned for its extensive range of extracurricular activities, including sports, dance, theatre, music, circus, and even robotics, the school provides an unparalleled experience for students.
From the nursery and kindergarten levels, children are fully immersed in French, gradually introducing Greek when they enter primary school, while still following the French National Curriculum. As they progress, students have the freedom to choose whether to continue their studies in French or Greek.
With its vibrant and intellectually stimulating environment, the school’s annual fees of €4,000–€5,000 appear remarkably reasonable.
École Franco-Hellénique des Ursulines
Originally established as a school exclusively for Jesuit monks, the Ursuline Greek-French School later emerged as the pioneering educational institution for girls in Greece. This marked a significant milestone in the journey towards higher education for Greek women. Since the late nineteenth century, the school has garnered nationwide acclaim for its exceptional educational services across all secondary school levels.
Furthermore, the Ursuline Greek-French School operates as a network of educational institutions, encompassing a remarkable total of 150 branches including nurseries, kindergartens, and high schools. As a result, it stands as the largest educational establishment in the country.
Despite the significant number of German expats residing in Greece, the availability of German schools in the country is surprisingly limited. However, if you happen to live in Athens or Thessaloniki, finding a suitable educational institution for your children to study in German is not an insurmountable task. We have carefully curated a list of two exceptional schools that are considered to be the top choices for achieving this goal.
Deutsche Schule Athen holds the distinction of being one of the oldest private schools in the country. It caters to students aged 3 to 18, offering a comprehensive education. Admission to this esteemed institution is highly selective, with students required to demonstrate a proficient level of German through an entrance examination.
At the high school level, students have the option to either continue their studies in the German section, where they can obtain German secondary school certificates, or to join the Greek section. In the Greek Section, they will immerse in an exciting study of Greek language and culture while also earning Greek high school diplomas alongside their German counterparts.
Dörpfeld Gymnasium boasts a wide range of excellent extracurricular activities. Its Schools of Drama and Greek Music are renowned throughout the country, attracting talented individuals. Furthermore, the school offers various classes in more than twenty dances and sports, in addition to housing its own chess club and rock band.
The school is committed to providing enriching experiences for its students, organizing numerous exchange programs with several European countries, Egypt, and Turkey. Additionally, educational trips to Germany are arranged to further broaden students’ horizons. As of 2022, the study fees for Deutsche Schule Athen range from €5,000 to €6,000 per academic year.
Deutsche Schule Thessaloniki
The concept and structure is similar to Dörpfeld Gymnasium, the German School of Thessaloniki caters to students from nursery through 12th Grade. Beyond academics, the school offers a wide range of intellectually and artistically stimulating extracurricular activities. It places a strong emphasis on students’ personal development, fostering their interpersonal and social skills while encouraging creative thinking. After school, students can participate in photography classes or play in the Schule Orchestra. Graduates of the school are warmly welcomed by both Greek and German higher educational institutions, particularly those who complete their studies in the Greek section. In this section, students learn Greek and German languages and cultures, with equal emphasis on both.
Final Thoughts on the Best International Schools in Greece for Expats
Greece has long been a sought-after destination for expats from Western Europe. One of the perks is that your children can receive their secondary education in their native language while immersing themselves in Greek language and culture.
When it comes to choosing an international school, especially in Athens or Thessaloniki, you’ll find an abundance of excellent options. These schools also offer an impressive range of languages to cater to diverse communities. Ultimately, your decision will depend on factors such as your home language, location in Greece, and budget.
If your home language is English, German, or French, we hope our article provides a helpful starting point as you embark on your educational journey in the birthplace of Western education.