Your search for a school will start with the choice between international and Belgian schools, each choice has its own advantages. If you are planning to stay in Belgium for a short period, or moving on to another foreign country following your stay, an international school may provide your child with a sense of continuity.
If you would like your child to experience the local culture and pick up the language, you may prefer to choose a Belgian school. Another factor to consider is the considerable price difference.
Which school to choose
Generally, schools in Belgium offer high-quality education. Compulsory education (leerplicht) applies to all children aged 6 to 18, or until a child obtains a ‘diploma’.
Pre-school in Belgium is free and available from the age of 2 1/2 to age 6 with approximately 99% of students attending by age 5.
Primary school is from ages 6-12 (6 years)
Secondary school is also a 6 year program divided into two year blocks (3 steps).
The Belgian schooling system explained
High quality education
good to know
• In Belgium, you have publicly-run and privately-run schools. Publicly-run schools are both funded and run by the government. Privately-run schools have their own boards, which usually consist of parents or representatives of the foundation which established the school. Privately-run schools do not receive any government funding.
• Since private schools do not receive government support, enrolment and tuition fees are requested. The amounts vary greatly and can add up. Inform yourself well in advance.
The quality of education organised in private schools is not controlled by the government, which is not to say that the courses cannot be quality. Please also inform yourself about this before you sign anything.
• Most schools will ask parents to pay in part for extra expenses such as books, excursions and cultural activities. The amount of this contribution varies from 150 – 500 euro, depending on the school and activities planned in that year.