Middle school – scuola media
In Italy, after primary school there is middle school. Middle school is also compulsory. It lasts 3 years and at the end of the third year students have to take an exam.
Middle school, or scuola media, is the school from 11 to 14 years.
It is called “middle” because it is in the middle between primary and middle school and lasts 3 years.
The final exam that is taken at the end of the third year school is called esame di terza media or licenza media. The exam consists of written tests (Italian and mathematics) and an oral exam. All students must take this exam and pass it in order to go on with their studies.
Middle school also usually opens from September to June.
Schools can have normal time tempo normale (30 hours per week) or extended time tempo prolungato (36-40 hours per week). Most schools offer both times, but some only have one. You can ask the school of your interest directly for more information about their timetables, calendar etc.
Normal hours students have class until lunchtime. Extended time students, on the other hand, stay until the afternoon for 2 or 3 days a week. They can decide whether to stay for lunch at school with other classmates or go home for lunch. In this case, they will have to go back to school before the end of the break and before the start of afternoon classes.
In middle school, students master all major subjects. Middle school also helps students understand what they want to study at secondary school.
The subjects studied in middle school are Italian, history, geography, mathematics, science, English, music, art, physical education, technology, citizenship and the constitution.
Here too, students and their parents can choose the study of the Catholic religion which is optional. The school offers other options for students who decide not to study religion: self-study or assisted study, entry one hour later, or leaving school an hour earlier.
Public middle school is free, but you will still have expenses to pay. Visit this page and find more information on the cost of public school and economic support.
Many of the middle school students go to school and go home alone. Parents who do not accompany their children therefore see teachers less often.
To stay up to date on school progress and communications it is important to check the electronic register (registro elettronico). The electronic register is an online tool where teachers enter attendance/absences, grades, delays, homework and examinations, lesson times, etc. The register also shows the communications from the school, and the report cards in the electronic version.
The register is therefore a very important tool that parents use to stay updated on their children’s school progress, to communicate with teachers, and to request meetings. Students can also access the register if they need to check what homework they have to do and school communications.
To access the electronic register, you must have a username and password that are given by the school office at the beginning of the first year.
Teachers also organize school-family meetings to show parents’ report cards, usually after the first half of the year, and one towards the end of the year.
If you need to talk to the teachers, you can easily ask for a meeting without waiting for the school to set it.