School in Italy

Find out all you need to know about school in Italy for yourself or for your children.

Girl writing in class

Do I have to send my children to school?

The law says all children have the right to go to school. You must send your children to school from 6 years old to 16 years old.

What does school cost?

Public school in Italy is free for children from 6 to 16 years old. You will pay for children younger than 6, and for university. You can get help with school expenses. Read about the costs of school and help with expenses from the ISEE

We are new in Italy. How will my child start school?

Before age 16, students are placed in a class according to their age. For children older than 16, schools may give them an entry test (test d’ingresso) to check their language ability and level of education. You can show the school certificates of previous studies if you have them.

Read about the different schools below and click on the links to learn more about the school levels and how to enroll.

What are the levels of school?

School in Italy has levels from very young children to young adults. Here are the levels:

Daycare and kindergarten (nido, primavera and asilo)

You can take your children to daycare or kindergarten starting at three months old. There are three levels of daycare and kindergarten for very young children:

  1. Nidi/micronidi (3-36 months)
  2. Sezioni primavera (24-36 months)
  3. Asili (3-6 years)

Primary school

Children go to primary school from age 6 to 11.

Middle school 

Children go to middle school from age 11 to 14.

Secondary school

All children must go to secondary school up to the age of 16. Most children continue their education until 18 or 19 years old.

Here is a diagram of the school system:

Grafico sistema scolastico

Higher Education

University is the highest level of education. When students finish secondary school, they can go to university to get more education.

What if my child has a disability?

Take your child’s medical certificate to the school if your child is disabled or cannot do a physical activity. The school will create a plan with you about how to care for your child in school. Classes with disabled students usually have fewer students than other classes. There are special teachers called insegnanti di sostegno to help children with disabilities.

My child is having a hard time at school. What can I do?

You can talk to the teachers at school if your child is having difficulties at school or with their homework. Talk about which subjects are difficult for your child. Ask how you can help and how the school can help. Schools often have extra classes for specific subjects. They may have other ways to help, too.

Do you need more information?

Here are some useful Italian words that will help you find more information on the internet:

  • “sistema istruzione in Italia”
  • “scuola (informazioni, iscrizioni)”
  • “obbligo scolastico”

Remember to add the name of your city!