Secondary school

Students between 14 and 19 years of age attend secondary school (scuola superiore). Students must attend at least until they are 16.


Secondary school lasts 5 years. Students must attend the first two years, but most stay longer to finish. Students in secondary school go to school for 5 or 6 days a week from September to June. At the end of the fifth year, children must pass an exam to show they have completed secondary school.

Choosing the type of school

The secondary school you choose is very important because it will guide your student on his or her path for the future. These are the types of schools to choose from:

High school

High schools (licei in Italian) give a wide cultural education and are better for students who want to continue their studies at university. There are 6 types of licei: artistic, classic, linguistic, music and dance, scientific, and human science.

Technical school

Technical schools (istituti tecnici in Italian) give technical and practical training. They have training for the economic sector or the technology sector. Technical schools lead to work or to university.

Vocational school

Vocational schools (istituti professionali in Italian) teach students how to work in services, industries and crafts. They give specific training so students can leave and go straight to work.

Many schools give guidance and organize “open days.” These are information days for the students and their families to help them decide which secondary school is best for them.

How do I send my children to secondary school?

For public schools, you will apply online. Learn how to register your child for school.

The first time you access the registration site, you will create an account with your information. You will enter your child’s personal information.

You must also enter information about the school you want your child to attend. You will need the codes of each school that you can find in the scuola in chiara.

How much does it cost?

Secondary school is free (except for private schools, where families pay fees). But you will have some expenses. Read about the costs of school and help with expenses from the ISEE

Education and vocational training (IeFP)

IeFPs are a different kind of secondary school. They are similar to technical and vocational schools because they focus on work training. But IeFP programs last only 3 to 4 years, and they are run by regional authorities in different areas of Italy. Students start at an IeFP when they are 14 or 15 years old. They must stay at least until they are at least 16, just like other schools. They study and train 5 or 6 days a week from September to June. Read more about IEFP programs.

Do you need more information?

Here are some useful Italian words that could help you if you want to do more research on the internet:

  • “informazioni scuola secondaria di secondo grado”
  • “scuola superiore (informazioni, iscrizioni)”
  • “istruzione e formazione professionale”

Remember to add the name of your city!