Agrupamento de Escolas Fernando Casimiro Pereira da Silva


Portugal is located on the Iberian Peninsula  in  southwestern Europe.

It is the western most country of Europe, being bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain.

The Portuguese republic also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments.

In the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal established the first global empire, becoming one of the world’s major economic, political and military powers.

In 1910 the monarchy was deposed, the democratic but unstable Portuguese First Republic was established, later being superseded by the  right-wing authoritarian regime. Democracy was restored after the Carnation Revolution in 1974. Portugal went into the European Union in 1986.

Portugal is a developed country and it is among the twenty countries best placed interms of social progress.  It is also the 3rd most peaceful country in the world.

Portuguese is spoken as a native language in five different continents.  The Portuguese language is the official language spoken in Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, and East Timor.

With approximately 215 million native speakers and 260 million total speakers, Portuguese is usually listed as the sixth most natively spoken language in the world and the third-most spoken European language in the world in terms of native speakers.

Portugal is one of Europe’s most visited countries due to its idyllic climate, affordable travel costs, exceptional attractions, wonderful food  and friendly people.


Education in Portugal


Education in Portugal is free and compulsory until the age of 18, when students complete the 12th grade. The education is regulated by the State through the Ministry of Education. There is a system of public education and also many private schools at all levels of education.

Years of schooling

School Year Age of entry School Stage
0 Infantário / Creche 
3 Jardim de Infância 
1st year 6 1º Ciclo – 1st Cycle Ensino Básico
Basic Education
2nd year 7
3rd year 8
4th year 9
5th year 10 2º Ciclo – 2nd Cycle
6th year 11
7th year 12 3º Ciclo – 3rd Cycle
8th year 13
9th year 14
10th year 15 Ensino Secundário
Secondary Education
11th year 16
12th year 17





School year calendar

Each school year starts in mid-September and ends in mid-June. There are three holiday breaks during the year: Christmas break (2 weeks), Carnival break (3 days) and Easter break (2 weeks). The school year is divided in three terms, usually limited by the following dates:

  • 1st term – from 15–21 September to 15- 18 December
  • 2nd term – from 2-3 January to one week before Easter
  • 3rd term – from one week after Easter to 15 -20 June

After the end of the 3rd term, there are national exams during June and July for students in 9th, 11th and 12th years, and measurement exams in 2nd, 5th and 8th years.


School Stages

Pre-primary education is optional from the ages of three to five, and is provided in both state-run and private kindergartens schools. State-run kindergartens provision is free of charge. The schools are known as Jardins de Infância (Kindergartens).


1º Ciclo – 1st Cycle


1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th years

General subjects:

Enrichment Activities:


2º Ciclo – 2nd Cycle


5th and 6th years

  • Portuguese Language
  • Mathematics
  • History and Geography of Portugal
  • English (levels 1 and 2)
  • Natural Sciences
  • Visual Education(Visual arts)
  • Technological Education (Crafts)
  • Physical Education
  • Music
  • Catholic (or other confessions) Moral and Religious Education (facultative)


3º Ciclo – 3rd Cycle


7th, 8th and 9th years

(*) In the 9th year the student has to choose between Visual Education, Technological Education, Music and Drama, according to the school’s availability.


Secondary education

It is only after the 9th year of basic schooling that the Portuguese General Education system branches out into different secondary programs, a higher education-oriented (general secondary programs), a work-oriented (technological secondary programs) and an artistic-oriented program.

The conclusion of secondary education (general, technological or artistic programs) with passing grades confers a diploma, which will certificate the qualification thus obtained and, in the case of work-oriented programs the qualification for specific jobs.


Access to higher education

At the end of 11th grade, students have national exams in the two specific subjects of their course. At the end of the 12th grade, the exams are in Portuguese language and the main subject of the course. The access to higher education is made through a national online process, where the students enter the college by priority based on their grades.

The average of grades obtained in all subjects represents a part of the application grade to enter college. The other part is based on the grade of the specific exams that the college requests, which are related with the course the student is applying for. The average of both averages is the application grade to college. That number is between zero and 20; the higher it is, the better the chance to enter the college.


Higher education


It is provided in autonomous universities, in university institutes, in polytechnic institutes and in separate university or polytechnic schools. The previous institutions can be either public, concordat or private. The university subsystem is intended to have a strong theoretical basis and to be highly research-oriented. The polytechnic subsystem is intended to provides a more practical training and is profession-oriented.


Portugal has two main systems of higher education:

  • The universitysystem, which is the oldest, has its origins in the 13th century. It is composed of thirteen public universities, one public university institute, a public open university, and several private universities and university institutes.
  • The polytechnicsystem began offering higher education in the 1980s and it is composed of fifteen state-run polytechnic institutes, public and private non-integrated polytechnic institutions, and many other similar institutions.