The education and schools sector in the Czech Republic is in a healthy state. Even better news for expat parents is that their children can attend public school at no cost, provided that they are EU nationals or legal residents. This is the case from pre-primary school up to and including university. But, seeing as the language of instruction in public schools is Czech, most expat parents choose to enrol their children in private or international schools instead.
Schooling is compulsory from the age of six to 15. The school year runs from early September to late June.
Public schools in Czech Republic
Teaching in the Czech Republic's public schools is conducted entirely in the Czech language, with either English or German taught as a second language. Some expat parents are discouraged by this but there are advantages to expat children being taught in Czech, the biggest of which is that it's a good way for them to learn the language and subsequently assimilate into the culture more easily, which is especially important for expats planning a long stay in the country. Some schools take difficulties with the language into account when assessing students in subjects such as Czech language and literature.
It is always a good idea for parents to visit schools of interest before enrolling their children. This can be done at official open days or may be arranged by request. Conditions in public schools may vary widely, and some are more amenable to and equipped for having foreign students than others.
Private schools in Czech Republic
Private schools in the Czech Republic are partly funded by the state and partly funded by tuition. Some of these schools are bilingual, teaching in both Czech and English, or sometimes Czech and German. Expat parents who can't quite fit international school fees into their budget but are still concerned about their children having difficulties with the Czech language may find these schools to be an ideal solution.
International schools in Czech Republic
Most international schools teach in English and are perhaps most useful for expats planning to reside in the country for a relatively short period of time, as the continuity in curriculum minimises disruption in the child's education. Common curricula offered by international schools include the International Baccalaureate (IB), the American curriculum, or the British curriculum. Prague in particular has a high concentration of international schools.
International schools can be expensive, so if moving to the Czech Republic as part of an international relocation package, it is worth negotiating for school fees as part of the relocation contract.
International schools can vary widely in ethos, curriculum, quality and size. Although there are a number of schools to choose from, space may be limited and parents are advised to start the application process as soon as possible.