Expat children are allowed to attend Polish public schools for free. However, owing to the fact that the language of instruction is Polish, and the general expat preference for their children to continue their home country’s curriculum, most expats choose to send their children to international schools in Warsaw.
Public schools in Warsaw
Although the public education system in Poland has undergone many positive reforms in recent years, public schools in Warsaw are not a popular option for expats.
While tuition in Warsaw's public schools is free for all, this does not include the additional costs of textbooks, school uniforms, lunches or general stationery and school supplies, which parents will have to pay for.
A child’s attendance at a public school is determined by where students live, and schools are required to accept all children residing in their catchment areas.
Private and international schools in Warsaw
Private primary and secondary education was only introduced in the late 1980s after the end of communism in Poland, which is much later in other European countries. Private or non-state schools are partly funded by the government and donations from parents and other organisations, such as religious orders. As a result, many private schools in Warsaw are run by religious or social organisations.
The language of instruction at private schools in Warsaw is generally Polish or a minority language. They are independent of the government and are not restricted to following the national curriculum.
There are also a number of international schools in Warsaw, and the majority of these schools offer not only an excellent education but also world-class facilities. International schools in Warsaw offer various curricula, including the American, British, German, French and Japanese curricula, with many of these schools also offering the International Baccalaureate programme.
Places at private and international schools in Warsaw may be limited, and expat parents should plan well in advance when making arrangements for their child’s education in Poland. Consideration should also be given to the cost of education at international schools, which are often prohibitively expensive.
Special-needs education in Warsaw
Expat parents of children with disabilities can rest assured that in Warsaw, children who have special educational needs or whose opportunities for education, development and learning are limited to such an extent that they can't meet the educational requirements at mainstream schools, will receive special assistance, both throughout the entire educational process or during a certain period of education (a child showing signs of emotional problems resulting from trauma, for instance).
Special educational needs may refer to long-term illnesses; adaptive problems; specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dysgraphia or dyscalculia; speech impairment; trauma-induced emotional and behavioural difficulties; or learning difficulties.
Special-needs institutions provide care for differently-abled pupils by allowing for the implementation of individualised educational processes, forms, curricula and revalidation.
Tutoring in Warsaw
Education is highly valued in Poland, and Polish parents use tutoring as a tool to assist students in their learning. It is also invaluable for expat children adapting to a new environment, language and curriculum. Even for children in international schools, tutoring is useful for gaining confidence, or for assistance in particular subjects such as maths, science or Polish. Good companies in Warsaw include Apprentus and TeacherOn.