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State School Systems for Expats in Malta

Submitted: November 2013

State schools in Malta are fully funded by the state. Education is free and compulsory from the ages of 5-16. However many children enter the education system from as early as 3 years old. While not formally part of the state school system, childcare centres are available if your child is under the age of 3. Please refer to the following link for a list of state childcare centres that are available in Malta:


The state school system in Malta can be divided into four stages:

  1. Early Childhood Education (Kindergarten): Ages 3-5

    It is important to note that this level of schooling is not compulsory and there is no formal curriculum. However, your child will benefit from interacting with other children his/her own age.

  2. Primary  Education: Ages 5-11

    Children are taught core subjects such as Mathematics, English, Maltese, Social Studies and Religious Education. Please note that if you are not comfortable with your child receiving a religious education at school, international parents can choose not to have their children participate in this class.   At the completion of your child’s primary education, he/she will be required to sit a national examination in order to enter a secondary school. Your child’s level of success in this examination will determine which secondary school he/she will attend. For a complete list of state primary schools in Malta, please refer to the following link:


  3. Lower Secondary Education: Ages 11-16

    Students are given a fundamental secondary education in an array of subjects and in the latter years students make certain specialisations. Students are awarded a Secondary Education Certificate (SEC) at the completion of these examinations.

  4. Upper Secondary Education “Sixth Form”: Ages 16-18

    Students complete further studies in their specified grouping. At the end of these studies, students are awarded a Matriculation Secondary Education Certificate.

  5. Vocational Education: Ages 16-20

    Students can choose to pursue a number of vocational courses in order to learn a trade or develop professional skills.

Students attending state schools are required to follow the national curriculum which includes a wide range of subjects which are taught in Maltese. As English is an official language of Malta, students are also taught this language in schools. For an overview of the national curriculum please refer to following link:


State schools in Malta are grouped into 10 Colleges; each College is responsible for a number of primary schools and secondary schools in various localities. For example, St. Margaret College serves the following regions: Cospicia, Kalkara, Senglea, Vittoriosa, Xghajra and Zabbar and there are 7 primary schools and 3 secondary schools under this College. Please refer to the following links for a complete list of Colleges and the regions they serve:


You should contact the local council in your area in order to ascertain an available school in order to register your child.  Documents required for admittance into the state school system include birth certificate, immunisation records, parents’ means of identification, and proof of residence. Additionally, you can contact the school directly via the contact information provided in the above links for further information. For a list of local councils in Malta, please refer to the following links:

In your area, there may be more than one primary school, so you should carefully consider student/teacher ratios, class sizes, and school performance, in deciding which school to send your child. You should also consult your local council for information about the best performing schools in your area.

If your child performs well in his/her end of primary examination, they will be able to attend a junior lyceum. These schools are regarded as being more prestigious than other secondary schools. Students who do not perform as well in that examination will have to attend a secondary school in their area. Secondary schools in Malta are single sex as opposed to primary schools which are coeducational. For a list of secondary schools in Malta please refer to the following links:

It should be noted that students in Malta are required to wear a school uniform, the cost of which is the responsibility of their parents. However, items such as school text books, academic materials, as well as transportation to and from the schools are free to parents as they are funded by the state.

In choosing to send your child to a state school, they will be sure to receive a multicultural educational experience.



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