edited December 1969 in General
Hi,we are thinking to start new chapter in our life,want move to Madeira next year does anyone have some informations regarding education on island-we know that there is a British School in Funchal but not sure if this is only option for us.We know already that the school teaches children up to 15 years of age,is there any college or a kind of sixth form for older children with English?
If not,what option would have our daughter?
Does anyone have any experience with British school or better say educations in Madeira?
Thanks for any info.



  • This is just my opinion but I wouldn't consider moving to Madiera untill your daughter has finished her education, (in Britain im guessing?).

    I moved to Madeira almost 2 years, when i was 18, after completing my A-levels and was hoping to get into University after my gap year but unfortunatley I did not qualify for University here as i did not study Mathematics or Portuguese, both of which are compulsory.

    At the moment i am studying at night (its easier and less work, only for students over 18 though) in the Jaime Moniz Liceu in Funchal, retaking year 11 and 12, and will be starting year 12(final year) in a couple of weeks. I regret coming here because it would of been my final year of Uni in England.

    Is your daughter 15 now or younger. If shes younger then she won't have a problem in adapting to school life, language etc. But if shes 15 she might find school hard compared to in Britain, due to the school system complexty and work load.

    College system:
    In Britain there is Sixth Form year 12 and 13, study 3 maybe 4 subjects etc.

    Here you pick one group of 7 subjects, Literature, Science, Economy can't remeber the rest.

    Year 10 and 11 u study up to 7 subjects (portugeuse, a languague, P.E, maths/port. lit, philosophy, then gruop subjects) and then in Year 12 study only 3 (Portuguse, maths/portuguese lit, option)

    If your daughter wants to go to Uni then she'll do the National Exams(only to go to Uni), in Year 11 which is based on what you studied in Year 10 and 11. On top... pass the Subject/Year, eash subject has 3 tests (1 for each term) which you must pass. So in a standard year you would do 21 tests plus any oral presentations that a subject might require you to do.

    It is a benefit if your duaghter completes Year 12, as most employers look at that, and if she doesn't want to go to Uni, there are proffesional courses which gives you a diploma after a 3 year course.

    You understand that? Hope so? Anything else just ask. By the way, does your daughter know any portuguese is the family portuguese? My family is portuguese. I lived in England for 18 years (all my life) but understood and could read portuguese, just enough to get by. Also had portuguese lessons for foriegners in the Academia das linguas in Funchal for 6 months during gap year. Speaking is a bit difficult, imagine portuguese spoken in a cockney/portuguese accent lol. But i just get by with it. Languages have never been my thing anyway, but thats just me.

    Just remeber coming here on Holiday is one thing and living here is another. Take everything in consideration.
  • Nick08 is right in what is said, yes there is an English school but the fees are high and realistically, if your intention is for your children to stay in Madeira after school, they will need to speak Portugese. The language is not easy to learn but saying that, when children are included to a Madeira school, they pick up the language within two or three months. Don't get me wrong, it is a wonderful island but a poor one and jobs are few and far between, especially if you are not fluent in Portugese. I wouldn't return to UK, but seriously, you will need to be able to finance yourself for at least a year, if you are not coming to a job here. There is no unemployment benefit, so no job, no money, that is how it works.The basic rate of pay here is less than €3 and the cost of housing is at least €350 per month. We have lived here for several years now, and work from time to time but have private incomes so we are able to mix a little work with the enjoyment and weather which Madeira has to offer. It is a decision which should be given a great deal of consideration in all aspects and living here is very different to being on holiday. It is not the perfect place but then nowhere is and we love it, but I would be very careful about uprooting everyone to find after 6 months or so you have to return to UK, I have seen it happen so many times.
  • Thanks for your big help,I forgot to mention we have 3 daughters the oldest one is 18-she will definitely stay in Britain for uni, the youngest one is just 3 years old ,the middle one is 12 and that is our biggest problem and my enquiry is mainly to see what option she would have,it's very importend to make right decision for her first of all.I'm not worry to much about myself.I know very well that holidays is completely different story to permanent live in new country,know exactly what mean uprooting-we are not British just living here for over 10 years now.We are in good position that we don't have to work for someone-got some properties in UK which will cover cost of living on Madeira,we want take a one year trial-rent property first and then if found that we liked it and would move here for good,probably start own small business.
    We just want cover our back in case if we found that life on Madeira is not for us and our daughter lose year or two in her education,this is a last thing we want for her.We don't know any word in Portuguese,but when I come to Britain I didn't know much English as well and had £ 180 in my pocket so new life on Madeira with some money and some knowledge of English is not the end of the world.Just a new challenge,while still young...specially we fall in love.. Madeira is so beautiful and life seems to be so much different to London.

    Thanks again for help

  • Your 3 year old daughter can just go into public school, she'll pick up the language fast, and i think the same can go for your 12 year old, i dont think your 12 y/o will lose any years cause for me it was a different situation, you might have to check that. If you put your 12 y/o girl into the British School i think it would just delay her learning and education in the long run. It would be difficult at first and scary but in the long run work out. There are some kids who go to public school who have moved abroad from Germany, South Africa, England, South America so she wouldn't be the first. That's just my opinion anyway.

    About your oldest...well yea, leave her in Britain and let her finish Uni, don't do what my parents did, not blaming them totally but noone knew what the system was like. Depending on what course that your oldest is doing and her knowledge of english and if she could learn portuguese she could find a decent job here. I will be honest, there are quite a few people with degrees but not enough jobs to go around, not just in Madeira but in mainland Portugal too. She might have more opportunity in London with the course she is doing.

    Finally about public schools, unlike in Britain where your given paper, text books etc for free and no school you have to pay for everything. Buy the text books(can be bought 2nd if you can find them) buy your own paper, pay around 20-30euros a year to the school, but on the other hand, most schools here don't have Uniform so money is saved there.

    Hope that can help, just ask if you need more info,

  • Robert,

    I have first hand experience as far as 3 and 12 year olds are concerned. My daughter was three when she joined British school. She is 13 now. I personally have no problems with fees, standard of education and other issues with british school.
  • Dear Flowergirl,

    Many thanks for your respond,I know that life is not easy,no matter where,everywhere people need make a lot of effort to survive and have a bit of fun...if you think that life in Britain is nice and easy.. I'm telling you it's not.Taking into account that a huge recession is in the way I just want to try something different (my current business if first to be affected),yes I'm not 100% sure that Madeira is for us (probably no one was before done this step) ,that's way I asking for advice from people who went same way as I'd like to try..Anyway thanks a lot for your help and just one more thing-I ask for advice on a public forum and was wondering if get any respond and as you know I got a few posts-this telling me that people who live on Madeira are really friendly,happy to give some advice and help a bit to the other people that's really make me more confident in this what I'm doing.

    Thanks a lot one more time,I definitely will take your advice into serious consideration.

  • try this link for information on the education system here:
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