The school year runs from the middle of September to the end of June, for compulsory schooling, or to the middle of June for secondary schools. Individual schools set the actual dates but there must be at least 180 school days in each year.
Pre-school attendance is optional and children may be accepted between the ages of three and five. Pre-schools may be run by State organisations, charitable institutions, private or cooperative organisations. Most international schools offer an international approach to pre-primary learning following the International Preschool Curriculum.
Basic compulsory education (Ensino Básico) lasts for nine years and is divided into three consecutive cycles, EB-1º, EB-2º and EB-3º.
The first cycle of education (EB-1º) is provided by primary schools (escolas básicas), while the second and third cycles are provided by secondary schools (escolas secundárias). These three cycles are collectively referred to as Basic Education. (Ensino Básico)
Children who are six by 16 September are eligible to attend the first cycle of basic education. Those reaching this age by 31 December may also be admitted, but priority is given to older children when allocating places.
Pupils must attend an educational establishment in the area where they reside, or in the area in which the parents are employed, although exceptions can be made in certain cases. A number of documents are necessary to register a child in a school.
Pupils are assessed at the end of each school year in a National Exam, and at the end of each cycle. Those who are considered satisfactory will go on to the next stage. Pupils who do not meet the required standards may be asked to repeat all or part of the year.
Pupils who achieve the required standard in the general assessment at the end of the third cycle are awarded a certificate of basic education (diploma do ensino básico) by the school.
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