Private schools in Brussels and public schools
Private Schools in Brussels
Among the private schools in Brussels, we distinguish between those offering qualifying courses (directly related to a profession) and those offering diploma courses (educational levels). Private schools that offer qualifying courses do not provide officially recognised certifications.
In Brussels, private French-speaking schools offering diploma courses are schools that prepare students for official exams (Central Jury exams in the FWB) that, upon successful completion, lead to obtaining a diploma (such as a high school diploma or CESS). These private schools are commonly referred to as Central Jury preparation schools.
International Schools in Brussels
Other types of private schools offer internationally recognised programs and diplomas, and these are the international schools in Brussels. These schools are primarily intended for the children of expatriate parents who wish to remain within a familiar system, using a language they know, and having the option to continue the same educational system from their home country.
With its thriving international community, Brussels offers a large number of international schools. These schools often provide education from kindergarten to high school. Unlike Belgian public schools, private and international schools are fee-paying as they are not subsidised by the government. Often considered bilingual schools in Brussels, some international schools follow the British, American, French, Dutch, Japanese, and many other educational curricula.
- British curriculum > British School of Brussels (BSB)
- International Baccalaureate curriculum > Montgomery International School
- European Baccalaureate curriculum > European schools
- Montessori curriculum > Montessori school
International School Fees in Brussels
Regarding private international schools in Brussels, there are two pricing models. Either tuition fees are paid by parents, or they are fully or partially funded by employers. Generally, annual tuition fees supported by employers are higher than those privately funded.
> More information on this topic can be found in the article on international school fees in Brussels.
Public Schools in Brussels
In Belgium, education is compulsory from ages 6 to 18. Unlike private schools in Brussels, education is free in public schools, although parents may be required to contribute to the cost of school supplies, field trips, and textbooks.
The Belgian Educational System: Kindergarten, Primary School, and Secondary School
3 years in kindergarten (ages 3 to 6): Kindergarten starts at the age of 3. It is also possible to start at the age of two and a half on the first school day in February or after any holiday period.
6 years in primary school (ages 6 to 12): Children begin primary school in September of the year they turn 6 and enter secondary school approximately 6 years later, at around age 12.
6 years in secondary school (ages 12 to 18):
Years 1 & 2 > First degree > General education for all students.
Years 3 & 4 > Second degree > Students can choose between 2 tracks: transition or qualification. The transition track prepares for further studies, and the qualification track prepares for entry into the workforce.
Years 5 & 6 > Third degree > Students can also choose between 2 tracks: transition (general humanities and technical humanities) and qualification (technical humanities and professional humanities).
Find detailed information about Brussels international schools in the new digital guide for the 2023/2024 school year, available now!