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The education system in Bulgaria
Setting up a new home in Bulgaria is not a move to be taken lightly, especially if you have children. The education system in Bulgaria is very different to the UK´s and the older your child is, the more difficult they will find it to adapt. Even if your child is very young, moving to a Bulgarian home and attending schools in Bulgaria will have a huge impact on their lives.
Before committing yourself and your children to a new home in Bulgaria, you will need to do a little homework into the local education system. In Bulgaria school is not mandatory before the age of seven, but many English-speaking youngsters quickly become bi-lingual by mixing with local children. Kindergarten and nursery schools in Bulgaria are locally run and accept chidren from the age of three. Unless you are in a remote area you should find one close to your Bulgarian home.
The education system in Bulgaria requires attendance at school between the ages of seven and eighteen. This compulsory schooling is provided free in establishments run by the state or local council, or for a fee in private institutions.
From age seven to ten, children attend primary school. They then graduate to a middle school until the age of fourteen when they go on to high school for a further four years. All high schools in Bulgaria follow the same curriculum and about 30% of students continue into some form of higher or vocational education.
Schools in Bulgaria have only two terms: September-January and February-June.
The options available to children aged 7-18.
International schools in Bulgaria Fee paying international schools teach the Bulgarian curriculum in the English language but children also have the opportunity to learn the Bulgarian language. Most of these schools are in Sofia but there is a sprinkling of them in other major cities including Varna and Plovdiv. Some international schools in Bulgaria cater almost exclusively for the children of diplomats and this is reflected in fees that may be as much as 9000 GBP per year.
Private schools in Bulgaria These schools teach the Bulgarian curriculum in Bulgarian but often have a strong specialism, typically in languages or sport. Students usually have to pass written and entrance examinations in maths and Bulgarian. They can be found in all the major cities and some larger towns. Fees range from 900 GBP to 1800 GBP.
State schools in Bulgaria Increased investment in the state education system in Bulgaria has improved standards to acceptable levels in recent years. Modern technology and facilities have been introduced across most of the country but there are still some schools in Bulgaria which are in a poor state of repair and have limited facilites. Be sure to inspect the local schools before committing to buy a Bulgarian home. All children entering the free state school system need to speak Bulgarian.
Setting up home in Bulgaria with children is a major decision.
How well your child adapts to the education system in Bulgaria, to a new language and a new culture can be greatly influenced by you. If you learn to speak Bulgarian, are able to communicate with their teachers and help with their homework, they will adjust more easily, quickly make friends and really settle into their new Bulgarian home. Unless they are attending one of the international schools in Bulgaria, you (or a private teacher) may have to teach them how to read and write in English at home.