CYPRUS: Time to start mapping your child\’s school career

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IT is the start of the new school year and education is on the mind of every parent. Newspapers are carrying back-to-school articles, private schools are looking for students, private tutors are touting for business.


So, it’s a good time to start plotting the course of your child’s education, even if your son or daughter won’t be starting school for a year or two yet.

For this sort of planning, the sooner the better. And that is particularly true for expats, who may not be familiar with the education system in Cyprus.

They will need to visit schools, compare costs and teaching methods and – probably the most useful check of all – talk to other parents who have been in the same position.

The biggest issue for many expat parents is whether to have their children educated through the state system or at a private school.

Many feel they have no choice because state schools in the Republic teach through Greek. However, if you are talking about a child of primary school age, this need not be a problem.

Young children are adaptable and should have no difficulty with the language. If you intend making your life in Cyprus, this immersion in local culture will be an obvious advantage to your children in making friends and a building a life here.

If a different language is spoken in the home, you will have bilingual children. What’s not to like?

If English is your native tongue, you will find, as your children progress through the education system, that this language is taught to an extremely high standard in state schools here.

And there’s a big financial incentive – there are no fees for expat children attending Cypriot schools.

Private primary schools are regulated under a law of 1971. They must teach the national curriculum as laid down by the Ministry of Education and Culture. They must teach Greek, but they do not necessarily have to teach through Greek.  

Policy varies from school to school, so you will need to check it out.

Expat parents with older children, who have not come through the local primary system, will inevitably think of a private school or, at very least, employing tutors and organising extra lessons.

Even if language is not a problem they may still seek additional coaching because the Apolyterion, the Cyprus school-leaving certificate, does not always equate with similar tests in the UK and the US, and students who plan to go to those countries, for work or further education, may wish to acquire another qualification such as the International Baccalaureate, Britain’s GCSE or Ireland’s Leaving Certificate.

Many expats in Cyprus send their children to a private international school. These schools mostly follow a US or UK curriculum structure.

While English will be the primary language, several languages are usually taught. Admission and enrolment processes vary from school to school. 

International schools can be expensive. Don’t expect any change from €3,000 a year and you can pay as much as €12,000. So, shop around. Talk to other parents and take stock of what the schools have to offer.

The most important piece of advice I give to parents when it comes to investing in your children’s education is to plan ahead and plan well.

Education fees are rising sharply, and I know of families who have come unstuck and had to sell assets just to educate their kids.

Getting the best advice possible is the first step. My company, the Woodbrook Group, will be happy to help you here.

Our financial plans are individually tailored to meet our clients’ specific needs.

Our team of financial experts will work with you to find the right education plan to suit your children’s requirements.

Again, early planning is vital. Many of our clients have financial plans for their children’s education in place before they are born. Each individual plan is reviewed every month.

Plotting the course of your child’s education is never easy but, with good planning, you can at least avoid the financial worries.