Moving to Italy with children

Moving abroad with children can be a daunting prospect: moving schools, learning a new language, adapting to a new culture. With careful consideration and planning, though, you can put these worries to the back of your mind and focus on the excitement and opportunity of experiencing a new way of life.
When moving to Italy, as in any country where English is not the main language, children will be faced with a steep learning curve and will generally be required to integrate much faster than their parents. Fortunately however, children tend to pick up the new language much quicker than their parents. Both when it comes to keeping up with education and forming friendships, a basic understanding of the Italian language will go a long way towards ensuring integration is as smooth as possible. If you are considering moving to Italy, Cadogan Tate will assist you every step of the way – from your first enquiry to unpacking at your new home, we are here to help and advise you.
Regardless of nationality, schooling is compulsory from the age of six until the age of 17. The education system in Italy is broken down as follows:
Scuola dell’Infanzia/Preschool: 3 – 6 years old (non-compulsory)
Scuola Primaria/Primary school: 6 – 11 years old
Scuola Secondaria di Primo Grado/Middle school: 11 – 14 years old
Scuola Secondaria di Secondo Grado/High school: 14 – 17 or 19 years old (depending on qualification)
The Italian school system has a relatively strong reputation but is known for focussing on rote memorisation and obedience rather than creativity, experimentation and understanding. Though not likely to be a significant hurdle for English-speaking expat students, foreign language teaching in Italy is generally quite poor, with just 100 hours of experience required to teach languages at a primary level.
As a result, the preferred option for many expat families is to send their children to an international school. In Rome, St. George’s British International School educates children from the age of three until the age of 18. The school follows the English curriculum: SAT assessments at the end of key stage 2 and 3, and GCSEs at age 16. In the final year, students study for the International Baccalaureate. To the North, the British School of Milan is an equally reputable institution which offers a similar curriculum.
In Italy, basic healthcare is available to all European citizens but the range of options is not as comprehensive as the British NHS. Consequently, expats may wish to opt for a hybrid of both private and public healthcare for their families to make up for these gaps.
Another thing to bear in mind is that the social culture of Italy is quite different compared to back home. In Italy, it’s normal for parents to take their children to restaurants and bars late into the night, letting them do as they please. Like the adults, Italian children tend to be very socially robust – noisy, confident and full of life. For both parents and children, this may be a slight culture shock.
Overall, expats are likely to find the Italian culture more relaxed than back home. Combined with the pleasant climate, fascinating history and friendly people, parents and children alike can expect to benefit from experiencing life in this remarkable country.
If you are considering moving to Italy, Cadogan Tate will assist you every step of the way – from your first enquiry to unpacking at your new home, we are here to help and advise you. For more details about Cadogan Tate’s specialist international removals services from London, click here.
Information correct at time of publication.