Kindergarten, Primary and Secondary Education

Find out about education during the early years, and at primary and secondary schools in Malta...

Pre-school Childcare

State-run and private childcare centres offer places for children aged between three months and three years and are generally open between Monday and Friday from 08:00-16:00.

Staff at both state and private centres are fully qualified and all establishments have to follow rules, regulations and principles established by Malta's Department for Social Welfare.

Kindergarten/Pre-school

Kindergarten education for children aged three to five is not compulsory in Malta, but many parents take up the option of sending their children to school early. At this stage, children pick up basic literacy and social skills through informal play-based learning and are introduced gently to a school environment.

Primary School

Children in Malta and neighbouring Gozo begin 11 years of compulsory schooling at the age of five. Primary school lasts for five years for children aged 5 to 11 (Years 1 to 6).

State-run primary schools have been mixed-sex since 1980 and many private establishments now accept both boys and girls. Church-run primary schools still tend to be single-sex.

A complete list of state, church and private primary and secondary schools can be found under the “Education” tab on the Maltese Ministry of Education website.

Curriculum

Children study the following subjects during their primary school years: English, Maltese, mathematics, religion, drama, art, social studies, science, music, ICT (information and communication technology), physical education and PSCD (personal and social development).

Pupils start taking formal exams from Year 4 (age eight), which test their abilities in a range of subjects such as English, Maltese and mathematics.

Children with no knowledge of Maltese are often offered additional lessons. At the end of Year 6, children take an end of primary school exam to assess their academic abilities and progress and then move on to a lower secondary school, generally in their area of residence.

In 2014 voluntary banding (similar to streaming) was introduced, which allows schools that opt in to the scheme to create classes of pupils with similar abilities.

Secondary Education

After completing their primary education, pupils move on ton middle and secondary school, where education is compulsory from the age of 11 to 16. After a two-year lower secondary education cycle (Form 1 and Form 2), pupils can select certain subjects they wish to study for the final three years of their compulsory education (Forms 3 to 5).

Pupils must sit Secondary Education Certificate (SEC) examinations in English, Maltese, mathematics, a science subject and a modern language, and can also sit as many other exams as they wish. SECs replaced GCE O-Levels in 1994.

Pupils who decide to stay on at school after their compulsory education ends can attend a Sixth Form or College, where they can take a range of academic or vocational courses.

Those who wish to head on to university generally study at this stage for MATSEC A-Level examinations, which are based on the International Baccalaureate.

Students must pass two A-Levels and four intermediate level subjects in order to be considered for a place at the University of Malta.

Vocational and professional courses are also available at a variety of colleges, such as the nine-campus Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology, or the Institute for Tourism Studies. There are also a number of private higher and further education institutions.