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If your kid attends a Greek school, this guide can provide you with the basics of what you need to know, including:

  • School hours and yearly schedule
  • School meetings and trips
  • Role of religion
  • Health requirements
  • Absences

According to the Ministry of Education, formal schooling in Greece is compulsory for all 5- to 15-year-old children, and all child migrants and asylum-seekers have the right to enrol in public schools, even if they lack paperwork. Schools — kindergartens, primary schools or high schools — must also accept all children without discrimination.

The Greek school system may work differently from what you’re used to, so if you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to message us on Facebook.

What school details should I take note of?

You can gather the following information in one place, whether that's on a piece of paper or your phone, for your reference:

  • Name of the school
  • School address
  • School phone numbers
  • School operating hours

What are typical school hours?

School starts in the morning at 8:15 a.m. and ends in the afternoon either at:

  • 1:15 p.m. in schools with regular operating hours
  • 4:00 p.m. in schools with extended operating hours

Note that Greek public schools do not provide transportation to and from school, so you may need to drop off and pick up your younger children at the relevant times above.

Teachers also advise parents to ensure that their kids have at least 8 hours of sleep at night so they can concentrate during school hours. In case kids are staying longer at school, it will be good to have a snack in their bags.

What does the school year calendar look like?

The school year in Greece begins around September 10 and ends on:

  • June 15 for kindergartens and primary school
  • June 30 for junior high school

During the school year, the school will be closed:

  • Every Saturday and Sunday
  • During the Christmas holidays
  • During the Easter holidays 
  • On the national holidays of October 28 and March 25; on the previous working day, the school will hold a celebration for the kids in the morning, and they can leave after it finishes.
  • On November 17, there will be a school celebration for the Athens Polytechnic uprising that occurred in November 1973.
  • On January 30, the Three Holy Hierarchs school holiday
  • On Whit Monday
  • On Clean Monday
  • On May 1, Labor Day
  • On October 3; only schools in the Athens municipality will be closed.
  • On December 12; only schools in the Piraeus municipality will be closed.

Students of a different faith from Christian Orthodox have the right to skip the religion class. Students of the Muslim religion are allowed to be absent from the Religion course (thriskeftika) and on the following Muslim holidays: Ramazan Bayramı and Eid Qurban.

Are there health requirements for my child to attend school?

You will need a health certificate (in Greek, it is called ΑΔΥΜ - Ατομικό Δελτίο Υγείας Μαθητή), which is a paper signed by a doctor who has examined your kid and certifies that he or she can attend gym class.

You will need to bring this health certificate to the school when your kid starts:

  • The first year of primary school
  • The fourth year of primary school
  • The first year of junior high school
  • The first year of lyceum

When you visit a doctor who will examine your kid and provide this health certificate, you also need to have your kid’s vaccination card with you.

Should I pack lunch for my child?

Schools with regular operating hours finish classes at 1:15 p.m., which is lunchtime in Greece, so students usually eat lunch at home. You can pack a light snack for kids to eat during the breaks, such as a sandwich, piece of pie or fruit. There is also a canteen in the school where your child can buy snacks, but this is often costly.

If your kids attend school until 4:00 p.m., you can pack them a regular lunch to eat after 1:15 p.m.

Do Greek schools have a dress code?

Greek public schools do not have a dress code. However, kids are required to wear sports clothes and appropriate shoes whenever they have gym class. You can check the lesson schedule to know which days gym classes are taking place.

How do teachers and parents usually communicate?

Anytime the school principal or teachers have something important to communicate, they will place a note for you in your child’s school bag. The note could be a general announcement or something of particular interest to you or your child.

You can call an interpreter at the school if he or she is available or ask someone who can translate from Greek so you can read the note and respond accordingly.

How do teachers organize school trips?

Schools organize field trips for students almost every month.

The school will send you a note with details a few days before the field trip. For your kid to join, you will need to fill in this note and sign it to grant permission.

Some school trips may involve transportation and/or tickets for a theatre or an activity. In these cases, you will have to pay an amount ranging from € 3 to € 10.

You can call your kid's teacher if you cannot afford to pay but still want your child to join the trip. Whenever possible, teachers can arrange free entrance or ticket fees.

When can I meet with the teachers?

Almost every month during the school year, primary school teachers will allow you to meet to discuss your kid’s academic performance.

For junior high schools, lyceums and EPALs, you will receive a detailed schedule with all the dates and times each teacher is available to meet with parents.

You can ask to meet with a teacher whenever you feel necessary or whenever you have something important to discuss. All you need to do is to call the school and ask for a meeting with the teacher.

How do I receive my child’s grades?

To receive your kids’ school grades, you will be invited to the school:

  • Every 3 months for primary school
  • Every 4 months for junior high school and lyceum

Is my child allowed to miss classes?

If your child cannot attend school, you’ll need to inform the school principal or the kid’s teacher early in the morning, preferably around 8:15 a.m.

Every student must attend school from the beginning of the school year until the end. Each hour the student is absent in school is counted as one absence.

Each student is allowed to have up to 114 hours of absences during the school year. If a student misses more than this, the student will be asked to repeat the same grade the following school year.

What if my kid is sick?

If your child is sick, teachers advise keeping your kid at home to prevent spreading the virus or flu.

You’ll need to inform the school principal or the kid’s teacher early in the morning.

If there is an interpreter available at the school, you can call the interpreter to help. If not, you can find someone who speaks Greek and ask him or her to make the phone call for you.

Do Greek schools teach religion?

Yes. Most of Greece’s population are Christian Orthodox, a religion that plays a big role in Greek education. Students typically start the school day with a morning prayer and take 1 to 2 periods a week of religion classes.

Participation in Religious Studies

The course of Religious Studies is compulsory for all students in Greece and is taught in the schools of Primary and Secondary Education, according to the official educational schedules.

However, non-Christian Orthodox students, non-religious or heterodox or non-religious, can be exempted, by submitting a solemn declaration at the school, mentioning that:

On my own responsibility and knowing the sanctions (3), provided by the provisions of par. 6 of article 22 of Law 1599/1986, I declare that: Religious conscience does not allow my child to participate in a religious class. Therefore, I want my child ………………………………………, a student in …………………………… class, to b excluded of the lesson of the religious, the recitation of prayers, the participation in churches and in general the participation in all kinds of religious activities and events. Please also inform me in time for planned activities in order to ensure his absence from them.

The solemn declaration must be submitted in the Greek language. You can find the appropriate document here translated.

You can ask an interpreter, if available, or someone who speaks Greek to fill in this form for you so you can give it to the principal. Then the school principal and the teachers will decide what the student can do during the time of the religion classes.

Every once in a while, the whole school goes to church, especially:

  • Before the Christmas and Easter holidays
  • On the national holidays of October 28 and March 25
  • On January 30, the Three Holy Hierarchs' school holiday

It’s up to the teachers to decide on the exact dates of the church visits.

Students who don’t attend the religion class will either stay at school and do a different activity or if the parents approve, they can also join the church visit.

Some basic Greek vocabulary for school

Read about the school glossary