Austrian school system

The aim of the school system is to enable children to take the educational path that is right for them individually.

A well-educated, productive and skilled population is considered of fundamental importance for Austria’s social and economic prosperity. Education is intended to give individuals the attitude and competencies to participate effectively in society, the economy and cultural life. There is general compulsory schooling for all children who permanently reside in Austria. This means that compulsory schooling applies not only to Austrian children, but to all children who permanently reside in Austria, irrespective of their citizenship.

In public schools timetables do not cater for full-day education. Afternoon care is dealt with separately and parents have to register their children to get a place.


The school year and enrolment

Compulsory schooling in Austria is laid down in the Federal Constitution. It begins in Austria on 1 September following the completion of the sixth year of life and lasts for nine school years. A year of life is completed at the end of the day preceding the birthday. Therefore, for a child born on 1 September, compulsory schooling begins on his or her 6th birthday. If a child has its 6th birthday on 2 September or later, it is not compulsory to attend school until 1 September of the following year.

The school year starts in September and is divided into two semesters. Pupils receive a report in February and a certificate at the end of the school year in early July. There are nine weeks of summer holidays between July and September.

Austrian schools are closed on public holidays with discretionary school-free days. These are partly decided by the schools and partly by the regional Board of Education.


School Holidays Carinthia 2023

German language skills

Enrolment during the school year and German language skills

The school management is the first point of contact. The child is placed in the appropriate class according to academic level and age. Children with inadequate language skills can be taught for two years as special needs pupils. In some cases, these children are also offered classes in their own language in the afternoon.

Equivalent education options

Children of school age can also complete their compulsory education by taking part in equivalent education (for example at a private school that is not open to the general public, at home, at a private school that does not correspond to any of the different types of school regulated in Austria or at a school outside Austria). Such schooling must be reported to the local Education Directorate (Bildungsdirektion) and it must be established that the teaching system is indeed equivalent to that provided via the state school system.