Are you considering enrolling your child in primary school in the Czech Republic? As a parent, it's essential to understand the main rights, obligations, and procedures involved in the education system. This comprehensive guide provides valuable information to help you navigate the process and make informed decisions for your child's education.


Equal Access to Education


In the Czech Republic, every child, regardless of their nationality or residency status, has equal access to primary education. Foreign children have the same rights as Czech citizens, including free education, access to school meals, and participation in extracurricular activities and clubs. This ensures that every child has an equal opportunity to receive education and thrive in a supportive environment.


Compulsory Schooling in the Czech Republic


Compulsory schooling in the Czech Republic begins at the age of 6 and lasts for a minimum of 9 years. It is mandatory for children to complete their education by the age of 17. This requirement also applies to children of foreigners who stay in the country for more than 90 days. It is important for parents to understand that failing to register or send their child to primary school is considered a legal offense. The Child Welfare Office (OSPOD) oversees these matters and may impose penalties for non-compliance.


Choosing a Primary School


When selecting a primary school for your child, you have several options to consider. The Czech Republic offers public, private, and church primary schools.

  • Public schools are founded by the region, city, district, or province and offer free education.

  • Private or church schools, on the other hand, require tuition fees.

  • Some primary schools may specialize in specific areas such as languages, sports, mathematics, or arts and may have stricter admission criteria.

It's important to research different schools and choose one that aligns with your preferences, such as proximity to your home or workplace, specialization, reputation, or availability of Czech language courses for foreigners. It's worth noting that your chosen school may reject your child's enrollment if they do not have sufficient places, especially in specialized schools where certain criteria or entrance exams must be met.


Enrollment Process


The enrollment process for the first year of primary school typically takes place in April.

Children who have turned 6 years old by August 31st must be registered. Specific deadlines and conditions can be found on the school's website or the website of the respective city or district.

During the registration process, both parents and the child must appear in person. One of the parents will fill in the necessary forms while the school teachers interview the child. Often, there are simple tasks or assessments to evaluate the child's readiness for school, including communication, socialization, and motor skills. Within 30 days, parents will receive a written decision regarding their child's enrollment. The list of accepted children is usually published on the school's website or posted on the school's door, with each child assigned a registration number.


If a child is not ready for school, parents can request a deferral of school attendance using a form provided by the school.

The application must be submitted no later than May 31st. The deferral requires written endorsement from the pedagogical and psychological counseling (PPC), along with a doctor's or clinical psychologist's advice. School enrollment can be postponed until the child's 8th birthday. If enrollment is deferred, the child is permanently registered at the school where they initially applied. Additionally, the child may attend a preparatory group (přípravná třída) established by the region or province near the primary school. The purpose of the preparatory group is to help children level up their development and prepare themfor formal education. It is important to note that the year of attendance at a preparatory school does not count towards compulsory schooling.


Enrollment of Older Children During the School Year


Parents have the flexibility to enroll their child in primary school at any time during the school year. It is advisable to schedule a personal meeting with the school principal to discuss the enrollment process. It is also recommended to submit a written application, including an application for primary education and an admission letter. Based on the written application, the school must issue a written decision on the child's enrollment or refusal. In the case of refusal, parents have the right to appeal to the school founder, who will assess the reasons for the refusal, check the availability of places, and assist in enrolling the child in another suitable school. It's important to note that the reason for refusal of enrollment cannot be ignorance or poor knowledge of the Czech language.


Required Documents for Enrollment


When enrolling your child in a primary school, certain documents are typically required. These include:


1. The child's identification document, such as a birth certificate or passport, for identification purposes. It's important to note that the school is not entitled to check the legality of the child's stay, the validity or type of visa. Undocumented children also have the right to education.


2. A document from one of the parents, such as an international passport or passport of a citizen, to identify the child's legal representative. The school needs this document for administrative purposes but does not have the right to check the legality of the child's stay.


3. A document proving the child's address, such as a rental agreement. The school uses this document to determine whether the child belongs to the school's catchment area.


4. If the child has previously attended school abroad, a certificate/transcript or other relevant documents from the previous school may be required for academic assessment purposes.


5. The child's insurance card. While the school checks this information, the absence of insurance cannot be a reason for refusing a child's enrollment.


After Enrollment


Once your child is enrolled in primary school, they will become part of a class and continue with the same classmates for subsequent years. For children entering classes other than the first grade, the school will assess their current level of knowledge based on report cards or through knowledge testing. The school will then place the child in a class that is ideally suited to their age or a maximum of one class lower.


Children with a foreign language background (OMJ) are eligible for supportive measures during grades 1 to 3. These measures are tailored to the individual pupil's level of Czech language proficiency and may include additional time for assignments, provision of a dictionary, special textbooks, adjusted grading, extra Czech language lessons, or the support of a teacher's assistant. For level 2 and 3 measures, a conclusion from a pedagogical and psychological consultation is required.


As a parent, it's important to communicate with the school about your child's strengths, interests, and any previous achievements in academics, sports, arts, or other areas. This information can help the school provide appropriate support and opportunities for your child's development and well-being.


The school is responsible for notifying parents of any significant changes related to their child's education, especially those requiring parental consent. This may include examinations in pedagogical and psychological consultations, transfers to other schools, or any other matters that impact the child's educational journey.