Life for families in Upper Austria is very good, the setup of schools and childcare is well planned.
In Linz you will also find international I.B. schools to support your children during the settling-in process.
Please take a look at the following links to find out more about the Austrian school system, childcare options and allowances for families.
Upper Austria provides a wide variety of high-quality international education at a fair price. In this chapter, you will find general information about how the Austrian educational system is structured and a compact overview of educational institutions, student benefits and useful links for further information.
All children from ages 6 to 15 living in Austria must go to school. The classes are divided according to age. Visiting a public school does not cost anything, in contrast to private schools. Timetables define the duration of lessons. In case of illness or absence, the school has to be informed immediately.
State schools are free of charge, in contrast to private schools. The duration of lessons is laid out in timetables.
The school year, which starts in September, is divided into two semesters. The 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. Pupils’ performances are graded with the marks:
If a subject is graded as insufficient, the pupil has the chance to improve this by taking an exam. Some compulsory schools offer other forms of assessment.
Upper Austrian schools are closed on public holidays with discretionary school-free days: the latter being four to five days, which are partly decided by the schools and partly by the regional Board of Education. All schoolfree days can be found here: www.schulferien.org/oesterreich/ferien
As a rule, children are required to attend their local primary school according to their catchment area. A different school can be chosen, if this is agreed with the school management and the local authority. Enrollment for primary school takes place directly at the relevant school through a meeting between the school management, parent(s) and the child. The registration deadline given by the regional Board of Education is usually in November for the following school year. This is announced through a notice on the school door or a letter from the responsible managing authority. Following registration, information is often given at parents’ evenings, on request or on the school website.
For new pupils joining a school during the school year, the school management is the first point of contact. The child is placed in the appropriate class according to academic level and age, provided prerequisites are met. Children with inadequate language skills can be taught, with or without grading, for two years as special needs pupils. In some cases, these children are also offered classes in their own language in the afternoon. Relevant information is provided by the school management.
At the request of the parents or guardian, schooling for children and teenagers with special needs can take place either at a special school suited to the respective disability, or as integrative teaching at a joint school. Please contact the respective parish schools for further information.
Information about all-day supervision options at compulsory schools is provided by the regional Board of Education: https://www.bildung-ooe.gv.at/
The pupil’s ticket (Schüler-Ticket) provided by the Upper Austrian Transport Association (Oberösterreichischer Verkehrsverbund/OÖVV) allows subsidised travel between the place of residence and school on school days for the purpose of attending classes if the general criteria are met. The OÖVV apprentice’s ticket (LehrlingsTicket) allows subsidised travel between the place of residence and place of apprenticeship training on workdays for the purpose of work if the general criteria are met. Application forms are generally available at every OÖVV branch. The OÖVV semester ticket (Semesterkarte) allows travel between the place of residence and place of study in Upper Austria for five months. Further information and prerequisites regarding the tickets and timetables can be found at: www.ooevv.at/?seite=schueler-undlehrlinge&sprache=DE
The multilingual online adviser Schülerbeihilfen provided by the Department of Education allows you to check the general eligibility requirements (social needs, time of residence in Austria, etc.) for different types of school allowance, and guides you to the correct application form.
6 to 10 years of age (1st to 4th school year)
The first day of school in primary schools is the second Monday in September for children who have reached their sixth birthday, provided they are ready. If this is not the case, it is possible to arrange with the school management for the child to attend preschool.
10 to 14 years of age (5th to 8th school year)
The MS is open to all pupils. There are also MS with specialisations, where assessment tests are required. Through a sound educational and professional focus, pupils receive advice based on their strengths, allowing them to make more informed decisions on their further education and career at the end of their schooling. In contrast to the MS, the AHS can decline pupils, even when all criteria are fulfilled. The AHS lower grade is aimed at high-performing pupils, with the goal of providing a comprehensive and in-depth general education along with making pupils more independent.
14 to 15 years of age (9th school year)
This is a one-year education that prepares pupils for professional life.
The schooling covers general knowledge, career guidance and basic education. An orientation phase at the beginning of the school year facilitates getting familiar with the world of work. The choice of career or apprenticeship is supported through professional certification in apprentice workshops, external institutions and work experience in companies.
From 15 years of age (2 to 4 years)
An apprenticeship is open to all teenagers, provided they have completed the nine years of compulsory school. The access to an apprenticeship is not bound to a certain school-leaving qualification. The training takes place in two locations, one being a company where the apprenticeship takes place, and the other being a vocational school. The apprentice has a training relationship with the company and is simultaneously a student of the vocational school. The apprenticeship (mostly three years) is completed with a final apprenticeship examination.
High schools are distinguished by their focus, which is either general education (Allgemeinbildend/AHS) or vocational training (Berufsbildend/BMHS) with different subjects such as sales, technical, tourism or social studies. It is not compulsory to accept applications, the school management makes the final decision. Possible high schools are:
14 to 18 years of age
After the NMS or AHS lower grade, students can continue their education at the AHS upper grade. The AHS provides a good general education, and certain locations offer specialist subjects. The upper grade of the AHS is four years in duration and ends with the school leaving certificate (Matura), which allows further study at universities, technical colleges or pedagogic schools.
14 to 17 or 19 years of age
Intermediate Vocational middle schools (Berufsbildende mittlere Schulen/BMS) last one to four years. The BMS provides a partial vocational education (one or two years) or a complete vocational education (final exam after three or four years, for example business school). After completing a BMS course of at least 3 years, an advanced course can be taken leading to a school leaving certificate or diploma. For graduates of 4-year technical schools, there are specialised vocational colleges focussing on specific subjects.
Higher Vocational Schools (Berufsbildende höhere Schulen/BHS) provide a sound general education along with a higher vocational education over five years, ending with a school leaving certificate and diploma. A school leaving certificate entitles pupils to study at universities, technical colleges and colleges of education, and a diploma examination allows access to regulated professions, according to the industrial regulations.
In some cases, an entry or aptitude examination is needed for a vocational school. must be taken to register at a vocational school. Please find more information here: www.berufsbildendeschulen.at
In Upper Austria, there are a range of further education institutes alongside the tertiary education offerings, for example the vocational training institute BFI (Berufsförderungsinstitut), which offers both professional education for employees and training and retraining for job seekers.
The Institute for Economic Promotion (Wirtschaftsförderungsinstitut/WIFI) is an organisation specialising in professional adult education. It offers practical training and further education, from the start of your career to academic completion, along with free advice on German classes in German and English.
The Adult Education Centre (Volkshochschule/VHS) follows a comprehensive approach with programmes offering something for everyone. www.limak.at and www.qualityaustria.com In addition, there are organisations such as LIMAK in Linz, the first Business School in Austria (postgraduate education) or Quality Austria dealing with topics such as training and personal certification.
Anton Bruckner International School (Schulverein der Kreuzschwestern) founded in 2008, is a co-educational, independent international school. It is the only international school in Upper Austria to offer the Primary Years Programme and Middle Years Programme authorised by the International Baccalaureate Organisation (www.ibo.org).
ABIS currently provides an education to over 200 students from 48 different nations, aged from 4.5 to 16 years. The first MYP graduates will change to the Diploma Programme school in 2020/21.The approach to learning and teaching is guided by the International Baccalaureate curriculum framework.
Anton Bruckner International School (ABIS) 4.5 to 16 years of age (from 1st to 10th grade) Anton Bruckner International School is a private school with public status, organisationally integrated into the Schulverein der Kreuzschwestern. The school is a candidate school for the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the only primary school in Upper Austria authorised to offer the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP). Further information can be found at: www.abis.school
LISA is a public school in Austria with instruction in English and offering students the possibility of graduating with both the Austrian Matura as well as the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma. Students are admitted starting the 5th school year (1st class AHS) are taught the Austrian curriculum and are eligible to graduate after completion of the 12th school. The I.B. will be introduced in the higher classes for children who want to achieve the IB Diploma.
10 to 18 years of age (from 5th to 12th grade). As an international school, LISA is part of the state-funded Europagymnasium (high school) in Linz-Auhof, and offers the International Baccalaureate (IB Diploma, www.ibo.org) alongside the standard school leaving certificate. Based on the AHS and IB curriculums, general education content is delivered in English using project-oriented and interdisciplinary techniques. Information about the school, enrollment procedures and prices are provided at: www.ibo.org
10 to 14/18 years of age (from 5th to 8th/12th grade) The public secondary academic school Gymnasium Ried offers a bilingual (German – English) class for students aged 10 to 14/18 in Ried im Innkreis, implementing German as well as English as the language of instruction from the first day of school. Based on the Austrian curriculum, the programme is aimed at young people who seek a broad and balanced education on their way to the Austrian A-levels (Matura). Further information can be found on: https://bilingual.jimdosite.com/
The regional Board of Education is the control centre, the highest school authority and employer of teachers. It is also the point of contact for all pupils in Upper Austria. The institution’s website lists all state and private schools in Upper Austria: https://www.bildung-ooe.gv.at/Schule-und-Unterricht/Schulen2.html
During the maternity protection period (Mutterschutz / eight weeks before until eight weeks after childbirth) women are not allowed to work. From the beginning of this period, employed women can apply for maternity allowance (Wochengeld), which is a financial support to compensate for the loss of income. This is normally paid monthly in arrears and applied for at the responsible social insurance authority. A confirmation of employment and salary must be presented to receive maternity allowance, or a medical certificate with the predicted birth date. If someone is already receiving childcare allowance for a further child, the notification of entitlement to benefits has to be presented.
Parents receive a so-called family allowance (Familienbeihilfe), which is independent of income. This can be applied for at the local internal revenue office. The basic requirements for entitlement to family allowance are a right to residence and a center of one’s life in Austria, in addition to sharing a household with the child. Further information can be found in the link below under https://www.oesterreich.gv.at/startseite.html
Internal revenue offices in Upper Austria: https://www.bmf.gv.at/services/aemter-behoerden.html
Family allowance calculator: https://www.arbeiterkammer.at/beratung/berufundfamilie/BeihilfenundFoerderung/Familienbeihilfe.html#heading_Wie_hoch_ist_die_monatliche_Familienbeihilfe_
Further information and details about allowances can be found under https://www.help.gv.at/Portal.Node/hlpd/public/content/143/Seite.1430500.html
From childbirth onwards, parents are entitled to childcare allowance (Kinderbetreuungsgeld). However, it should be noted that if maternity allowance is received, the childcare allowance is suspended until this ends. The prerequisites for entitlement to childcare allowance are the following:
Childcare allowance can only be applied for once the child is born, and the amount is dependent on the compliance and proof of the first ten mother-child pass examinations
There are different timescales and financial options. All details about the various models of payment can be found under www.help.gv.at/Portal.Node/hlpd/public/en
(IKU, 1 to 6 years)
The municipal authority of Linz runs two nursery groups (1 to 3 years) and two Kindergarten groups (3 to 6 years) in the Poschachervilla, whereby one group in each is subsidized by Upper Austrian businesses. Native English and German speakers care for the children in an open house. The municipal authority of Linz is the point of contact. Registration as soon as possible due to high demand is recommended.
(2.5 to 6 years)
This private Kindergarten has five groups and prepares children for their further life in a playful way, with pedagogues and native English and German speakers. More details about this bilingual Kindergarten in the center of Linz, including costs and registration can be found at playschool.at.
(under 3 years of age)
A crèche/nursery provides supervision, education and the upbringing of children up to three years of age. Normally the acceptance of children is, in addition to the age restriction, based on the parents being employed, looking for work or being in education. There are some exceptions to this. Opening times of these facilities vary; some are open the whole day throughout the year. However, this should be clarified at the registration.
(from 3 years of age until school)
Kindergartens offer supplementary care for children, supporting physical, mental and spiritual development. Generally, a half-day visit to Kindergarten from September until June, excluding holidays, is compulsory for the year before starting school (at the age of six).
Company childcare facilities are close to the employer and are aimed at the children of employees. The HR department or worker’s council is usually the right point of contact for enrollment.
There are extended age groups in some Kindergartens, which accept children from two years of age (in exceptional cases from 18 months) or at primary school age. This model of childcare is usually found in small rural areas.
(6 to 14 years)
All-day schools spread lessons, learning and free-time over the whole day, based on a pedagogical overall concept. This is not just an extension of teaching hours, but rather a distribution over the whole day suited to age with individualized lessons and other child teaching methods for individual, independent, creative, interdisciplinary and social learning. There is compulsory attendance between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. In some cases, working parents can bring their children as early as 7 in the morning for breakfast, with a snack and lunch menu also being provided. For information about local all-day schools, contact the local or municipal authority or the regional education board. An all-day school can also be seen as a form of childcare for children aged from 6 to 14.
This kind of care, also known as Schulische Nachmittagsbetreuung or NABE, does not offer lessons, just supervised learning and free-time which is individually tailored or on a specific theme. The school-based afternoon care normally lasts until 4 p.m. Sometimes there is the possibility just to attend on certain days. Parents may pay a fee for this service.
This form of afternoon care is not run by the school, but is sometimes held directly at the school. The operators can be public (local or municipal authority) or private institutes (for example Caritas or Kinderfreunde).
(from 6 years of age)
School children can visit an after-school care center (known as a Hort). The opening and holiday times depend on the operator and differ significantly. Normally these centers are open in the afternoon, and a few also open before lessons start. In the after-school care center, children can have lunch, unwind, do their homework independently or take part in free-time activities. If there is no direct relationship with a school, there is no targeted practice of school curriculum material. Sometimes after-school care centers are also open on school-free days, although this should be confirmed with the operator at registration. In terms of timing, after-school care centers are a very flexible form of afternoon care. Some centers are attached to a school, whereas others provide for children from more than one school.
Some institutional and private facilities offer holiday and summer childcare. If this is of interest, parents should clarify if it is offered when registering for care (at a nursery, kindergarten or after-school care center). Additionally, there are summer care projects like holiday or adventure weeks or summer camps.
(independent of age)
Childminders offer care within their family environment at home, often with more flexible care-times than facilities. The childminder cooks and arranges free time activities, for which a fostering approval is required: tagesmuetter-ooe.org
Independent of whether a private or public childcare is desired, it is highly recommended to investigate local childcare options directly after childbirth and to register as soon as possible! If the registration cannot be made directly at the facility or carrier (operator such as church, association, municipal authority), the registration forms can be found at the local authority in rural areas or municipal authority in Linz, Steyr and Wels or, in some cases, they are available online.