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Family, childcare and education

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.

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.

Primary school (Volkschule/VS)
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.

New middle school (Neue Mittelschule/NMS) and 
General high school (Allgemeinbildende höhere Schule/AHS) – lower grade

10 to 14 years of age (5th to 8th school year)

The doors to the NMS are open for all pupils. There are also NMS with specializations, where assessment tests are required. In contrast to the NMS, 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 complete and in-depth general education along with making pupils more independent.

Polytechnic school (PTS)
14 to 15 years of age (9th school year)

This is a one-year education that prepares pupils for their professional life.

Full day care (6 to 14 years)
Information about full day care options at compulsory schools is provided by the regional education board.

Dual education: Apprenticeship and vocational school
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:

General high school (Allgemeinbildende höhere Schule/AHS) – upper grade
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.

Vocational middle and upper schools (BMHS)
14 to 17 or 19 years of age

Vocational middle schools (Berufsbildende mittlere Schulen/BMS) are one to four years in duration. The BMS gives 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 minimum of a 3 year BMS course, an advanced course can be taken leading to a school leaving certificate or diploma. For graduates of 4 year technical schools, there are special forms of subject-focused vocational colleges.

Vocational high schools (Berufsbildende höhere Schulen/BHS) provide a fundamental general education alongside a higher vocational education over five years, and finish with a school leaving certificate and diploma. A school leaving certificate entitles pupils to study at universities, technical colleges and pedagogic high schools, 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.

At studieren.at all high schools and education facilities in Upper Austria are listed with detailed information. 

Anton Bruckner International School

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 (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.

LISA | Europagymnasium 

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.

GRIBS (Gymnasium Ried im Innkreis Bilingual School)
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 – 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).

Maternity allowance

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.

Family allowance

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.

Internal revenue offices in Upper Austria: bmf.gv.at > Ämter & Behörden
Family allowance calculator: arbeiterkammer.at > Beratung > Familienbeihilfenrechner

Childcare allowance

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:

  • Receipt of family allowance for the child
  • Center of life for the child and parent making the application is in Austria
  • A shared household with the child (main place of residence)
  • Participation in the mother-child pass examinations
  • Compliance with the annual additional earnings limit
  • Right of residence in Austria (Settlement and Residence Card / NAG Card)

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. For further details please visit the following website:
>> Benefits and Financial Support for Parents

International Kindergarten of Upper Austria (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.

English Play School (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.  

Crèche/nurseries (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.

Kindergarten (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).

University or occupational childcare facilities
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.

Extended age Kindergarten groups
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.

All-day school (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.

School-based afternoon care
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.

After-school care
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).

After-school care centers in Upper Austria (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.

Holiday care
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.

More information:
>> OÖ Familienbund
>> Kinderfreunde

Childminders (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:

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.

Foto: Evelyn Hetzinger

Evelyn Hetzinger

All around Upper Austria


Business Upper Austria - OÖ Wirtschaftsagentur GmbH

Mobile: +43 664 8481271
Phone: +43 732 79810-5198
Foto: Bettina Török

Bettina Török

All around Upper Austria


Business Upper Austria - OÖ Wirtschaftsagentur GmbH

Mobile: +43 664 9642517
Phone: +43 732 79810-5060