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Italy:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

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Overview Italy

Contents

Italy:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Italy:Historical Development

Italy:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Italy:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Italy:Political and Economic Situation

Italy:Organisation and Governance

Italy:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Italy:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Italy:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Italy:Organisation of Private Education

Italy:National Qualifications Framework

Italy:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Italy:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Italy:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Italy:Funding in Education

Italy:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Italy:Higher Education Funding

Italy:Adult Education and Training Funding

Italy:Early Childhood Education and Care

Italy:Organisation of Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Italy:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Italy:Assessment in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

Italy:Organisation of Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Italy:Teaching and Learning in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Italy:Assessment in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

Italy:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Italy:Primary Education

Italy:Organisation of Primary Education

Italy:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Italy:Assessment in Primary Education

Italy:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Italy:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Italy:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

Italy:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

Italy:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Italy:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Italy:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Italy:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Italy:Higher Education

Italy:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Italy:First Cycle Programmes

Italy:Bachelor

Italy:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Italy:Second Cycle Programmes

Italy:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Italy:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Italy:Adult Education and Training

Italy:Distribution of Responsibilities

Italy:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Italy:Main Providers

Italy:Main Types of Provision

Italy:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Italy:Teachers and Education Staff

Italy:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Italy:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Italy:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Italy:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Management and Other Education Staff

Italy:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Italy:Management Staff for Higher Education

Italy:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Italy:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Quality Assurance

Italy:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Italy:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Educational Support and Guidance

Italy:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Italy:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Italy:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Italy:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Italy:Mobility and Internationalisation

Italy:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Mobility in Higher Education

Italy:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Italy:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Italy:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Italy:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Italy:National Reforms in School Education

Italy:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Italy:National Reforms in Higher Education

Italy:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Italy:European Perspective

Italy:Legislation

Italy:Glossary

Types of Institutions

Lower secondary education is offered by State and publicly subsidised (paritarie) lower secondary schools, which are present nationwide. 

Comprehensive institutes can be set up with the aim of ensuring didactic continuity within the same education cycle, consisting of a primary school, a lower secondary school and a pre-primary school, all run by a single school manager.

Finally, compulsory education can also be completed through home education or at private institutions that are neither State run nor publicly subsidised schools

There are not other types of lower secondary schools.

Geographical Accessibility

The Constitution of the Italian Republic (art. 33 and 34) establishes that the State must provide access to education to all young people living in the country, regardless of the geographical condition of the area they live in and of their individual social and economic situation.

The central and branch administrations of the State, as well as regional, provincial and local administrations (municipalities) are responsible for reaching this goal.

The Regions are responsible for the general planning of the educational offer and of the school network. In this way, resources can be used more rationally and the school system can be run more efficiently.

To encourage school attendance of all and implement the universal right to study, various services and support measure are available. Of these services, transport is the responsibility of municipalities in accordance with criteria established at regional level. Transport services for pupils with special needs are free of charge.

Admission Requirements and Choice of School

Enrolment in lower secondary school is compulsory for pupils possessing the admission certificate delivered at the end of primary school. Pupils attending state or paritarie schools are not required to sit for a final examination to pass from primary to lower secondary school, because examinations are only required at the end of each cycle of education (the end of the first cycle coincides with the end of lower secondary school).

Pupils attending a private school or receiving primary home education are admitted to mainstream lower secondary schooling only after passing a qualifying examination (esame di idoneità) in a State or paritaria primary school. However, candidates must hold the admission certificate to the first grade of lower secondary school.

Generally, as for primary schools, parents are free to choose which school to send their children. However, limitations may be due to a lack of available facilities or the lack of school staff assigned to each school by the school administration. Each school will establish its own criteria for the enrolment of students in case applications exceed the number of places available. As this level of education is compulsory, schools and local authorities must work closely together to guarantee the right of all to study. The primary school submits admission applications directly to the chosen lower secondary school.

At enrolment, students and their parents sign a 'Joint responsibility agreement'. This document details the rights and duties (e.g. use of mobile telephones and electronic devices at school) of all stakeholders in the school community, i.e. the school itself, the students and their parents.

Age Levels and Grouping of Pupils

Lower secondary education lasts 3 years and is generally attended by pupils aged from 11 to 14. It is possible to enrol children into primary schools from an earlier age; thus, pupils will be able to attend lower secondary school from the age of 10.

Classes are organised according to the age of pupils. In the first grade, a class is made up of a minimum of 18 and a maximum of 27-28 pupils. In the second and third grades, classes must have a minimum of 20 pupils. These limits can vary by 10%. Usually, the maximum number of pupils per class is lowered to 20, if there are pupils with special educational needs. In schools located in small villages, usually in mountain areas and on small islands, the minimum number of pupils per class is 10. If the population is too low for the school to able form separate classes with pupils of the same age, classes made up of pupils of different ages are allowed. However, this occurs vary rarely and involves a very small number of pupils..

Class teachers are specialists in one or more subjects. Teachers usually follow the same class throughout the whole three-year period.

Organisation of the School Year

The Ministry of Education, University and Research (Miur) is responsible for defining the dates for the first and the second cycle leaving examinations and the calendar of the national holidays (Decree 297/1994). The Regions are responsible for defining the school calendar (start and end of school activities, length of breaks for national holidays, other holidays) to adapt it to the local needs (Decree 31 March 1998, n. 112). Every year, the Ministry publishes a summary table, on its website, showing all regional school calendars.

The school year starts on the 1st of September and finishes on the 31st of August. Teaching activities, including end-of-term assessments, final assessments and examinations, as well as in service training activities are carried out between the 1st of September and the 30th of June. There are a minimum of 200 teaching days in a year. For pupil evaluation purposes, the school year can be divided into two or three terms (periods of three or four months), as established by the Teachers' Assembly of each school.

The annual amount of compulsory teaching time for lower secondary school is established at central level. The current minimum annual teaching time is 990 hours, corresponding to 30 hours per week (DPR 89/2009).

The following weekly timetable models are available:

  • the 'mainstream compulsory timetable' with 30 hours per week (29 hours + 1 hour dedicated to the in-depth study of literary subjects), corresponding to the 990 annual compulsory hours of teaching;
  • the 'extended timetable' with an average of 36 hours a week or, exceptionally, 40 hours including mealtime.

Parents choose the timetable at enrolment.

Organisation of the School Day and Week

The District/School Council establishes the weekly and daily timetable and the distribution of activities over the different days of the week.

Schools must distribute lessons over a minimum of 5 days a week. Schools organise their daily timetable autonomously. Lower secondary schools generally operate 6 days a week, including Saturdays.

The table below presents a sample 30-hour-week timetable, Saturday included:


out-of-hours provision Lessons Lunch break Lessons out-of-hours provision
Monday - 8.15-13.15 - - -
Tuesday - 8.15-13.15 - - -
Wednesday - 8.15-13.15 - - -
Thursday - 8.15-13.15 - - -
Friday - 8.15-13.15 - - -
Saturday - 8.15-13.15 - - -


The table below presents a sample 36-hour-week timetable, Saturday included:


out-of-hours provision Lessons Lunch break Lessons out-of-hours provision
Monday - 8.15-13.15 13.15-14.15 14.15-16.15 -
Tuesday - 8.15-13.15

-
Wednesday - 8.15-13.15 13.15-14.15 14.15-16.15 -
Thursday - 8.15-13.15

-
Friday - 8.15-13.15 13.15-14.15 14.15-16.15 -
Saturday - 8.15-13.15

-

Legislative References

Law 28 March 2008, no. 53 (Reform law)

DPR 20 March 2009, no. 89 (enrolments and timetables)

DPR 20 March 2009, no. 81 (class sizes)