Compulsory school education

All children who are long-term Austrian residents are required to attend school. This requirement applies not just to Austrian citizens, but to all children who are long-term residents in Austria, regardless of citizenship. The requirement for children to complete compulsory school education is written into the Austrian constitution. Under Austrian law, children are required to go to school from the next 1 September after they complete the sixth year of their lives. Their compulsory school education lasts for nine school years. For the purposes of determining when a child should start school, a year of a child's life is deemed to come to an end at the end of the day immediately prior to the child's birthday. This means that if a child's birthday falls on 1 September, they will be expected to go to school from their sixth birthday onwards, because the sixth year of their life will be deemed to have ended on 31 August. If a child's birthday falls on or after the 2 September, they will not be required to go to school until the 1 September of the following year.

In order to comply with the requirement to attend school, children must attend the following types of school:

  • From the 1st to the 4th school year (usually between the ages of 6 and 10), children attend primary school (Volksschule)
  • From the 5th to the 8th school year (usually between the ages of 10 and 14), children attend middle school (Mittelschule) or the junior department of a general secondary school (allgemein bildende höhere Schule)
  • In the 9th year of school, (usually between the ages of 14 and 15) children attend a polytechnic school (polytechnische Schule), the senior department of a general secondary school (allgemein bildende höhere Schule) or a vocational (berufsbildende) upper or middle school.
  • Children of school age with special educational needs are entitled to attend special schools.
  • Children of school age can also complete their compulsory education by taking part in equivalent instruction (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 instruction is indeed equivalent to that provided via the state school system.

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Last update: 26 February 2021
Responsible for the content:
  • Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research
  • Editorial Staff