Question: My wife and I are regular readers of Greece Magazine, particularly the property pages, as we aim to retire to Greece in two to four years time. We are regular visitors to Greece and are keen to retire to Crete but would consider other places if there is a suitable school near by.
Our son is nine years old and his education has to be our prime importance so by the time we retire he will be the equivalent age of our secondary school students. Apart from the usual tourist phrases we do not speak Greek although it is our intention to start to improve this situation. We would therefore be pleased if you could advise us if there are any English speaking secondary schools in Greece but particularly in Crete, however we are not keen to live in Athens.
Answer: Athens does have an international school and I there is one here in Crete in Heraklion, but only for children under 8 years old. (Contact the European School for Education on 0030 2810 301780). Otherwise, contact the British Embassy in Heraklion for the latest information.
With the wonders of the Internet there are self-tutoring classes of course. Otherwise, the children must attend whatever is the nearest state school, where do bear in mind, they will probably be put into classes younger than their age group, be taught only in Greek and you and they will have to deal with several hours of homework every day. There are no choices of schools, you go to the local one and that’s it. If your son does go to school in Greece, to get any sort of job in Greece, your son will need a school leaving certificate.
I think if you want the best for your son academically, I would suggest that you think about buying a smaller holiday home, so that you can enjoy all the school holidays here. Then when you are a bit surer about the lifestyle here, work opportunities etc. then think about a more permanent move. Perhaps while you are still working, you can buy a piece of land and build over the years, so that it is ready for as soon as you can make the permanent break. Meanwhile, you will still have your holiday home, which anyway is a good investment and you can re- sell it or perhaps rent it out.