Courses for Ages 5 to 18

In recent years, Wolsey Hall Oxford has seen an increasing number of students homeschooling in Italy enrolling on our courses. Families in Italy are frequently looking to home education options as an alternative to public school.

In Italy, homeschooling is a fully legal educational option.

If not homeschooling, attendance at lower secondary school is compulsory for ages 11 – 14. At age 14, students must make a choice as to the kind of upper secondary school (scuola superiore) they want to attend, according to which subjects they would like to specialise in and what they would like to do in the future.

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Standard Education in Italy

There are two categories of upper secondary school: a liceo (similar to a British grammar school), which provides a more academic training, and an istituto, where more practical and technical disciplines are taught. Within these two categories, there are several types of school. A classics school, science school and a technical/vocational school. In larger districts and provincial towns, there’s also a teacher training school and an arts school. Vocational schools (istituto professionale) are the least academic of upper secondary schools, and aim to train people in a variety of locally needed craft and industrial skills.

At the end of the upper secondary school cycle, students study for the upper secondary school diploma (diploma di maturità), which automatically qualifies them for enrolment at a university. The diploma depends on the kind of school students have attended, e.g. diploma di maturità classica for students who have attended a classics school. Diplomas gained at technical school are further qualified by the specialisation students have followed. The maturità is recognised throughout the world as a university entrance qualification, although it isn’t accepted by all institutions. The maturità level is equivalent to Cambridge AS/ A Level, qualifications which are wholly internationally recognised.

Choosing to Homeschool in Italy

Parents/ guardians homeschooling in Italy need to notify the appropriate school authorities each year of their intent to homeschool (dirigente scolastico). They must provide a self-certification to the school district in which they state that they have the ‘technical’ and ‘economic’ capacity to teach their children at home. ‘Technical capacity’ means that the parent has completed a level of schooling beyond that of the children he is currently teaching. ‘Economic capacity’ simply refers to financial means.

Parents/ guardians need to enter their children for exams as private candidates, in a centre which they can reach in Italy or near to where they will be living. Please contact our Exams Officer if you have any concerns.

Equivalent Qualifications

Below you will find a comparison of Italian exam levels with the Wolsey Hall Oxford equivalent courses:



Wolsey Hall Equivalent Course
Scuola secondaria di primo grado (first grade secondary school; “middle school“)

Secondary Level Ages 11-14

Diploma di Licenza della Scuola Media

Cambridge IGCSE Level

Diploma di Esame di Stato

Cambridge A Level

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