This guide was written prior to Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine and is therefore not reflective of the current situation. Travel to Russia is currently not advisable due to the area's volatile political situation.
Despite much debate over the education system in Russia, the country has a high literacy rate. The quality of schooling has improved greatly over time, though it is still far from perfect.
There are public, private and international school options for children of school-going age in Moscow. Most expats choose to send their children to international schools. Expat parents often find that the teaching language and the method of instruction in public and private schools are not ideal for non-Russian children.
Entry requirements into schools may differ, so expats are encouraged to contact the schools directly for more information. In general, expats must provide their visa, the child’s birth certificate and any academic records.
The school year in Moscow follows the Northern Hemisphere pattern, with the longest break being in the summer months. The school week is generally Monday to Friday, from 8am or 9am to 2pm or 3pm.
Generally, there are three stages of schooling: primary school with Grades 1 to 4; basic secondary school from Grades 5 through 9; and upper secondary school which goes up to Grade 12.
Public schools in Moscow
Public school education is free to both Russian and foreign citizens. Parents only pay for meals and school uniforms.
The quality of state schools is debatable, and classrooms tend to have many students. The language of instruction in state schools is mainly Russian. This means, especially for older students who do not speak Russian, this option is often not feasible.
Private schools in Moscow
Private schools are less common than state schools. They provide the same Russian curriculum and teach mainly in Russian, but class sizes are smaller. Private schools are not free but are less expensive than international schools. Due to the language barrier, however, the options for expat education in Moscow remain mostly limited to international schools.
International schools in Moscow
Most international schools in Moscow are expensive. Curriculum models range from those that follow American or British teaching systems to ones that combine the Russian curriculum with international curricula. Alternatively, some offer the International Baccalaureate. There are several English-language schools to choose from, as well as schools teaching the German, French and Indian curricula.
Demand for the most prestigious schools can be high, and long waiting lists are to be expected. For this reason, expat parents moving to Moscow should attempt to enrol their children as early as possible.
Special-needs education in Moscow
There are limited schooling options for children with disabilities in Moscow. That said, efforts to develop the school system for those with disabilities are being made to avoid excluding these children. International schools are aiming to improve the possible support they could give. Some schools provide interventions including learning support, occupational therapy and speech programmes to enable students with mild to moderate learning disabilities to continue their education.
Homeschooling in Moscow
Homeschooling is becoming more and more common in Moscow, especially in comparison to the rest of the country. Expat parents must follow certain regulations. One such regulation is that they must enrol their child into a licensed school which acts as a supervising body. In some cases, homeschooled children can get access to resource provisions such as books. The school can also act as the exam centre when children must write formal exams.
Tutors in Moscow
Being such a large city, Moscow has many options for finding tutors. Expat parents will find various online platforms and portals through which they can hire a tutor for their child in Moscow. Tutors will be extremely helpful in assisting expat children with learning Russian, adjusting to their new school environment and curriculum, and getting up to speed in classes.
►For a list of schools in Moscow for expats, see International Schools in Moscow
►For a more in-depth description of the different schooling options available, see Education and Schools in Russia
"My kids go to the French school. Our experiences have been mixed there. But overall it has met our needs (and price)." Read what Amanda has to say on her children settling into Moscow from her interview.
Are you an expat living in Moscow?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Moscow. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
Cigna Global Health Insurance. 20% off premiums booked before 31st March
Medical insurance specifically designed for expats. With Cigna, you won't have to rely on foreign public health care systems, which may not meet your needs. Cigna allows you to speak to a doctor on demand, for consultations or instant advice, wherever you are in the world. They also offer full cancer care across all levels of cover, and settle the cost of treatments directly with the provider.
International Movers. Get Quotes. Compare Prices.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.