Do state schools teach in English?


I am looking to relocate to Malta around August and I have a 5 year old son. We currently live in England and he knows no Maltese. I have looked on this forum and it seems most state schools teach in English but when I looked at government websites re schools it said they teach in Maltese, is this true? I had no intention of sending him to private school but if lessons are in Maltese I won't have a choice. I am looking at either Mellieha, Pembroke or Sliema primary schools as they have been recommended to me.


Take a look at the following link :- … cument.pdf  which is from site.
It seems that policy is both languages are taught, along with others in all schools.
Have a look around  for further info on education.

If you are interested, take a look at this site for online Malti learning.

(long past education)

RayAucote :

(long past education)

But seriously, you can't be "past education" - I currently teach EFL in evening school (and morning classes) for adults in Austria, and half my students are retired and found that now they have more time it's the right moment to learn something new!
My two "wisest" (I can't say oldest... :)  ) students were born in 1935 and 1939 - they're my "golden Girls" and they're fantastic!

BTW, thanks for the links - they're helpful for us, too.

I suspect the OP is asking whether the teachers teach in English, as opposed to teach English.  A quick Google search will give you the contact addresses for the respective schools; for example:

Address:       Maria Regina College Mellieha Primary, New Mill Street, Mellieha, Malta

Telephone:  +356 21 523 527

email:  [at]

I'd recommend the OP rings the school and asks.

My daughter is the same age, she's in year one at Pembroke at the moment.  Yes they do teach in English, at least at that age, so your son won't struggle.  He'll be taught Maltese alongside English, a lot of Maltese kids don't actually speak it very well either.  It's a very good school and they'll ask if he wants extra help in Maltese, which I agreed to for my daughter, but Maltese parents don't seem as keen.  They do that in school time, but a lot of people just pay for private after school tuition instead so they don't fall behind.  We don't at the moment because my daughter has a hard school day as it is, they really push them but it's an excellent school.  I can't praise her teachers enough, they're just shockingly good at their jobs. She's not falling behind because of it, in fact she's doing really well in Maltese as well.  Kids pick languages up very quickly.

My son has just left school, he's doing his exams at the moment and some subjects at that age are taught in Maltese in state schools.  He had to drop those because the exams for them are only in Maltese as well.  If you don't have older kids you don't need to worry about that for now, your five year old will be fine in a state school though.

Hi Jessica,

Yes, at state schools they start off in English.  At Mellieha Primary, I think they use English primarily until Year 1.  But then they start shifting the focus to Maltese.  I think the language of instruction depends mainly on the subject, as well as the number of non-Maltese speakers in the class.  My son is on the autistic spectrum, and has a one-to-one LSA, who interacts with him in English.  I also believe that if they're speaking to a non-Maltese child, they unconsciously switch. 

However, as far as state schools go, it's not like you can cherry pick which school you want to use.  This choice is limited and determined by where you live.

My daughter is in the 2nd year at Pembroke and she is doing well - she started in year 1. She has picked up Maltese quickly too. English is the main teaching language there - it has a very large number of kids who aren't Maltese. But to apply and get in, you need to live in the catchment area - Pembroke, Swieqi, Ibragg, Bahar IC Caqhag - and the rents in these areas are higher than a lot of other places!! And if you will need child care before school, they offer a free breakfast club from 7am and after school and in holidays there is Klabb 3-16 which only charges 80c p/hour upto around 6pm.
Hope that helps!

Hi everybody,

Just to inform you that we have removed some off topic posts from this thread.



They teach in Maltese, with a bit of English here and there, depends on the teacher how much English is spoken.

Thank you for the replies, for some reason I didn't get any notifications!

So my choice is between Pembroke and Mellieha Primary. Could someone give me the contact details for Pembroke Primary? I have searched and think it might be connected to St Clares but I thought that was a private school?

I am going to call both schools next week to see what sort of feel I get from them. It seems most people say Pembroke has quite a large expat community which might be good for him. Just so anxious for him to fit in and really want to make the right decision. We are going to settle on a school first then look for rentals in the area then get him registered!

Yes Pembroke primary is part of St Clare's.  It's a state school, not a private one. I don't know who you'd need to contact, but the school's number is 27383502.

Here you go:

Pembroke Primary School
Triq Madre Margerita Debrincat,
PBK 1773
Telephone : 27383502, 27377291
Fax : 21377291
Email :[at]
Head of School : Ms Cynthia Aquilina

Hello everyone,

@ Cynic, thanks for the info. Could you please recommend the school in the Primary schools in Malta section of the business directory ?

It will surely benefit members looking for the contact details.

Thank you in advance,

I also seem to be getting conflicting information. My kids are 6 and 9 (or at least will be when we arrive in 25 January when I start my job).

How do you work out which schools medium of instruction is English and which is Maltese ? Is it a case of just calling or emailing each school and in any event don't you just get allocated a school based on where you live ? What if you move to a certain area for a particular English medium school but get allocated a Maltese medium school ? Can you appeal ?

I've searched the forums for answers but can't locate so apologies if this has been addressed before.


State schools go very much on catchment (as far as i am aware) to at least get in.  I know of many kids who moved out of the catchment, but still to go to the same school.
It seems that the schools in more central areas (Pembroke, San Gwann, Sliema, Gzira - there may b more) do more in English due to the varied nationalities of the pupils. My kids go to Pembroke - its a new building with great facilities and is very multicultural, but the catchment is strict; Ibragg, Bahar ic Caghaq, Swieqi, Pembroke and these are some of the more expensive rental areas!

The further south you go and basically to the areas where there are fewer non-Maltese, you will obviously not get that much in English.
They do a lot in English though, but not all, children are taught Maltese and will sit exams in it if they have been in education here for 4+ years when it comes to Form 5 exams (age 16ish). Also, the parent meetings are always in Maltese too - but other parents are often happy to 'fill you in'

What area will you be working in? This will need to be considered as the traffic, after getting kids to school could be fun! There are free breakfast clubs at primary schools - you need to register on line for them - from 7am and as the schools end at 2.30pm, get them registered for after hours (Klabb 3-16) if you'll need it, which is 80c p/h each. There is also free school transport provided to the school from the catchment areas, but you will need to check the pick-up times.

I hope that helps

Thank you Michelle. That's really helpful. I'm going to be working South - near Birkirkara so I'm assuming very Maltese ? It's not confirmed as the company are relocating but even that is up in the air.

Hi Shelley, all state schools teach in Maltese and depending on the teacher and the number of children who don't speak Maltese in the classroom will also translate into English. The south is very Maltese, but you may be pleasantly surprised at how understanding they might be, as they wont be under as much 'pressure' as some of the schools around Sliema/st Julian's etc... Good luck with your search 😀

Birkirkara is actually quite central and I think quite multicultural - it's not so far from San Gwann where I am now, so you should be ok around there, but once you know where your company will be, it will make it easier for you to do your research.
Make sure you check when the latest your children can join a school year though. I've seen posts on here before where kids have had to wait until September - but I think thats around May/June time. Schools break-up for summer around end of June, but there are plenty of summer schools available - from your own school at very reasonable prices (€25 for the whole 8/9wks 8.30-12.30 plus any xtra hours at the 80c p/h)

Again, i hope this helps. I wish i'd known all this when I moved here 2 years ago - this is why I try to pass on as much info as I can.


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