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Schools in BrazilA snapshot of international schools in Rio de Janeiro considered (although not necessarily chosen) by expats, with very general info and contact details on each.

Expat parents looking for international schools in Rio are not spoilt for choice and parents need to consider  carefully whether or not a school will meet their educational expectations and their children's needs.

The following are the obvious schools that English-speaking expats consider for their children....or not, as the case may be.

If we haven't reviewed a school, it means we do not have adequate positive comment from parents - the beginning and meat of the GSGI evaluation process - to warrant a full blown write-up (informal notes are available upon request to GSGI subscribers).

NB Our final write-ups take the good with the bad, warts and all, but we look for a preponderance of good before we drill down for indepth details and descend on the school for an exhaustive visit.  

When our Rio editor has determined that a school here warrants a review, that school will be denoted with the " -pending" banner.



The British School has three different units within the city – two in the central zona sul (the primary school in Botafogo, and the secondary one (English Year 8+) in Urca) and a primary/secondary school, opened in 2006 in the popular suburb of Barra da Tijuca (around 25 kms from the zona sul)

The school follows the southern hemisphere academic year, running February to December.  At primary level, the school offers a curriculum based on the National Curriculum for England, adapted to take account of the local environment.  At secondary level, IGCSE and the IB courses are followed.  New admissions are required to have an appropriate level of English – there is no dedicated ESL support – and all expatriate children receive Portuguese lessons.  All sites have a comprehensive extra-curricular programme.  Across the school, around 85% of all pupils are Brazilian nationals. 

In terms of results on leaving school, candidates taking the IB diploma average a score of around 33 points (out of 45).  However, each year there seems to be a handful of students who produce exceptional results, scoring over 40 points. Around 75-80% of students take the IB Diploma course.  There are also additional courses at this level to prepare young people for entrance to Brazilian univeristies - the choice of around 50% of students.

Botafogo Unit – Primary:
Rua Real Grandeza 87
Rio de Janeiro 

Tel: +55 21 2539-2717 or 2539-2845
Fax: +55 21 2266-5040
[email protected] 

Nursery – Class 5 (English Year 7)

716 pupils

The Botafogo primary school is situated in a small British enclave, in an old and interesting part of the city.  Christ Church, Rio’s Anglican church, sits in the centre of the property and parts of the church cloisters are used for classrooms and office space.  Being an inner city site, there is a shortage of both indoor and outdoor space. Recent building projects is have considerably improved facilities.   

Urca Unit – Secondary:
Avenida Pasteur 429
Rio de Janeiro

Tel: +55 21 2543-5519
[email protected]

Class 6 – Class 11 (English Years 8 – 13)

420+ pupils

The Urca school sits at the foot of Rio’s famous Sugar Loaf Mountain.  This unit is housed in a converted office block, along with several neighbouring houses. Space is at a premium, but is imaginatively used.  Good public exam results can be achieved and there is a strong extra-curricular programme, including Model United Nations and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme.

Barra da Tijuca Unit:
Avenida Mario Autuori 100
Barra da Tijuca
Rio de Janeiro

Tel: +55 21 3329-2854
[email protected]

Pre-Nursery – Class 11 (UK Year 13)

900+ pupils

The growth and popularity of the Barra unit has exceeded all expectations.  Opened in 2006, only taking children aged up to the age of 8/9, this unit expanded by one year group each academic year and now includes a full secondary school. Children studying there are now able to complete their schooling, up to IB level, on the same site. 

The Barra unit's facilities are second to none - the school site is possibly one of the most impressive we have visited - and received a boost at the time of the Rio Olympics, when Team GB was based there for training and socialising.

There is a state-of-the-art IT suite, plus music rooms, drama space and an outdoor swimming pool.



(Escola Americana do Rio de Janeiro - EARJ)

The main campus of the American School is located in Rio’s central zona sul.  Recently, a second campus has been built in the suburb of Barra da Tijuca.  

The school follows an American curriculum, culminating in an American Diploma, although the IB is also on offer.  The school follows the northern hemisphere academic year, running from August to June. There is an ESL programme up to 5th grade, to enable pupils without English to join the school.  There is a comprehensive extra-curricular programme. 

Interestingly, the American School is the only educational establishment in Rio classified as an "international school", having changed its status two years ago from an "experimental bilingual school".

At the top end of the school, all students follow a college-preparatory curriculum and a majority also take the IB diploma. In 2018, the average score was 31 (out of 45), but most years some students achieve scores of 40+. There are 199 high school pupils in total, with 34 at the Barra unit.

1,048 students across both campuses. 

Toddler/Pre-K to 12th Grade

School-wide, around 65% of pupils are Brazilian nationals.        

Gávea Unit:

Estrada da Gávea 132
Rio de Janeiro

Tel: +55 21 2125-9000
Fax: +55 21 2259-4722

The Gávea Unit is located on an impressive purpose-built campus, high on a hillside overlooking Rio’s zona sul and some of the city’s best known landmarks.  It is, unfortunately, also uncomfortably close to one of the biggest favelas (slums) in the country, but recently this has caused fewer problems than might be expected.  The school works hard to build links with the surrounding community.   From the Upper School, pupils go on to a wide range of US and other universities.  The school offers a Model United Nations programme and there is a chapter of the National Honor Society.

Barra da Tijuca Unit:

Rua Colbert Coelho 155
Barra da Tijuca
Rio de Janeiro

Tel: +55 21 3747-2000

The Barra unit occupies an impressive new building, built to accommodate many more pupils than are currently studying there. As of the school year 2017-2018, high school classes were added, and it is envisaged that eventually students will be able to go all the way through school on the site.



Avenida Prefeito Dulcídio Cardoso 4351
Barra da Tijuca
Rio de Janeiro

Tel: +55 21 3030 1399 [email protected]

US Pre-school – 12th Grade

160 pupils

Opened in 2000; originally known as the International Christian School, now known as the ICS – Rio International School, the school is located alongside the non-denominational Union Church, in Barra da Tijuca. Member of the Network of International Christian Schools (NICS),  the church premises are used for drama and assemblies.  The school draws on different school curricula from around the world, the programme is Biblically-based - although children of other religions are welcome.  Around 35% of pupils are Brazilian. ICS runs an ESL programme; offers various extra-curricular activities. Follows the northern hemisphere academic year.



Rua Visconde de Caravelas 48
Rio de Janeiro

Tel: +55 21 2266-8258

Pupils aged 3 – 18

500 pupils

This school, opened in 1952, follows an accredited American curriculum, based on Roman Catholic principles.  It is maintained by the Society of Our Lady of Mercy, an organisation founded by British and American residents of Rio to celebrate Catholic services in English.  The school runs a Family Life programme, with monthly lectures on different aspects of child development.  There is a full programme of extra-curricular activities, and dedicated ESL and PSL (Portuguese as a Second Language) support.  The chapel serves as the English-speaking Roman Catholic church in Rio, with weekly services.



Botafogo Unit:

Rua General Severiano 159
Rio de Janeiro

Contact: [email protected]

Escola Eleva is a newcomer to the bilingual school scene in Rio, only opening in 2017.  Housed in a beautiful historic building in an old part of the city, the school offers an educational philosophy rooted in academic excllence, emotional intelligence and global citizenship. Escola Eleva currently offers the International Primary Curriculum (IPC), a British programme taught throughout the world. While mainly attracting Brazilian pupils, at the time of writing the school is going through the process of accreditation with the IBO, so that it can offer IB programmes at all levels. There is a serious commitment to bilingual teaching and an outward-looking mindset. The website is in both Portuguese and English. Interestingly, the school has succeeded in attracting several key members of staff from the British and American schools.  It is definitely one to watch.

Barra Unit:

There is also a unit under development in Barra da Tijuca, at Avenida José Silva de Azevedo Neto 309, Barra da Tijuca, 22740-361.



Other options to consider:

LYCÉE MOLIÈRE (French School)

Rua Pereira da Silva 728
Rio de Janeiro

Tel: +55 21 3235-1800
Fax: +55 21 2205-9014

Pupils aged 3 – 18

682 pupils

With modern facilities in an old and historic part of the city, the Lycée offers a curriculum in line with the French National Education Ministry’s recommendations, adapted for the Brazilian environment.  Around 25% of pupils are French, while around another 40% are Franco-Brazilian, but the school is open to pupils of all nationalities.  French is the language of instruction for most classes. English is taught from primary level. The school is accredited by the Agence pour l'enseignement français a l'etranger.



Rua São Clemente 388
Rio de Janeiro

Tel: +55 21 2537-8811
Fax: +55 21 2537-9411
[email protected]

Pupils aged 3 – 18

1,300 pupils

Housed in a former American Ambassador’s residence, in a old part of the city, the school has two streams – in one, a German curriculum is taught by German teachers (although educational requirements of Brazilian law are also fulfilled); and in the other, a Brazilian curriculum is followed, along with compulsory German lessons. Children can move from one branch to the other, providing their command of German/Portuguese is sufficient. Towards the end of their primary years, all children also learn English. 



Rua Corrêa de Araújo 81
Barra da Tijuca
Rio de Janeiro

Tel: +55 21 2493-0300
[email protected]

Pupils aged 2 – 18

376 pupils

Since 2007, the school has been based in modern premises in the suburb of Barra da Tijuca. From their first year of primary, through to the end of secondary schooling, pupils must choose whether they wish to learn in Portuguese and French or Portuguese and German.  English – and other language options – are available later.  Final exams leave pupils with the option of preparing for Brazilian higher education or Swiss university entrance.

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