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Strategic Context

The public secondary school network as it is today consists of a total of 477 schools, the construction of which began in the late 19th century. Of this total, 2

Based on the time of construction, one can divide the schools into three periods or phases: 


1st Construction Period: up to 1935
This group is made up of 12 schools (2%). It includes the first grammar schools planned from the ground up in Portugal after the Passos Manuel reform of 1836 and built until the late 1920s, as well as those built or completed in the context of the work carried out by the Administrative Board for the Loan for Secondary Education (JAEES), which was set up in 1928 and terminated in 1934. The schools in this group are located in the cities of Lisbon, Porto, Coimbra, Beja and Lamego. They are situated in very central sites in these cities and on large-sized plots.

In formal terms, they evolved from the model of the single compact building with enclosed courtyard model that derived from the old monastic colleges, as is the case for the Passos Manuel school, to a more extended layout occupying part or the whole of an urban block, and including one or more courtyards, following the French Lycée model.

Liceu Passos Manuel

Liceu Camões

2nd Construction Period: 1936 to 1968
This group is made up of 94 schools (21% of the total school network) built by the Ministry of Public Works through the Technical and Secondary Education Construction Board (JCETS-MOP). The schools were primarily built in district capitals, in easily accessible areas and on large-sized plots that, as a rule, coincided with the whole urban block.

In formal terms they feature linear configurations made up of various bodies linked together that are normally two or three storeys high, in some cases four storeys. In the case of industrial technical schools the workshops were often located in independent bodies. These solutions were adapted to the local circumstances and the morphology of the respective sites.

Liceu Gil Vicente

Escola Industrial Marquês de Pombal

3rd Construction Period: from 1968 to today
This largest group (356 schools or 77% of the school network) is made up of school buildings from the late 1960s onwards under the shared responsibility of the Ministry of Education, in the form of the Directorate General for School Equipment, and the Ministry of Public Works, in the form of the Directorate General for School Building.

From 1986 onwards, following publication of the Education System Basic Law (Law no. 46/86 of 14 October), the Ministry of Education took over exclusive responsibility for school building, delegating the executive competencies to the Regional Education Directorates. The accumulated knowledge on standardised projects derived from previous programmes was transferred to the regional directorates, which continued to apply the same design projects to new schools.

In the late 1960s a small group of standard designs was developed for grammar/secondary schools, technical schools and preparatory schools, based on highly practical solutions that would enable both rapid and economical executions. The buildings are devoid of ornamentation.

Escola Secundária Gabriel Pereira

Escola Secundária Pedro Alexandrino


The considerable efforts made over the last four decades in terms of creating school infrastructures focused mainly on expanding the school network. These efforts did not provide for the parallel development of a constant and consistent practice in terms of conservation and maintenance of the existing buildings or their functional adaptation to reflect new developments in curricula and new educational and training practices.

With a view to turning this degradation process around, it has proved necessary to develop a school improvement process management model that comprehensively and systematically creates the conditions for:
  • achieving renovation resulting from the new educational and environmental paradigms;
  • ensuring that the renovation programme applies effective processes and follows rigorous planning, given that, in most cases, extensive interventions on the buildings will be carried out while the schools are still operating;
  • guaranteeing the financing sources and models, in addition to the PIDDAC programme and EU funding, to ensure the most rapid and effective execution of the renovation programme and the subsequent conservation and upkeep phases while taking the applicable budget constraints into accoun
In 2007, was approved the Secondary School Network Modernisation Programme with the objective of renovate and modernise the school buildings and creating an efficient and effective school building management system.

In the same year, it was created Parque Escolar, E. P. E., responsable for planning, management, development and execution of the modernisation programme for the public network of secondary schools, as established in the Programme Contract signed with Portuguese State.