Schooling during the asylum application period
Last updated: 19/9-2023
All children are entitled to an education. The municipality where you live is obliged to offer your children places in school. Read here about what rules apply and about the support that your children are given in order for them to be able to attend school in Sweden.
The right to education
Your child is entitled to attend preschool on the same conditions as other children in Sweden. Your child has the right to attend school from the term s/he turns six years old. The right to education applies for the following forms of schooling:
- Preschool class
- Compulsory school
- Special needs compulsory school
- Special schools and day recreation centres
Your child is entitled to upper secondary or special needs upper secondary education if they begin their studies before they turn 18.
Contact your municipality
Your municipality is obliged to offer your children school places. If you have one or more children who need a place in preschool, preschool class, compulsory or special needs compulsory school, special access school, upper secondary school or special needs upper secondary school, contact your municipality for more information about what you should do.
Your child must be offered a preschool place within four months of you having contacted the municipality and informed them that your child needs a preschool place.
Your child must begin compulsory school or be offered a place in upper secondary school as soon as possible. This should not be more than a month after your arrival in Sweden.
Assessment of previous knowledge
Assessment in compulsory school
When your child begins compulsory school, the school staff need to assess what previous knowledge your child has. The assessment takes age, previous knowledge and personal circumstances into account. Within two months of your child starting school, the head teacher at the school has to decide which year and class your child is to attend. The assessment is also used in the continued planning of your child's education. An interpreter or a teacher who speaks your child's native language is used during the assessment.
If your child needs to attend special needs compulsory school or special access school
Special needs compulsory school (anpassad grundskola) and special school (specialskola) are two alternatives to compulsory school and are specifically tailored for children with certain functional impairments.
Before a child can begin special needs compulsory school or special school, an assessment is made to determine which type of school is most appropriate.
The child’s parents or guardians have to give their consent before the child can begin special needs compulsory school or special school.
Assessment in upper secondary school
In upper secondary school, teachers have to make a continuing assessment of your child's knowledge. This assessment will be the basis for your child's continued education.
Upper secondary school attendance is voluntary. In upper secondary school you can study on various national programmes or an introductory programme. National programmes include vocational programmes and preparatory programmes for subsequent higher education.
In order to attend a vocational programme you need to have Pass grades in Swedish or Swedish as a Second Language, English, Mathematics, and in another five subjects. In other words you need Pass grades in a total of eight subjects.
In order for your child to be able to attend a preparatory programme, s/he has to have a Pass grade in Swedish or Swedish as a Second Language, English, Mathematics, as well as in another nine subjects. In other words, a Pass grade is required in twelve subjects in total.
If you are not qualified to attend any of the national programmes you can attend one of the introductory programmes. These are flexible in terms of the pace, scope and content of studies. Introductory programmes also have to be adaptable to your previous knowledge and needs.
In preparatory class your child studies various subjects at the same time as s/he is taught the basics of the Swedish language. The aim of having your child study one or several subjects in preparatory class is for him/her to be able to join lessons in the ordinary class as soon as possible.
Your child can be offered teaching in a preparatory class for a maximum of two years, but cannot have all his/her lessons in that class. What share of teaching your a receives in preparatory class and what share s/he receives in ordinary class varies from child to child. The head teacher at each school decides how teaching is organised.
The teacher has to assess a child's knowledge in the various subjects taught in the preparatory class. When the teacher determines that a child is capable of participating in ordinary class in a given subject, the child must begin to attend those lessons instead.
Swedish as a Second Language
In compulsory school your child can be taught Swedish or Swedish as a Second Language. Children who don't have Swedish as their native language can study Swedish as a Second Language if they need to. The head teacher at the school decides whether a child can study Swedish as a Second Language. You can contact the head teacher if your child needs to study Swedish as a Second Language.
In upper secondary school your child can study Swedish or Swedish as a Second Language.
In compulsory school your child can have a priority timetable. This means that s/he receives more teaching in Swedish or Swedish as a Second Language.
In order for your child to have more time for Swedish, lessons in other subjects have to taken off the timetable. The total number of lessons is the same, but teaching time is redistributed so that there is more time for Swedish or Swedish as a Second Language. The head teacher at the school decides if a child is going to have a priority timetable. A child can have a priority timetable for a maximum of one year.
Native language lessons
Your child may be entitled to native language lessons if his/her native language is not Swedish. In preschool and preschool class your child must be given the opportunity to develop both his/her native language and Swedish. In compulsory and upper secondary school your child is entitled to native language lessons if certain requirements are met.
If you want your child to have native language lessons you have to apply for it. Ask at the school how to do this and what the requirements are.
Study guidance in your child's native language
Study guidance in your child's native language is important in order for him/her to make use of what s/he already knows in the various school subjects. Your child must be given study guidance in his/her native language if s/he needs it. Contact the teacher or head teacher at the school for more information about study guidance.