Last updated: 21/12-2023
All children have the right to an education. The municipality is obliged to offer you a place in school. Read here about what rules apply and about what support you can be given in order to be able to attend Swedish school.
If you are working or studying, your child may go to pre-school for the entire day starting at one year of age. It is a right. If you do not work or study, the child may nonetheless go to a public pre-school for some hours a day starting at 3 years of age.
Preschool class is a part of compulsory education. Most children attend preschool class from the autumn term of the year that they turn 6. Preschool education is intended to stimulate children's development and prepare them for their further education.
Comprehensive school is required in Sweden. All children go here for nine years. Most begin first grade in the Autumn of the year they reach the age of 7. Every year consists of two terms, an Autumn Term and a Spring Term.
Compulsory school attendance begins in the autumn term of the year in which the child turns six. Preschool class is compulsory. Special needs schools have classes from preschool class until year 10.
Special needs schools are state schools run by Specialpedagogiska skolmyndigheten, the National Agency for Special Needs Education and Schools. Special needs schools provide education from preschool class until year 10 and are intended for:
- Pupils who are deaf or have impaired hearing, and pupils with combined sight and hearing impairments.
- Pupils with impaired sight and additional functional impairments.
- Pupils with severely impaired language ability.
- Pupils with congenital deaf-blindness.
- Pupils who are deaf or have impaired hearing in combination with intellectual impairment.
Special needs compulsory school is intended for children and young people between the ages of 7 and 16 who have an intellectual impairment or have suffered a brain injury.
Children with an intellectual impairment are not always able to cope with ordinary compulsory school. If that is the case, they can attend special needs compulsory school instead. This is a form of schooling which provides an education adapted to each pupil’s circumstances and needs.
The Swedish upper secondary school is voluntary. The upper secondary school is three years for most. Many begin here directly after comprehensive school at 16 years of age. The education must begin not later than when one reach the age of 20.
In upper secondary school your child 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 your child needs to have Pass grades in Swedish or Swedish as a Second Language, English, Mathematics, and in another five subjects. In other words, a Pass grade is required 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 your child is not qualified to attend any of the national programmes they 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 child’s previous knowledge and needs
Special needs upper secondary school is intended for young people aged between 16 and 20 who have an intellectual impairment or have suffered a brain injury. It is a four-year education. There are national programmes and individual programmes to choose from.
Going to school is both a right and an obligation. Sweden has compulsory school attendance from the year in which a child turns 6 until the child finishes the last year of secondary school or turns 18.
Compulsory school attendance means that children must be educated in school unless there is valid reason for them not to. Both parents and the school are responsible for ensuring that children attend school. Upper secondary and special needs upper secondary school are voluntary.
Preschool class, compulsory and special needs compulsory school, upper secondary school, and special needs upper secondary school are all free of charge.
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.
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.
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 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.