Last updated: 19 5 2021
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.
Special needs schools
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 comprehensive school
Special needs comprehensive school is for children and young people with intellectual disabilities, aged 7-15.
A child with an intellectual disability may not always manage in the ordinary comprehensive school. The child can then go the special comprehensive school instead. It is an individualised school form which provides an education adapted to every student's condition and needs.
Upper secondary school
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
Special needs upper secondary school is for young people with intellectual disabilities aged 16-20. It runs for four years. There are national programs and individual programs to choose from.
Compulsory school attendance and the right to education
Compulsory school attendance means that your children have to attend school unless there is a legitimate reason for them not to.
Compulsory school attendance for your child begins in the autumn term of the year that your child turns six years of age, if your child is registered, or is going to be registered, in the Population Register as resident in a municipality. Preschool class attendance is also compulsory, though in some cases it may be possible for your child to go straight into compulsory school, special needs compulsory school or special school. Compulsory school attendance usually applies for ten years.
If there are special reasons, compulsory school attendance may only begin in the autumn term of the year your child turns seven. Such a postponement will be considered by your municipality if you have made a request for it. If compulsory school attendance is postponed, your child will offered preschool attendance.
Compulsory school attendance is an obligation that corresponds to a right to education. Your child is entitled to an education in preschool, preschool class, compulsory school or special needs compulsory school, special school and day recreation centres.
Your child is also entitled to begin studies in upper secondary school or special needs upper secondary school until the year s/he turns 20, if the child is registered or is going to be registered as resident in a municipality.
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.