Last updated: 5 7 2019

There are various laws that specify what school must be like in order for all children and young people to be able to develop in the best possible way. For example, school must take pupils’ different needs into consideration. There are also curricula that specify what pupils need to have learned in different subjects and years. Read here about education in Sweden.

The education system

The Swedish education system is made up of many different activities and types of education. Below is a brief overview.


Preschool provides pedagogic group activities for children from the age of 1 until they start school. Children begin attending preschool at different ages and attend for varying periods of time. One of the objectives of preschool activities is to enable parents to combine their parenthood with work or studies.

Preschool class

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.

Day recreation centres

Municipalities are obliged to offer day recreation centres until the spring term of the year in which the child turns 13. Municipalities may offer open recreational activities instead of day recreation centres from the autumn term of the year in which the child turns 10. Day recreation centres are intended to complement preschool class and preschool, in order to allow for parents to combine their parenthood with work or studies.

Educational care

Municipalities must strive to be able to offer educational care instead of preschool or day recreation centres, if requested.

Compulsory school education

Compulsory school attendance begins in the autumn term of the year in which a child turns six years old. Preschool class is compulsory. If there are special reasons, compulsory school attendance may be postponed until the autumn term of the year in which the child turns seven. In some cases it is possible to go directly into secondary school, special needs secondary school, or special school. Compulsory school attendance usually applies for ten years.

Special needs compulsory school

Special needs compulsory school provides all children who have a developmental impairment with an education adapted to each individual child's circumstances.

Upper secondary education

Pupils can apply to national programmes that are either vocational or prepare them for higher education, and if they don't qualify for the national programmes, to five different introductory programmes. Upper secondary education provides preparation and a knowledge basis for further studies and a future profession.

Special needs upper secondary school


There are national and individual programmes to choose from. Before a pupil begins special needs upper secondary school, the municipality makes an educational, psychological, medical and social assessment in order to determine whether it is the right form of education for that particular pupil.