About Swedish schools and education

Swedish schools are for all children who live in Sweden. School is to be safe and offer peace and quiet so that everyone is able to work and thrive. This section is about how the pre-school class, compulsory education and upper-secondary education work in Sweden.

Första tiden i skolan

The education shall provide the pupils both knowledge and a desire to learn more throughout life. In order to meet the knowledge requirements for the education, the pupils must receive guidance and stimulus from their teachers. Every pupil shall be able to develop to the furthest extent possible according to his or her goals and circumstances. This also applies to the pupils for whom it is easier to learn and achieve the knowledge goals faster than other pupils.

The education shall be democratic with respect for human rights and democracy as a foundation. All pupils have an equal right to a good education regardless of gender, view of life, disability, sexual orientation, ethnic identity, religion, age or where in Sweden they live. In school, all pupils are important and the school must always think of the best interests of the pupils when activities are planned. Children, pupils and adults shall work together and agree on common rules for a good working environment.

The teaching shall be adapted to the needs of each pupil so that they will have the possibility of learning as much as possible in school. Pupils who have a different mother tongue than Swedish may have the right to mother tongue instruction and study guidance in their mother tongue or their strongest academic language.

Everyone is given a place in school

Your home municipality shall inform you about the schools in the municipality. You can submit requests on what school you want your child to attend. On this website, you can see what schools are in your local area and compare the various schools with each other. You can also read about how school placement works or ask the municipality in which you live. All schools are free of charge.

If your family is new in Sweden

For pupils who are new in Sweden, the school does a survey of the child’s earlier schooling, knowledge, experiences and interests. An interpreter can be on hand in the survey, but is entirely impartial and does not influence the assessment. If your child is older than 7, an assessment shall be done as quickly as possible. If your child is 7 and has begun school no later than the autumn semester of the year that your child turns 7, the headmaster shall determine what year and class your child will attend.

The school wants to cooperate with you

As a parent or a guardian, you are responsible for your child attending school. The school will inform you about your child’s schooling and invite you to meetings with teachers and other guardians. It is important to read the information you receive and to participate in the meetings. There is always a teacher who is responsible for your child in school. Contact your child’s teacher if you have any questions.

About the teaching and the school day

Utbildning första tiden i skolan

The pupils go to school Monday to Friday. They often meet several different teachers during the school day. Schools may work in different ways with the pupils and choose the study resources that best suit the teaching.

The teacher is responsible for the content of the teaching and ensures that the pupils get to try various ways of working. This may mean that the teacher holds reviews with the class, but also that the pupils work themselves. Sometimes, pupils and teachers take field trips to activities outside the school. In school, the pupil works on both practical and theoretical knowledge during the school day.

Skolmat i skolan

The pupils must be able to use their own experiences and interests in the teaching. The pupils also learn to think critically, ask questions and acquire knowledge about different ways to view the world. The pupils mainly do their school work in school. In many schools, they also receive homework that they must do after school.

The pupils receive free lunch every day. At many schools, the pupils can choose between different dishes. Talk with the school if your child needs special food.

Individual study plan

Recently arrived pupils in years 7-9 and all pupils in upper-secondary school and special-needs upper-secondary school shall have an individual study plan. The plan must follow the pupil throughout the entire education and be revised when necessary. It is most often a teacher who prepares the plan together with the pupil, but it is the headmaster who is responsible for the school preparing a plan and that the pupil is involved.

Assessment and learning

In the teaching, the teacher talks with the pupils about what they should do to progress in their studies based on an assessment of what they already know. The teacher, the pupil him or herself and other pupils can provide feedback that contributes to guiding pupils forward in their learning. It is important that the pupil him or herself obtains an understanding of his or her learning and need for development.

Development talks

At least once every semester, the pupil, the teacher and guardians for pupils who are minors meet to discuss how the pupil is doing. This is called a development talk. For the pupils in the pre-school class, the school has development talks at least once every academic year. The talk shall provide a picture of the pupil’s knowledge development and social development.

During the talk, you will discuss how the school can support and stimulate the pupil’s development and learning. The talk provides the pupil and guardian an opportunity to influence and take responsibility for the pupil’s schooling. Here, one takes up the pupil’s potential need for extra adaptations and special support, among other things.

Adaptations and support

Pupils at risk of not achieving the objectives for the teaching, or who have other weaknesses have a right to support in school. All pupils have a right to guidance and stimulus in the teaching to learn as much as possible and when necessary receive extra adaptations and special support. Extra adaptations and special support can, for example, be that the pupil receives extra clear instructions, extra practice or help to understand texts. Pupils that more quickly achieve the knowledge requirements need to be challenged at their level to be able to develop and learn as much as possible.

Assessments and grades

You and your child shall continuously receive information on how the pupil is doing in school. In year 1-5, the pupil receives an assessment in each subject. This is so that you as a guardian and your child will know how it is going in school. Beginning in year 6, the pupil receives grades once a semester. In grading, the teachers assess what knowledge the pupil has demonstrated during the semester. Final grades are given when the pupil is done with all of the subjects included in compulsory school. This takes place when year 9 is concluded. One applies to upper-secondary school with the final grades.

The grading scale has six levels: A – F. A - E are given for passing results and F is given for a result that is not passing. The grade F is not used at special-needs compulsory school and special-needs upper-secondary school. See the texts about compulsory education and upper-secondary education where the special-needs schools are described.

Mother tongue and Swedish as second language

The mother tongue is of major significance to a child’s language, identity, personality and cognitive development. The possibility of being able to develop the mother tongue makes it easier to learn both new languages and knowledge. The school has the mission of organising the teaching for pupils with a different mother tongue so that the pupils are given the conditions to develop language (both mother tongue and Swedish) and knowledge in parallel.

Mother tongue education

Pupils who have a mother tongue other than Swedish may have a right to mother tongue education. Having access to his or her mother tongue facilitates language development and learning in various subjects. If you want your child to receive mother tongue education, you need to apply for it. Ask the school what you need to do and what requirements are set.

Study guidance in the mother tongue

A pupil shall receive study guidance in his or her mother tongue if the pupil needs it. This applies not only to recently arrived pupils. For recently arrived pupils, study guidance is provided in the pupil’s strongest school language if it is different than the mother tongue. For example, there are recently arrived pupils who have been refugees for a long time and attended school in a country other than their home country and received instruction in a language other than their mother tongue. For these pupils, it may be this language that the pupil best develops his or her knowledge in. Study guidance in the mother tongue also helps the pupils develop knowledge in school subjects and the Swedish language.

Swedish as a second language

Through teaching in the subject of Swedish as second language, the pupils are to be given possibilities to develop the Swedish language in speech and writing so that they can express themselves in various contexts and for different purposes. Through the teaching, the pupil is given the possibility of developing the language to think, communicate and learn. The pupil shall be able to rely on his or her language. The teaching shall give the pupils opportunities to communicate in Swedish at the language level the pupil is at, without the language having to be correct in detail. It is the headmaster who decides if a pupil will receive instruction in Swedish as second language.

The rules for participating in Swedish as second language differ in compulsory school and in upper-secondary school. In order for a pupil to take Swedish as second language in compulsory school, the pupil must:

  • either have a mother tongue other than Swedish or
  • have Swedish as his or her mother tongue and have gone to school abroad or
  • be an immigrant pupil and have Swedish as the interaction language with a guardian.

The pupil must also need instruction in Swedish as second language.

A pupil who attends upper-secondary school and has a mother tongue other than Swedish may take Swedish as second language as a common upper-secondary subject instead of Swedish.

About preparation class

In order to learn Swedish as quickly as possible, recently arrived pupils may attend a preparation class at the same time that they receive instruction in their ordinary class. In the preparation class, the pupils get to take the subjects included in the year that the pupil is in. Pupils attend a preparation class for a maximum of two years. The idea is that the pupils will take all subjects in their ordinary class as soon as possible. The headmaster decides when teaching in the preparation class is no longer necessary.

Study and career guidance

Pupils in all types of schools, except preschool and pre-school class, have a right to study and career guidance. A study and career adviser shall regularly give pupils support, information and guidance in order for pupils to be able to try different options to be able to arrive at a final decision. A prerequisite for this is receiving information and knowledge about the education system, working life and the labour market. Study and career guidance is therefore central in order for every pupil to be able to plan for the future.

Recreation centres

The recreation centre shall stimulate pupils’ development and learning and supplement the teaching in school and pre-school classes. The recreation centre shall offer a meaningful leisure time by working on language, creativity, nature and physical activities. The recreation centre is open to pupils until the spring semester of the year that they turn 13 before and after school and after school breaks. This makes it possible for parents to be able to work or study. The recreation centres are most often in the same building as the pupil’s school or nearby the school.

Health and safety

Illustrerar säkerhet och hälsa

School is to be safe and offer peace and quiet so that everyone will be able to work and thrive. At school, staff and pupils actively work together in order for everyone in school to feel secure and engage each other with respect. Children, pupils and adults shall work together and agree on common rules for a good working environment.

Nobody should need to be subjected to offensive treatment. The school shall therefore have special routines and a plan against this. If anyone treats your child badly in school, you should first contact the school staff. If the problems do not end, you can contact the municipality or the school’s owner if it is an independent school. They are obliged to find out what has happened. If they deem it to be necessary, they must also resolve the situation. If you are still not satisfied, you can turn to the Swedish Schools Inspectorate.

The pupils’ health

The school works preventively in order for the pupils to feel well. There shall be access to a pupil health team with a nurse, school physician, psychologist, counsellor and staff with special education competence. From the pre-school class to year 9, the pupils are offered health check-ups at least three times. The school nurse can help with basic medical efforts during school time, but if your child is ill or needs other care, you should turn to the healthcare services outside school.

The school must report if a pupil fares badly

Faring badly may, for example, be that the child is not doing well because of insufficient care or violence at home, or violence in school. If the school suspects that your child is faring badly, the school must report it to the social services. The social services are responsible for all children and adolescents in the municipality having a safe upbringing. When the social services receive a report, they often want to discuss the situation with the school and the home to find good solutions together. After an investigation, the social services may conclude that nothing needs to be done, but this does not mean that the person who made the report did anything wrong. All staff at the school have an obligation to file a report as soon as they suspect that a child is faring badly, even if it subsequently turns out that the child is doing well and that there was nothing to worry about.

Senast uppdaterad 27 mars 2020