Most children begin in a pre-school class when they are 6 years old. After the pre-school class, they begin in the nine-year compulsory school.
Children who live in Sweden are subject to compulsory school attendance from the autumn semester of the year that they turn 6. Then, most children begin in the pre-school class. After the pre-school class, the children begin compulsory school or equivalent types of school. Every academic year is divided into two semesters, one autumn and one spring semester.
Schools can be municipal or independent
Compulsory schools can be municipal or independent. Most compulsory schools are municipal and the most common is that pupils attend a municipal school close to home.
Every compulsory school has the possibility of having various specialisations, such as English classes or culture and sports classes.
Independent schools are open to all and the teaching must be equivalent to that provided in municipal schools. Independent schools have a different operator (owner) than the municipality.
Compulsory education can be provided in several different types of schools besides compulsory school, also in special-needs compulsory school, compulsory school for the hearing or visually impaired (special school), Sámi schools or preparatory dance education. Compulsory education can also be conducted in various formats abroad.
Activities in compulsory school
Compulsory school shall give the pupils knowledge and develop their ability to seek knowledge independently. The education in compulsory school shall give the pupils knowledge and contribute to personal development for all pupils. It shall prepare the pupils for active life choices, promote well-rounded contacts and social interaction and provide a good foundation for active participation in civic life. Compulsory school shall provide a good foundation for continued education.
Compulsory school curriculum and course syllabus
The school curriculum describes what subjects are included in the education and how they are distributed between the different years. Pupils who attend compulsory school have a right to a number of guaranteed teaching hours. Every academic year is divided into two semesters, one autumn and one spring semester.
The pupils in compulsory school study Swedish or Swedish as second language, mathematics, English, practical-aesthetic subjects, technology, social studies, science, mother tongue and modern languages.
There is a course syllabus for every subject in school. It describes what the purpose of the teaching is and what knowledge your child shall be given the opportunity to develop within the subject.
The activities in school must be consistent with society’s democratic values and everyone who works in school must respect the value of every person and our environment. All pupils shall feel secure and respected and be given equal opportunities in school.
Assessment and learning in compulsory school
In school, the pupil continuously receives information about what he or she has learned in relation to the teaching objectives. The teacher, the pupil and other pupils can provide feedback that contributes to guiding pupils forward in their learning. Teachers and pupils also discuss what the pupil should do to move further in his or her studies based on an assessment of what the pupil needs and already knows. It is important that the pupil obtains an understanding of his or her own learning and need for development.
Development talks in compulsory school
At least once every semester, the pupil, the teacher and the pupil’s guardian meet to discuss how the pupil is doing. This is called a development talk. This talk shall provide a view of the pupil’s knowledge and social development.
During the talk, a discussion shall be held about 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.
In the years that grades are not given, a written individual development plan shall be prepared once per academic year. The individual development plan shall contain written assessments and planning of the pupil’s continued schooling.
Grades and grading in compulsory school
At the end of every semester beginning in year 6, the pupils receive grades in the subjects that were included in teaching. Final grades are set at the end of year 9, when compulsory school ends. The pupil applies to upper-secondary school with the final grades.
The grading scale has six levels: A – F. A-E represent passing results and F is for a failing result. A dash is set instead of a grade if a pupil had such extensive absences that the teacher cannot set a grade.
Work experience programmes
Work experience programmes allow students to try out jobs in a real place of work. All students in primary and lower-secondary schools, special schools and special primary and lower-secondary schools are required to complete work experience programmes in Year 8 and/or 9. The Swedish Education Act requires this.
Knowledge of the labour market
It is important for your child to learn all about the labour market and gain experience of various professions and industries to help them make good choices for the future. Work experience programmes can help your child to find out what skills and abilities are needed in the world of work. Taking the initiative and accepting responsibility are examples of such skills. This is why all students should complete work experience programmes.
The school cooperates with the place of work on work experience
The school and the place of work cooperate to ensure that your child’s work experience placement is appropriate and safe for them. This may, for example, include appointing a supervisor to help your child in the workplace and making sure that employers follow the applicable rules on working hours and the working environment. Your child will be insured through the school during their work experience placement.
The school prepares students for work experience
The school is responsible for ensuring that your child is well prepared for their placement. Students are often given tasks to report on when they return to school. This helps them to learn about other professions and places of work from their classmates.
Would you like to know more about work experience programmes?
Please contact the school’s career guidance counsellor or a teacher if you would like to know more about work experience programmes.