Education and Schools in Sweden
The academic year starts in mid-August and runs to the beginning of June the following year, and is divided into two semesters; the autumn term and the spring term. There are several mid-term holidays during the school year – höstlov in October; the Christmas holidays (jullov); sportlov in February; påsklov around Easter; and then three months for summer vacation, sommarlov.
The system of education in Sweden
In Sweden, children start voluntary preschool (förskola) from the age of one, which is very common as often both parents in the family work full time. When the children turn six years old, there is a pre-school class that provides a bridge between preschool and elementary school (förskoleklass).
There are nine compulsory years of schooling, after which students can attend an upper secondary school that is either geared towards further study or learning a trade. Natural sciences and social sciences are common to programmes that are focused on further studies.
Ratings do not occur before Grade 8, after which the standard A-F rating system is used.
Ratings are awarded four times in high school: at the end of autumn and the spring terms in Grades 8 and 9. The final grade is used for application to upper secondary school; to be accepted children need to pass Swedish, mathematics and English.
Primary and high school
Public schools in Sweden
Public schools in Sweden are open to all and follow the Swedish National Syllabus. These schools are administrated by the local municipality in which they are located, are taxpayer-funded and may not charge student fees. When children turn seven years old they are automatically placed in a nearby public school. Most children in Sweden go to public schools, but expats generally choose international private schools for their children since the language of instruction is usually either English or French, and they keep standards and teachings similar to their home countries.
Private schools in Sweden
There are a number of private schools in Sweden, known as friskolor. These schools are funded by local contributions from the home municipalities and notification, queue or registration fees may not be charged. Private schools are, however, free to accept donations.
Swedish private schools are independent and run by individuals, associations or foundations; in some cases there are groups that have formed to run several schools. Private schools are, in principle, not obliged to follow the Swedish National Syllabus. However, most private schools do follow the national curriculum.
More and more private schools are opening in Sweden and of course it means more competition, not least because parents can now choose which school they want their children to attend, and funding follows the student to their chosen school. This is good for students because the competition forces schools to perform better.
International schools in Sweden
International schools in Sweden are primarily intended for students living in Sweden temporarily or under special circumstances, such as family ties to another country. International schools expect a yearly fee and applications need to be made by contacting the school directly.
International schools may have long waiting lists, so it’s best for parents to plan ahead and apply for a spot for their children as early as possible. Fees at international schools can cost upwards of 100,000 SEK per year.
The most prominent international schools in Stockholm include the British International Primary School which follows the British curriculum, the Stockholm International School and Tanto International School, which both follow the International Baccalaureate curriculum. These schools all have classes taught in English, with Swedish language lessons forming part of the syllabus.
- Completed application form
- Payment of application fee
- Transcripts from previous schools
- A copy of the student’s passport, identification of parents
- Completed student medical form
- Copy of the student's immunisation record
Other fees might apply if the children are not registered with their local municipality and do not have a Swedish personal number