There are numerous excellent options for education and schools in Bergen. Though there is only one international school in the city, it has a good reputation, as do the city's public schools.
Education in Norway is divided into three levels. The compulsory stage is known as Grunnskole and consists of Barneskole (elementary school, ages six to 13) and Ungdomsskole (lower secondary school, ages 13 to 16). Most students continue to Videregående skole (upper secondary school, ages 16 to 19), at which point they can choose between general study or vocational streams.
Public schools in Bergen
The majority of schools in Bergen are state schools that teach the national curriculum in Norwegian. These schools can be attended free of charge from the age of six to 16.
For expats, the main downside of these schools is the language barrier. It's worth noting that if children are young enough, they can adapt to a new language fairly easily. This can prove to be a worthwhile pursuit for families moving to Norway for the long term.
Private and international schools in Bergen
Until 2005, there were very few private secondary schools in Norway due to strict local laws. All private schools in Norway had to meet a particular standard in offering a religious or pedagogic alternative to the mainstream curriculum taught in public schools.
Today, private schools of any kind are allowed to operate in Norway, though they are few and far between and most local families opt for public school regardless. Private schools, on the other hand, are more popular with foreign families in Norway.
For parents looking to enrol their children into a foreign-curriculum school, the city offers just one option, namely the International School of Bergen. Here, the International Baccalaureate curriculum is taught in English.
Special-needs education in Bergen
Norway has a decades-long history of opting for an inclusive approach to special education, keeping students with special needs among their peers and providing support within mainstream education rather than putting them into special schools. Specialists such as educational psychologists visit schools to assist with any special educational needs a child might have.
Tutors in Bergen
As a country that puts a high value on education, Norway is home to several tutoring companies, both online and in person. Bergen is no exception, and expats often find tutors a highly useful resource. Expat children learning Norwegian for the first time, or those adjusting to a new curriculum, can benefit greatly from one-on-one or group tutoring sessions.
Websites such as University Tutor and Apprentus are useful for finding tutors, or expats can ask teachers and fellow parents at their children’s school for recommendations.
►For more in-depth information, see Education and Schools in Norway
►Read our recommendations for family-friendly neighbourhoods in Areas and Suburbs in Bergen
"I work for an international school (International School of Bergen), which is a great place to send your kids, especially if you are not planning to be in Norway for the long haul. Other than that, the school system in my opinion is fantastic. All schools are generally equal when it comes to quality, so any school you choose will probably be great."
Learn more about settling in Bergen in our interview with British expat Selina.
Are you an expat living in Bergen?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Bergen. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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