Swedish school for new arrivals


Attending a Swedish school for the first time


Your child will start either in the preschool class – a voluntary one-year class – or in ‘grundskola’ – the nine-year compulsory school. You will find out more about the Swedish school system here. The more you know, the more you can influence your child’s schooling. 

School is democratic 

Education gives pupils knowledge, as well as the motivation to learn more throughout their lives. Pupils are supported by their teachers to help them achieve the knowledge requirements for their education. Every pupil should be able to develop to their fullest potential. 

Education is structured democratically and respects human rights and democracy. All pupils are entitled to equality in their education, regardless of their gender, faith, disability, sexual orientation, or where in Sweden they live. Every pupil is important in the school, and the school will always consider what is best for the pupil in planning its activities. Sweden has both municipal schools and independent schools, which are run by companies or organisations. Attendance at a grundskola is compulsory, but voluntary for the preschool class. All schools are free of charge. 

Everyone will get a place in a school

The municipality you live in will tell you about the schools in your municipality. You can request which school you want your child to attend. The website www.valjaskola.se has information about the various schools and the process for the allocation of places. You can also ask the municipality where you live. 

The school decides which class the pupil will start in

The school will assess your child’s previous schooling, knowledge, experience, and interests. This assessment is often done with the help of an interpreter. Within two months, the principal will decide which grade and class your child will attend. In order to learn Swedish as quickly as possible, newly arrived pupils may attend a preparatory class alongside their regular class. In the preparatory class the pupils will learn basic Swedish, but possibly other subjects as well. They will attend the preparatory class for a maximum of two years. The idea is that pupils will learn the subjects full-time in their regular class as soon as possible. The principal will decide when your child no longer needs to attend the preparatory class. 

Ask the teacher 

At least one teacher will be responsible for your child’s class. Contact your child’s teacher if you have questions. If you need an interpreter, ask the school for help. 

The school wants to co-operate with you 

The school will keep you up to date about your child’s schooling and will invite you to meetings with teachers and other guardians. It is important to read the information you receive and to take part in the meetings. 

Guardians and pupils will be called to attend a development dialogue once per term. For preschool pupils, the development dialogue will take place at least once per school year. You will discuss your child’s development together with your child and their teacher. This is an important opportunity to learn more about your child’s schooling. 

The picture outlines who you should contact at the school when you have questions or comments.