Last updated: 30 7 2018
All children have the right to an education. The municipality is obliged to offer you a place in school. Read here about what rules apply and about what support you can be given in order to be able to attend Swedish school.
The right to education
You are entitled to attend preschool, preschool class, compulsory or special needs compulsory school, special school and day recreation centres.
If you are an asylum seeker you are entitled to attend upper secondary or special needs upper secondary school if you begin your studies before you turn 18.
If you have a residence permit and are registered, or are going to be registered, as resident in a municipality, you are entitled to begin studies in upper secondary or special needs upper secondary school until the first six months, inclusive, of the year in which you turn 20.
Compulsory school attendance
Compulsory school attendance means the you have to attend school unless there is a legitimate reason not to do so.
If you are attending compulsory school, have a residence permit and are registered, or are going to be registered, as resident in a municipality, you are subject to compulsory school attendance. Compulsory school attendance begins in the autumn term of the year you turn six and usually applies for ten years. Compulsory school attendance corresponds to the right to an education.
Contact your municipality
Your municipality is obliged to offer you a place in school. If you are an asylum seeker you have to begin compulsory school or be offered a place in upper secondary school as soon as possible, and preferably no later than a month after you arrived in Sweden. If you have a residence permit you have to begin compulsory school or be offered a place in upper secondary school as soon as possible.
Assessment of previous knowledge
Assessment in compulsory school
When you begin compulsory school, the school staff need to assess what previous knowledge you have. The assessment takes your age, previous knowledge and personal circumstances into account. Within two months of you starting school, the head teacher at the school has to decide which year and class you are going to attend. The assessment of your knowledge is also used in the continued planning of your education. An interpreter or a teacher who speaks your native language is used during the assessment.
Assessment in upper secondary school
In upper secondary school, teachers have to make a continuing assessment of your knowledge. This assessment is the basis of your continued education.
Upper secondary school attendance is voluntary. In upper secondary school you can study on various national programmes or introduction programmes. The national programmes include both vocational programmes and preparatory programmes for subsequent higher education.
In order for you to be able to attend a vocational programme you have to have a Pass grade in Swedish or Swedish as a Second Language, English, Mathematics, as well as in another five subjects. In other words, a Pass grade is required in eight subjects in total.
In order for you to be able to attend a preparatory programme you have to have a Pass grade in Swedish or Swedish as a Second Language, English, Mathematics, as well as in another nine subjects. In other words, a Pass grade is required in twelve subjects in total.
If you do not qualify for the national programmes, you can attend one of the five introduction programmes. Introduction programmes are flexible in terms of the pace, scope and content of studies. The programmes also have to be adaptable to your previous knowledge and needs.
You can be offered teaching in a preparatory class for a maximum of two years. The aim of studying one or more subjects in a preparatory class is to enable you to participate in ordinary classes as soon as possible. In preparatory class you study various subjects while at the same time learning the basics of the Swedish language.
You cannot be offered all your lessons in this class. What proportion of your lessons will be in preparatory class and what proportion in ordinary class varies from person to person. It is the head teacher at the school who decides how teaching is organised.
The teacher has to assess your knowledge in the various subjects you are studying in preparatory class. When the teacher determines that you are able to participate in the ordinary class in a given subject, you have to attend those lessons instead.
Swedish as a Second Language
In compulsory school you can study Swedish or Swedish as a Second Language. If Swedish in not your native language you can study Swedish as a Second Language if you need to. The head teacher at each school decides if you can study Swedish as a Second Language. You, your guardian or your specially appointed custodial guardian can contact the head teacher at your school if you need to study Swedish as a Second Language. In upper secondary school you can take the Swedish or the Swedish as a Second Language course.
In compulsory school you can have a priority timetable. This means that you receive more teaching in Swedish or Swedish as a Second Language.
In order for you to have more time for Swedish, lessons in other subjects have to taken off the timetable. The total number of lessons is the same, but teaching time is redistributed so that there is more time for Swedish or Swedish as a Second Language. The head teacher at the school decides if you are going to have a priority timetable. You can have a priority timetable for a maximum of one year.
Native language lessons
You may be entitled to native language lessons if your native language is not Swedish. You are entitled to native language lessons in compulsory and upper secondary school if certain requirements are met. If you want to have native language lessons you have to apply for it. You, your guardian or your specially appointed custodial guardian should ask the school what you have to do and what the requirements are.
Study guidance in your native language
Study guidance in your native language is important in order for you to be able to make use of the knowledge and skills you already possess. You have to be given study guidance in your native language if you need it. Contact the teacher or head teacher at the school for more information about study guidance.
If you are between 17 and 21 years old and you arrived in Sweden without your parents, you are eligible to attend Folkhögskolespåret, which is an education programme at a folk high school. There you study upper secondary level courses. You can begin the programme even if you have not done some compulsory school subjects. Teaching is done in small groups and you will be given a lot of help.
You can usually board at the folk high school. You will then be given your own room. Breakfast and lunch, and sometimes dinner, are included. You pay nothing for your studies and you are eligible to apply for student finance from the Swedish Board of Student Finance (Centrala studiestödsnämnden, CSN). Speak to the contact person at your community home (HVB), your teacher in upper secondary school, or your social welfare officer about Folkhögskolespåret.
After you have completed your studies at a folk high school you can apply to study at a university college, a university or in higher vocational education.