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Education and Schools in Sweden

Expat life in Sweden appeals to you? You aren’t alone! The quality of life attracts many expats every year. While the cost of living in Sweden may seem a bit steep, you get an amazing experience in return! Our guide to the “Land of the Midnight Sun” gives you a good idea of life in Sweden.
Sweden has an excellent education system.

The Swedish Education System: Created with Parents in Mind

The Swedish education system offers numerous education opportunities for children of all age groups. This includes regular schooling as well as education for children with learning disabilities. After school programs or extracurricular activities are available as well, mostly free of charge. Furthermore, the government has invested around 69.5 billion SEK in education and academic research. The government has also recently proposed initiatives to raise teacher salaries, improve further training available for teachers and the opportunities for development in the schools facing the greatest challenges.


Pre-school, pedagogical care and open pre-school are designed for younger children. Most institutions offering this type of schooling are daycare facilities for children age 1 and above. The different municipalities are obligated to offer pre-school and family day care to parents who study or work full time.

Pre-school is free for children aged 3–6 for up to 15 hours per week with parental fees being directly proportional to income. Fees can be up to 3% of the family’s monthly income but no more than 1,260 SEK per month. Open pre-school, on the other hand, caters to children who are not registered at a regular pre-school. It can also function as a supplement to pedagogical care. Before starting compulsory schooling, children in Sweden are able to complete a one-year förskoleklass (“per-school year”), which is designed to provide a platform for a child’s future schooling. Although this year is not compulsory, most children in Sweden attend it.

Compulsory Schooling

Attendance at school is compulsory for all children from the age of 7–16. Parents and children can choose if the young ones should begin schooling at the age of six or seven. Some kids may be more than ready for their first school day at the age of 6 while others may want to remain in pre-school or kindergarten for one more year. This is particularly convenient for expat parents who want to give their children some time to get used to their new home before letting them start first grade.

Compulsory school is free of charge for all Swedish residents. Compulsory schooling consists of three stages: years 1–3; years 4–6; and years 7–9. The educational standards of the different compulsory schools are the same throughout the country. There are different types of schools, however, which cater to the different needs of their students:

  • Compulsory comprehensive school
  • Sami school
  • Schools for the deaf and hearing impaired
  • Compulsory school for children with learning disabilities

Upper Secondary School

Upper secondary education prepares children for a future career or higher education and is also free of charge. Aside from regular upper secondary schools, there are also upper secondary schools for young people with learning disabilities. Sweden’s upper secondary education includes various types of programs:

  • 18 different national programs which last for three years and include mandatory courses, optional courses, project work and individual choices for core subjects
  • Individual programs for students with special educational needs
  • Specially designed local programs which combine subjects from various national programs

Childcare for Schoolchildren

In addition to schooling for different age groups, Sweden provides a childcare program for younger school children. This includes leisure time centers, family day-care homes and open leisure-time activities for children up to the age of 13. That way, kids can make good use of their time before and after school if their parents are at work or pre-occupied with their studies.

Childcare for schoolchildren is thus designed to further children’s development and support parents who try to combine parenthood with studying or working. The different municipalities are obligated to provide these kinds of leisure-time centers to their residents. Parent’s wishes concerning the placement of their child have to be taken into account.

International Schools

Despite the excellent education system in Sweden, you may prefer sending your kids to an international school. That way, they will get in touch with other expat children and will not be hit as hard by culture shock. These schools are mostly located in major cities. However, smaller towns like Gränna and Helsingborg offer an international education as well. Some of the international schools in Sweden are:








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