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The standard of education and schools in Stockholm is high. Education in Sweden is compulsory for all children between the ages of six and 16. Public schools are free to attend, as are 'independent schools', which are funded but not run by the government. There are few fee-paying schools in Stockholm, and many of those that do exist are international schools teaching foreign curricula.
Children in Sweden start school when they are six years old. Compulsory education consists of förskoleklass (‘preschool year’ or Year 0), lågstadiet (Years 1 to 3), mellanstadiet (Years 4 to 6) and högstadiet (Years 7 to 9). This is followed by gymnasieskola (upper secondary school, Years 10 to 12), which is not compulsory. Most children do fulfil secondary education to be able to get good jobs in the future.
Public schools in Stockholm
Public schools in Sweden can be attended by locals and expats alike. These schools follow the Swedish national curriculum and are administrated by the local municipality in which they are located. As these schools are funded by taxes, tuition is completely free.
The quality of education is good and most Swedish children go to public schools, but expats generally choose international schools for their children instead due to the language barrier.
Independent schools in Sweden
Friskolor are schools that, while receiving government funding, are run by non-government entities such as individuals, associations or foundations. Like public schools, friskolar are obligated to follow the Swedish national curriculum and are free to attend.
International schools in Stockholm
International schools in Sweden teach the curriculum of a foreign country such as the UK, the US or other qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate.
Children of all nationalities are welcome at most international schools. These schools may have long waiting lists, however, so it’s best for parents to plan ahead and apply for a spot for their children as early as possible.
International schools are expensive, charging not only tuition fees but also extras such as application and registration fees. Other potential costs include fees for school lunches, transportation and textbooks.
Special-needs education in Stockholm
Special-needs education in Sweden is managed by The National Agency for Special Needs Education and Schools (Specialpedagogiska skolmyndigheten). Children with special needs are kept in mainstream schools as far as possible, and receive individualised extra support in accordance with an action plan drawn up by the school principal. In cases where mainstream schooling is unable to provide the required support, a multidisciplinary team assesses the child and will then give a recommendation for entry into a special-needs programme or a special school if needed.
Tutors in Stockholm
Education is highly valued in Sweden, and parents make regular use of private tuition to bolster their children's learning. Expats also often employ tutors, whether for Swedish language lessons, extra help with certain subjects, or simply to build some confidence in an unfamiliar environment. Regardless of age, tutoring can be massively beneficial. Some of the top tutoring companies in Sweden include Studybuddy, Privatläraren Stockholm and My Academy.
►International Schools in Stockholm lists schools that are popular with the city's expats
"Fee-paying schools are extremely rare in Sweden but they are often a popular choice for expats in the Stockholm area. The general standard of education is quite good and there is more emphasis on critical thinking than on rote learning or discipline." Read more of Anne's expat interview.
Are you an expat living in Stockholm?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Stockholm. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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