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As the country's capital, Stockholm is at the centre of education in Sweden. It hosts more international schools than any other Swedish city and is home to the University of Stockholm, one of the best in the country.
In addition to Swedish public education, expat parents also have the option of sending their children to one of the many private or international schools in Stockholm.
Public schools in Stockholm
Schooling in Sweden is compulsory, and public schools are free for all children between the ages of seven and 16.
Public schools follow the Swedish National Syllabus. These schools are administrated by the local municipality in which they are located, are taxpayer-funded and may not charge student fees. When children turn seven years old they are automatically placed in a nearby public school.
Secondary school, which follows high school, is also voluntary, but each municipality is responsible to follow up on young people under 20 who do not study after high school. Pupils choose from 17 national programmes as well as a large number of local programmes, specially designed programmes and the individual programme. Unlike many other countries, Sweden lacks a formal matriculation; rather, there are secondary schools aimed at providing basic access to college.
The majority of Swedish children go to public schools, but instruction is in Swedish, so most expats choose to send their children to an international or private school instead. This allows expat children to be taught in their mother tongue and continue with a syllabus that is familiar to them.
Private schools in Stockholm
Private schools in Sweden are called Friskolor. These schools are independent and do not have to follow the Swedish National Syllabus, although some still choose to. There are only a few private schools in Stockholm, and generally the standard of education they offer is excellent.
Swedish private schools are independent and run by individuals, associations or foundations. In some cases, there are groups that form to run several schools. Private schools are, in principle, not obliged to follow the Swedish National Syllabus, but most private schools do.
More and more private schools are opening in Sweden and this means more competition, not least because parents can now choose which school they want their children to attend.
International schools in Stockholm
The international schools in Stockholm are the most popular choice for expat parents in the city. These schools often teach children in their home language and follow the syllabus of a specific country. There is, however, a high demand for places in international schools and, as a result, there are usually long waiting lists. Tuition is also usually expensive.
These schools generally have classes taught in English or a different language, with Swedish language lessons forming part of the weekly syllabus.
Tutoring in Stockholm
Schooling and education are highly valued in Sweden, and parents in Stockholm make regular use of private tuition for their children. Expats also often employ tutors, whether for Swedish language lessons, extra help with certain subjects, or just for their children to build some confidence in an unfamiliar environment. Regardless of age, tutoring can be massively beneficial. Some of the top tutoring companies in Stockholm include Studybuddy, Privatläraren Stockholm and My Academy.
Special needs education in Stockholm
Those children whose intellectual disabilities are too severe for mainstream schooling or 'compulsory school' (grundskolan), have the right to compulsory education, as well as secondary-level education at a 'compulsory school for pupils with learning disabilities' (grundsärskolan). Children whose impairments are too severe, such as from neurological damage or autism, for grundsärskolan have the right to education at a 'training school' (träningsskolan), which offers instruction in five non-traditional subject areas.
Children with physical disabilities who can't attend regular schools due to the severity of their impairments have the right to specially adapted education. Kids with these functional disabilities who can't attend 'compulsory schools' (grundskolan), or the 'compulsory school for pupils with learning disabilities' (grundsärskolan) can attend a 'special school' (specialskolan). This includes blind or visually impaired students, deaf students, those with severe speech disorders, or other physical impairments.