The Directory - How to choose a school in Norrland.
The Directory - How to choose a school in Norrland.

How to choose a school

If your child is attending school in Skellefteå for the first time, you might have questions about both the Swedish school system and the process of finding a good school in Norrland. Let Vicky Taylor be your guide

In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to help find the right school for your kids.

Sweden is famous for having a great school system. All children and young people are to have equal access to education, regardless of gender, where they live or social or economic factors.

And for you as a parent, you have the added bonus that a free lunch is provided for kids in compulsory schools. No need to pack lunches!

So, in simple terms, the Swedish school system can be split it into pre-school, compulsory schooling and senior high school.

Pre-school (förskola) – From ages 1-5, children can attend pre-school (förskola). While this is not compulsory, the one-year pre-school class (föreskoleklass) that starts at the age of 6 is.

Compulsory comprehensive school (grundskola)   This is divided into three stages: elementary school (lågstadiet) year 1-3, middle school (mellanstadiet) year 4-6, and junior high school (högstadiet) year 7-9. Some schools offer all 9 years of schooling, while others might offer one or two of the three stages, meaning that your child would have to change schools after a few years.

Senior high school (gymnasieskola) – Your teen can attend a 3-year senior high school program at a gymnasium after year 9. While it is optional, almost everyone in Sweden attends this free programme. There are quite a few different programs (vocational and in preparation for higher education) where students can choose to study a field they are interested in.

How to choose a school

How are schools in Sweden run?

Most schools in Sweden are municipally-run schools (kommunala skolor). However, there are also publicly-funded independent schools (fristående skolor) and a handful of private schools (privatskolor). 

Whichever school you choose, Swedish schools have a high standard in education and no matter what grade your child is in, you have quite a few options in Skellefteå. That includes both municipally run and independent schools. Among
the independent schools, you will find Internationella Engelska Skolan, the International English School in Skellefteå.

How do you find a school in Skellefteå?

First, you need to know your options. 

Here are a few helpful links where you can look through lists of schools in Skellefteå and gather other useful information:

Pre-schools (municipally run)

Pre-schools (independent) pedagogisk-omsorg

Compulsory schools (municipally run and independent)

Senior high schools (municipally run and independent)

It can be challenging to know what you’re looking for when skimming through these lists. 

Many parents start by looking at schools that are close to home. 

However, Sweden does have freedom of school choice, making it possible for you to choose a school further away too.

Every child is different, and every parent has different ideas on what their child needs. 

How to choose a schoolFor example, do you want your child to have a Swedish or a bilingual learning atmosphere? If you value your child’s command of English, you might look closer at the International English School.

Another arrangement you should be aware of is the mother tongue (modersmål) class. If your child speaks a language other than Swedish at home, they can study their mother tongue with an instructor in their school.  

Now, if you wish to find out more about a certain school, you can find school quality and inspection results on the following websites:


If you can’t read Swedish, and a site has no English translation, try using the translate function at the top of the browser page. In the Google Chrome and Safari browsers, you can download translation extensions.

Visit the school

If you’ve found a school in Skellefteå that you find interesting, visiting the school before enrolment is very important. We also recommend bringing your child with you. After all, they will be the one spending five days a week there. When visiting, both of you can see the school environment, and ask someone all those questions you have.
(See Ask a Local below for some good questions to ask.)

Have you decided on a school?
Congrats! All you need do to now is apply. All schools in Sweden have open applications and you generally fill out an application on the school’s website.

Many schools do have a queue, so it is important to apply to several schools. 

Also, try not to wait until the last second! Start looking for a school as soon as possible and send in the applications in time.

We hope this guide was helpful and that you’re well on your way to finding the right school for your kids!


Ask a local, Sandra Marklund


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