We’ve done the deed, applying to a school for O by choosing three state-run schools, ready for him to start the school year in August.
Luckily, the process in Stockholm is relatively short when you apply for förskoleklass (preschool class – the non-compulsory year of school for six year olds). Taking it down to the basics, you apply between 15 January and 15 February and hear which school you’ve got into on 15 March. As said though, that is to simplify the whole process somewhat. Because if you want to apply to a private school, you need to be quick and do that when your child is very young (for example, for Franska Skolan (the French School) in the city, you really need to apply once your child is born – in other words, before you even apply for a preschool place for them).
There are a number of private schools in the city centre, and a handful of these offer bilingual programmes:
- Campus Manilla
- Carlssons Skola
- Djurgårdens Waldorfskola
- Engelska Skolan Norr (bilingual – English and Swedish)
- Europaskolan (bilingual programme – English and Swedish)
- Fredrikshovs Slotts Skola
- Futuraskolan (bilingual programme – English and Swedish)
- Kungsholmens Friskola
- Musikskolan Lilla Akademien (music school)
- Stockholms Internationella Montessoriskola / Stims (bilingual English and Swedish
- Stockholm International School (bilingual – English and Swedish, but be prepared to take out a second mortgage to cover the fees…)
- Sverigefinska Skolan in Stockholm (bilingual – Swedish and Finnish)
- Tyska Skolan (bilingual – German and Swedish)
- Vasastans Montessoriskolan
The best place to find the state-run (kommunalt) schools and to compare them is on the Stockholm county council’s website. On this page, you can see all of the state-run schools that offer education from age 6 in the centre of the city. And there is quite some choice.
If you live in the Stockholm area, from around the December before you apply and through most of January, the schools will hold information meetings or open days, or both, where you get a chance to see the school and talk to staff. You can then decide on the three state schools that you like best and once the system opens on stockholm.se on 15 January, you can log on and apply for those. There is no limit to how many private schools you apply for.
Also, there is no need to panic on 15 January – it doesn’t matter when during the 30-day period you send in your application as the system does not assign state schools on a first come, first served basis.
Applying to a school
Helpfully, the website guides you along the way.
This is where you click to start the application process:
Remember to have your “e-leg” – such as BankID or MobiltBankID – handy as you’ll need that to log in.
You’ll need to put in your identification number (rather than your child’s).
The first page after you log in gives you a little bit of information about the process. Don’t worry, the system won’t allow you to proceed if your child isn’t turning 6 this year, so there is no risk of accidentally applying a year or two early!
You can then choose your three schools and can provide an order of preference.
Once you have finished and pressed OK, you’re all signed up for state schools. You have until 15 February to change your choices. After that date, no changes can be made.
On 15 March, letters are sent to parents, informing them which state school their child has a place at. You can also log back into the same page on stockholm.se and see there. You then have until 1 April to sign the acceptance letter for the school (both parents/guardians) and ensure that it is back with the school. If you miss this deadline or decline the place you’ve been assigned, your child’s spot goes to a child on the waiting list for that school.
There seems to be conflicting information about the chances you have of getting your child into the school you choose. From other parents, I hear that it can be tough to get the school you have chosen, whereas our preschool assured us that in recent years all of the children have received a place at their first choice. However, the fact that parents can decline a place on 1 April or subsequently take a place at a private school (who typically contact parents after March) means there should be a chance to get a spot at the school of your choice after all.
Roll on 15 March, when we find out!
Edited to add: After publishing this post, I was contacted by Internationella Engelska Skolan, who let me know that they have a number of bilingual schools both in Stockholm and across Sweden, mostly for grades 4-9 (ages 10-16). It’s always interesting to hear about more options!