Preschool and education

In Sweden, children between one and five are guaranteed a place in a municipal preschool, if their guardian is either working or studying. From the age of six they have the option to attend preschool classes. Children between seven and sixteen must attend compulsory school which lasts for nine years. Most pupils then go on to an upper secondary school for three years, where they can choose to study either theoretical or practical programmes.

In Helsingborg there is a wide choice of schools with different pedagogical directions. For instance, you’ll find the International School of Helsingborg, ISH, where your children can go to preschool, compulsory school and upper secondary school. Please note that there are certain requirements which need to be met for your children to go to ISH. More information is available on ISH’s website.

You and your children can choose a school which is located in a different municipality than Helsingborg. But then you need to ensure that you settle on an agreement between the two municipalities before school starts.

Your children may be entitled to free school transport, usually by city bus. Your right to school transport depends on how far your children will have to travel.

Read more about the Swedish school system at


Your children can take part in preschool activities from the age of 1 until they start preschool classes.

Preschool should be fun, safe and educational for all the children involved. In preschool children get to develop language, mathematics, motor activity and social skills. Children’s development is based on playing together, experiencing music and creative activities.

There are 135 different preschools in Helsingborg. You can find pedagogical care and preschools with different profiles and pedagogical directions, as well as outdoors preschools and music preschools.

If you’re a parent who is working or studying, your children can go to preschool. Children whose parents are looking for work are entitled to 15 hours of preschool every week. In order to get a place for your child, you need to fill in an application form and send it to your School and Youth Services Department. You’ll be entitled to a place within 4 months of the receipt of your application by the Department.

The cost of preschool for your child varies. Usually the amount required is about 1-3 percent of the household’s income for each child per month. Exactly how much depends on how many of your children are registered in the city’s preschool activities or child care system. It also depends on how much money you make within the family.

Applying for or cancelling a place

As a parent or guardian, you can apply for a place in any preschool within the Helsingborg municipality.

To be entitled to a place at a preschool, you as the guardian need to be employed or in education. Children whose parents are actively seeking employment are entitled to go to preschool for 15 hours per week all year round.

Preschool is aimed at all children between 1 and 5 and is available in the form of preschools or pedagogical child care, as well as additional preschool activities, also known as open preschools.

If you don’t want to make use of the child’s preschool place you must hand in a written notice to the preschool. The notification period lasts for one month.

Preschool classes

A preschool class is an optional type of education; it consists of one year of preparatory school training in between attending preschool and the nine-year compulsory school. Here your child can have a natural transition from preschool to school. The activities are closely related to that of the compulsory school.

The school in your neighbourhood will offer you a place in a preschool class, starting from the autumn term the year your child turns six. When you choose schools, you choose the school where your child should start preschool classes and then continue with compulsory school.

The preschool class activities last a couple of hours each day and are free of charge. Children in preschool classes can also get full day care by going to an after-school recreation centre, also called school child care.

Compulsory education

In Helsingborg, you and your child can choose which compulsory school suits your child best. It can be the school in your neighbourhood or another school somewhere else.

There are about 60 compulsory schools in Helsingborg, 40 of which are run by the municipality, meaning they’re part of the schools we call “Kunskapsstaden Helsingborg” (roughly meaning the Knowledge City Helsingborg). Only 20 schools are run by other responsible authorities and not the municipality; they’re known as independent schools. These schools have different profiles and pedagogical directions.

You are always guaranteed a place in the municipal school in your neighbourhood. This is the municipal school which is in or close to the area where you live. If you choose a different school from your neighbourhood school, you can only get a place at that school if one is available.

Compulsory education is free of charge, whether you choose a municipal school or an independent school.

If you and your children aren’t native speakers of Swedish, your child can attend introductory classes. In the introductory classes children learn to develop their knowledge of Swedish and get to learn about Swedish culture. The child is there for a maximum of one year and can then continue with regular classes.

You can find introductory classes at Elinebergsskolan and Maria Parkskolan. At Maria Parkskolan you can also find ”Slussen”, which are classes children can attend for a couple of weeks before they go on to introductory classes.

After-school recreation centre

All children between 6 and 12 can go to an after-school recreation centre, or child care centre, before and after their school day. At the after-school recreation centre the children can take part in indoor and outdoor activities, play with their friends, relax or do their homework.

To get a place in school day care, you as the guardian need to be in work or education. If you lose your job you are entitled to keep your child’s place in the after-school recreation centre for one month.

If you want to have school child care for your child, you need to indicate this at the same time you and your child choose school. You pay a fee for your child to go to an after-school recreation centre. The fee depends on how much you earn.

Upper secondary school

There are about 20 upper secondary schools in Helsingborg. There are many good options when choosing upper secondary education, for both municipal upper secondary schools within “Kunskapsstaden Helsingborg”, as well as independent schools. You can find all upper secondary schools here at, which includes both independent and municipal schools. Education is free whether you choose a municipal or independent upper secondary school.

If you’ve just arrived in Sweden and don’t speak Swedish you can attend an introductory programme at an upper secondary school. This training will give you sufficient knowledge of the Swedish language in order for you to apply to a regular Swedish upper secondary school programme.

Native language learning

All children in compulsory and upper secondary school are entitled to learn their parents’ mother tongue, known as native language learning. Native language learning should support students’ bilingual development and at the same time improve students’ knowledge of their cultural background.

In order to receive native language learning at least one of the parents should have a different mother tongue than Swedish. This language should also be used in their daily life at home.

You as their guardian must register your interest in native language learning. The registration form is available at your child’s school.

School for children with learning disabilities

School for children with learning disabilities is for children and young people who can’t manage at an ordinary school. The students at schools for children with learning disabilities are either mentally disabled or have a considerable and permanent learning disability caused by brain damage.

Most students at schools for children with learning disabilities go to municipal or independent compulsory schools, either in special classes only for children with these disabilities or in integrated compulsory school classes. Going to a school for children with learning disabilities does not need to involve teaching in a separate building or in a separate school.

Adult education

At municipal adult education centres you can study at different levels and with different goals. Maybe you want to get yourself vocational training or achieve better grades in separate courses in order to continue with your studies. The choice is yours!

You can seek adult education from 1 July the year you turn 20, or if you have a final certificate from an upper secondary school and need additional training.

You can study at levels which correspond to basic, upper secondary and further education learning. Studies at a basic level correspond to compulsory school at years 7 to 9. The upper secondary school level involves theoretical courses and/or vocational training.

Study at Campus Helsingborg

If you’d like to study at university, you can choose the Campus Helsingborg which is part of Lund University. Several thousand students study here, taking courses in everything from service management to food technology. You can get basic and advanced level training, preparatory training as well as separate courses.

At Campus Helsingborg they carry out research together with the faculties in Lund and in collaboration with businesses and the public sector. On Campus Helsingborg’s English information pages you can read more about studying in Helsingborg after you leave your upper secondary education. At the Lund University website you can read more about studying in Sweden and how you apply.

If you’re a Swedish citizen, or come from an EU country or are an exchange student, then it’s free for you to study at universities in Sweden. Read more about the rules for foreign citizens studying at a university in Helsingborg or Lund.

SFI – Swedish for immigrants

Do you have a family member or a friend who has just arrived in Sweden? Or are you originally from a different country and want to improve your Swedish? Then you can participate in Swedish for immigrants; SFI. If you’d like to develop your Swedish, you can also study SAS, Swedish as a second language, at a basic level.

You’re entitled to Swedish for immigrants if you’re:

  • an adult (starting from 1 July the year you turn 16);
  • not able to speak basic Swedish;
  • registered in Helsingborg.

How do I get started?

Register at the SFI reception at Helsingborgs Lärcentrum, Rönnowsgatan 10.

You’ll meet a study counsellor and SFI teachers. Together you’ll go through your background and your future plans in order to decide which courses and which level will suit you best. You’ll then get a personal study plan. When this is finished, you choose a school which provides the courses you’d like to study.

What is SFI?

Swedish training for immigrants is basic training in the Swedish language for adults who don’t have Swedish as their mother tongue.