Frequently Asked Questions
Before starting at the school
How can I apply?
Apply in just three steps:
- Click Join the Queue.
- Choose the school you want to apply for (Every school has its own queue. You can place your child in the queue from 1 February the year after they were born).
- Fill in the form including your details and those of your child so that we can stay in touch and let you know if a place becomes available.
Does it cost anything to attend your school?
There are no fees to attend IES schools. Our schools are funded in the same way as those run by the municipality, through the Swedish tax system and the school voucher (skolpeng).
Do you test your students prior to admission?
There is no exam or test for your child to pass if they would like to learn at an IES school. Places are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
My child has been asked to attend a workshop, what is this?
Children who have been offered a place in the starting year are invited to a workshop day - this enables them to try learning with IES for a few hours, and helps our teachers know what level your child is starting from, and how we can best help them. Teachers may set some assignments following the workshop day, which will help your child get up to speed before the start of school.
Can I apply from outside Sweden?
Because of the way that we are funded we are only able to offer education to students registered as living in Sweden. You can apply for a place for any student who has a Swedish national identity number (personnummer), even if they have not yet moved back to Sweden. If you do not yet have a Swedish national identity number but are moving to Sweden and would still like to apply, please contact the school in question for advice.
I want to apply to a school which isn’t listed on your website yet, what should I do?
On our website you can find all the schools we run, or those we have committed to open. If you are interested in a school we have not yet opened, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to have your email address added to the list of people who would like to be informed if we announce a school in that location in the future.
What is my child’s queue place?
We understand that you would like to know as early as possible whether your child has a place. However, it is difficult to give a precise answer before the school completes the intake process. We offer places based on the date on which students joined the queue, but also consider whether they will have a sibling in the school at the same time (syskonförtur).
Can I get a place without being first in line?
Our queue runs on a first-come, first-served basis, in the interests of fairness for all. However, if your child has a sibling who currently attends the school, and if both of your children will be students at the school at the same time, then they may be entitled to advanced placement in the queue (syskonförtur). In this case please write the sibling’s Swedish ID number in the appropriate box when applying for any other children.
At a small number of schools - Karlstad, Hässelby, Sundsvall and Örebro - we are taking part in a national trial to give advanced placement for families who have arrived in Sweden in the past two years. If you believe you meet the criteria please contact the school for more information.
When will you offer us a place?
Most of our schools begin their intake for the following academic year early in the spring term. The length of the process depends on how quickly we hear back from families who are offered places.
What are the rules on visitors to your schools?
Visiting our school is a wonderful way to see how we teach students and the sort of atmosphere that our schools offer. If you would like to visit a school please get in touch with them to see if you can arrange an appropriate time.
Is it possible for a student to try a day to see if they like the school?
As part of our main intake process we do hold a workshop day, which can give a taste of what it is like to study with IES. These days and open houses are the best way to try out our schools and decide if they are right for you. To avoid disruption to our students, we do not offer potential students the chance to join a school on a trial basis.
I applied to one school and want to move to the queue for another, how do I do this?
Each school has its own queue, and it is not possible to move between them. However, it is possible to join the queue for more than one school at the same time.
I need to change my application or made a mistake, what should I do?
Write to the school in question and let them know your queue ID number or personnummer and the information that you would like to change. You can find contact details for our schools here.
What if we decline an offer and then change our mind?
If you are offered a place and decline it, then you will lose your queue position and the place will be offered to the next student in line. If you later decide you would like a place then you will need to apply again.
Teaching and learning
Where do your students come from?
Our schools tend to have a similar make-up to the municipalities around them, but some students travel quite far from other municipalities to attend an IES school.
Is it necessary for my child to speak English well already when starting at your school?
You can start at our schools with any level of English. Up to half of the education is conducted in English, and teachers have a great deal of experience in helping students learn to command the English language, using language immersion.
Our students learn to command the English language quickly. In grade F-3 we introduce English gradually, giving students the tools to succeed in their lessons through the English language.
Do a lot of students leave Internationella Engelska Skolan because it is hard to learn using the English language?
Families choose our schools knowing that some subjects are taught in English, and it is something which has attracted them.
Students in our schools really enjoy speaking in English, and learning from teachers from a range of English-speaking countries. In this environment it is easy to succeed with the English language and see it as a useful tool, rather than an obstacle.
Young children have an amazing capacity for language learning. With guidance from outstanding educators, and parental support, we have found great success in helping students become bilingual since we first started teaching in English in 1993.
What modern foreign languages can my child learn?
Our schools offer Spanish, French and in many cases German as language options. Modern languages are part of the normal schedule at Swedish schools and as such all children are expected to study a third language.
How well do your students manage the Swedish language and culture with English being the language of instruction half the time?
Our schools are bilingual and we believe in students learning to command both languages, so half of the lessons are taught in Swedish. While English is the key to the world, it is important that students also master the Swedish language, which is an important tool for anyone who wants to live, work and integrate into Swedish society.
Our national test results in Swedish are also above the national average, as they are in the other core subjects, showing that our students are able to command both languages.
We celebrate Swedish culture as well as the traditions of English-speaking countries - such as wearing caps and gowns during graduation.
Do all your teachers speak Swedish?
Teachers who move to Sweden to teach with us often arrive with little or no Swedish. But it doesn’t take them long to start learning, so they can get the most out of life here. We offer support to help them learn Swedish. Children at our schools often find themselves helping English-speaking adults on their own language journey too.
Parents can let us know if they prefer to speak only Swedish during development talks. If we are informed in advance we will make sure a Swedish-speaking member of staff is present to help translate.
Are all your teachers qualified?
In IES schools 85 per cent of teachers are qualified (2018-19 and 2019-20), compared to the national average of 78 per cent (2018-19). 47 per cent of our teachers have teaching qualifications from abroad - mostly from English speaking countries - while 38 per cent of them qualified in Sweden. We aim to recruit qualified teachers wherever possible. If we recruit an unqualified teacher we put a development plan in place to set out how they will become qualified.
Swedish school law sets out that where teaching is conducted through the English language, teachers with a teaching degree from outside of Sweden are also qualified. The training of teachers in countries we recruit from, such as Canada, the USA and the UK, is excellent and in many ways superior to the training that Swedish student-teachers receive.
How many students are there in a class?
The maximum number of students in a class varies depending on the age of the student.
In general at our schools this means:
- F-3: 28 per class
- 4-5: 30 per class
- 6-9: 32 per class.
My child is an outstanding student. How will you make sure they develop and remain interested?
We encourage all of our students to reach their full potential, and recognise that every child has unique talents and abilities. Some students need a greater challenge to hold their interest and help them to develop. IES teachers are always pleased to help students set new and ambitious targets, and make the most of their enthusiasm or talent. Academic surgeries give students the chance to revisit any topic in more detail with their teacher, outside of class time. These sessions can also be a perfect opportunity to explore what is possible if they would like to take their studies further.
Life at school
How can I get in touch with my child’s mentor, subject teacher, principal?
You will have regular contact with your child’s mentor, and they can be a useful link between you and other staff at the school. If you need to get in touch with a specific teacher or the principal, you can reach out to them through the school’s reception.
Do you take in students with special needs?
We do educate students with special needs. Our schools are open to everyone. We ask parents to let us know as soon as possible of any special needs or requirements for special assistance so that we can plan effectively and make sure the right resources are in place to help your child succeed.
Is there a school uniform?
There is no school uniform, but there is a dress code. School is a workplace, both for teachers and students, and we expect everyone to dress appropriately for this environment. Clothing should also be in a good state of repair, clean, and should do nothing to disrupt the educational process.
We understand that we will receive regular reports about our child’s progress already from grade four. How does that work?
We will monitor your child’s progress continuously and provide written assessments of their progress to you. Grading is mandatory for students in grades 6 to 9, who receive mid-term reports as well as grades at the end of term, in accordance with the law. For parents and students in years 4 to 5, reports are given four times a year.
All F-3 students and parents receive regular feedback on progress during development talks, but grades are not set for these year-groups.
We hold development talks twice a year. As a family you will receive a card to fill in, two weeks before the talk is held, so that you have time to talk with your child and make your own determination of their progress. You can then sign up for a suitable time at school to meet with your child’s mentor and other members of staff. The report prepared by the family is compared with the teachers’ report during the development talk, providing a solid base for discussion. Everyone works to ensure that the meeting has beneficial results for the students.
We have heard that there is discipline in your schools. What exactly does this mean?
Part of our promise to families is to provide a safe and calm environment where everyone can focus on teaching and learning. That environment is something that we need all of our students to help nurture, by behaving responsibly and recognising that school is their workplace. Students have a right to expect that everyone around them will abide by the rules. These rules are set by the principal following discussion with the student council and staff.
Boundaries are also important for children as they grow and develop. By setting clear boundaries and following up on these we can help students to explore their own values, and who they want to develop into, in a structured way.
Do you follow the local municipality’s dates for holidays and vacation periods?
Our schools follow the same holidays as their home municipality, and this is our aim when setting term dates. Any differences, such as in service days, will be noted in the school calendar at the start of term.
Do students receive homework?
Homework is a useful tool to help re-enforce the learning which is carried out in the classroom. Students will receive some homework every day and sometimes on the weekend, though the amount of time needed will vary by age, subject and student.
How are students involved in decision making?
Many students are active in the student council, which is elected at the start of the new school year, and which meets with the principal and assistant principal on a regular basis.
We always welcome feedback from our students, whether they are part of the student council or communicate feedback via their mentor or another staff member. Everything we do in our schools is for the benefit of students, and their point of view is important to us.
How can parents participate and help in the school?
Most of our schools have an active Parent / Teacher Association (PTA). These groups form a close working relationship with school management, and are a real boost to any school - bringing families and educators together and contributing greatly to the school’s sense of community. If your school doesn’t have a PTA, and you would like to start one, why not approach your principal and get the ball rolling.
How will my child get to and from school?
How your child gets to school is up to you, some students arrive by public transport, some walk or cycle, and some are given a lift.
Do you hand out bus cards to students?
If you believe your child might be entitled to a bus card you should contact your home municipality since this is a matter for the municipality and not the school.
I wish to make a complaint, how can I do this?
We encourage a dialogue with our students and parents. If there is something you would like to complain about you should first contact the school, the mentor and/or the principal. If you have spoken with the school’s principal and still wish to take the complaint further, the next step is to contact the IES ombudsman, our head of pastoral, Mr Jeremy Elder. You can reach him via e-mail at email@example.com by writing to: Mr Jeremy Elder, Internationella Engelska Skolan, Huvudkontoret, Nytorpsvägen 5B, 183 71 Täby. Any complaints will be investigated in a factual and objective manner after hearing from the school, parents and students involved.