The concept of inclusion prevails in the Danish Folkeskole. Therefore, the aim is to include all pupils in the Folkeskole and provide special education for the children who need it. Consequently, the use of special schools is to be limited. However, special schools still exist for those children with severe handicaps or other disabilities which a normal school cannot provide support for.
Definition of target group(s)
As mentioned in section 12.1, Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education, specific support measures, a pupil will receive special education based on a concrete assessment in each individual case. According to the Folkeskole Act, this assessment must be made upon pedagogical and psychological counselling and upon consultation with the pupil and his or her parents.
Admission requirements and choice of school
From August 2008, every child resident in Denmark has been subject to compulsory education for ten years. Compulsory education is to take place between the child’s 6th to 16th year. The pre-school class has been compulsory from 1 August 2009, while the 10th form remains optional. Children who live in Denmark for a minimum of 6 months are subject to the regulations on compulsory education. Compulsory education means an obligation to participate in the teaching of the Folkeskole or in teaching comparable to the requirements of the Folkeskole.
The Folkeskole consists of one year of pre-school class, nine years of primary and lower secondary education and a one-year 10th form (optional).
Every child in Denmark is, according to his/ her address or place of residence, associated with a district school. In general, the child is therefore entitled to admission at the district school. The child is also entitled to admission at the school’s after-school recreation scheme if such a scheme exists, and if there is vacancy.
The municipality can refer the child to another school or education option if, for instance, the child’s development requires special attention or support which cannot be granted at the district school, or if the child has a considerable need for language support in the form of lessons in Danish as a second language etc.
If the child’s parents do not want the child to attend the district school, they can apply for admission at another school which they are free to choose. They can apply for admission both within and outside their municipality. The child can only be admitted to the school which the parents have applied for if there is vacancy, and if the school is able to grant the child relevant education options. If the child is admitted, he/ she is also entitled to admission at the school’s after-school recreation scheme if such a scheme exists, and if there is vacancy.
Children with special needs are in general entitled to stay at the school they are admitted to. However, the child in question can be referred to another school, if a pedagogic psychological assessment shows that the special needs of the child have changed.
If parents to a child with special needs do not wish to make use of the special education offer the municipality of residence has given the child, it is possible for the parents to choose a similar offer elsewhere inside or outside the municipality. However, the parents cannot choose an offer which is more extensive than the one offered by the municipality of residence – but they can choose an offer less extensive. The child can only be admitted to the school which the parents have applied for if there is vacancy, and if the school is able to grant the child relevant education options.
The rules governing choice of school are laid down in the Folkeskole Act (Bekendtgørelse af lov om folkeskolen, LBK no. 1396 of 05/10/2022).
More information on choice of school can be found here (in Danish).