A pupil fulﬁls his/her compulsory school attendance in catchment primary school in the school district where he/she has permanent residence, unless his/her parents or guardian chooses a different primary school. If a municipality does not establish primary school, a common school district may be agreed with neighbouring municipalities. That means, a pupil may also complete his/her compulsory school attendance in the primary school outside the catchment school district. The headteacher of school to which the pupil was admitted, shall announce the fact to the municipality where the pupil has permanent residence.
The geographical accessibility of primary school is reflected by their network, which is, following the Act on state administration in education and self-government in education, laid down by the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic. Several aspects are taken into consideration in its creation, e.g., primary school should be as near as possible to the pupil’s residence in order that the distance from the school is maximally reduced and the pupil can use the means of public transport. This fact is especially emphasized for pupils attending first stage of primary school.
The Educational Act enables to organise education of primary school in a classroom attended by pupils of several grades. The above mentioned way is used predominantly in regions where population density is far below the national average. Unless the municipality establishes a primary school, travel costs connected with commuting to school are covered to the pupils‘ guardians by the state.
In case of excluding a primary school from the network and its successive dissolution the municipality will determine the school district of the primary school in which the pupils of the dissolved primary school will fulfil their compulsory school attendance.
A pupil who is studying at a school outside the territory of the Slovak Republic or at a school established by another state in the territory of the Slovak Republic with the consent of the embassy of another state taking into consideration that the embassy of another state has notified the Ministry of Education about the consent of establishment of school which is not in the network of schools and school facilities, may, at the request of the pupil's guardian or an adult pupil, carry out Official Examining Board Tests. In the request, the pupil's guardian or an adult pupil will specify the grades for which the Official Examining Board Tests are to be taken.
Pupils who are individually educated abroad will take an examination in all compulsory subjects of the curriculum of the relevant grade, except for subjects with a predominance of educational focus for each relevant school year, maximum of all grades after the fourth grade of primary school and ninth grade of primary school.
For serious reasons, especially difficult access to the school where the student belongs, a student may take the examination at another school in the Slovak Republic, following the agreement between the pupil’s guardian or an adult pupil with the principal of the school where the student belongs and the headteacher of the school in which the examination is to be taken.
A pupil who is studying individually abroad or a pupil who has applied for the Official Examining Board Tests shall take the Official Examining Board Tests. The date, content and scope of the Official Examining Board Tests shall be determined by the headteacher of the school in which the Official Examining Board Tests are to be taken, no later than 15 days before they take place. Based on the results of the Official Examining Board Tests, the school will issue a certificate to the pupil.
A pupil who has not requested the Official Examining Board Tests will take the Official Examining Board Tests after completing a special way of school attendance. According to the results of the Official Examining Board Tests, the headteacher places the pupil to the relevant grade.
Admission requirements and choice of school
A child who has met the conditions for starting compulsory school attendance and whose admission, on the basis of enrolment, has been requested by the pupil’s guardian, is admitted to primary school.
According to the Education Act, the compulsory school attendance starts at the beginning of the school year following the day on which the child reaches the age of six and the school maturity. If the child has not reached school maturity after reaching the age of six, the headmaster of the pre-primary school decides on the continuation of compulsory pre-primary education in the pre-primary school with the written consent of the general practitioner and the written consent of the pupil’s guardian.
If the child has not reached school maturity even after continuing compulsory pre-primary education at the pre-primary school, he/she will start compulsory school attendance in primary school no later than 1 September following the day on which the child reached the age of seven.
The zero grade of primary school is designed for the children who attained by 1 September the age of six years, but have not achieved the school maturity.
If the guardian request that exceptionally be enrolled the child who has not the age of six years, he must add to his request affirmative statement by the respective establishment of educational counselling and prevention and a statement by general practitioner for child and adolescents.
There can also be an assistant teacher in the primary and special primary classes, who helps the child, especially with special educational needs, who, according to the requirements of the teacher, educator or master of vocational education and in cooperation with professional staff, creates equal opportunities in upbringing and education, helps a child, a pupil or a group of pupils in overcoming architectural, informational, linguistic, health, social or cultural barriers.
The child's guardian is obliged to register the child for compulsory school attendance at primary school (hereinafter referred to as "enrolment"). Enrolment takes place from 1 April to 30 April, which precedes the beginning of the school year in which the child is to start compulsory school attendance.
The headmaster of a catchment primary school is obliged to give priority to pupils who have a permanent residence in the school district of the catchment school and pupils placed in a school facility or other facility on the basis of a decision of the court located in the school district of this catchment area, up to the maximum number of pupils in the class of the relevant grade. If the number of pupils at the age of compulsory school attendance who are to attend the catchment school is higher than the capacity of the catchment school, the catchment school for the pupil will be provided by the state administration body in education - district office in the regional seat, education department.
Exceptionally, a child who has not reached the age of six and has completed compulsory pre-primary education may be admitted to primary education, always after the opinion of the relevant educational counselling and prevention facility and a general practitioner. In the case of a child who has completed pre-primary education abroad, the guardian will provide the headmaster of the school where the student belongs with a document stating the name and address of the pre-primary school confirming that the child has attended the relevant pre-primary school.
The headmaster decides on the admission of a child with special educational needs on the basis of a written request from the guardian and a written statement from the educational counselling and prevention facility issued on the basis of the child's diagnostic examination. Before admitting a child with special educational needs to a school with an educational programme for pupils with special educational needs, the headmaster will instruct the guardian about all the possibilities of their child's education.
Choice of school
A child who has met the conditions for starting compulsory school attendance and whose admission, on the basis of enrolment, has been requested by the guardian to the catchment school, according to the child's permanent residence or another school of the guardian's choice, is admitted to primary school.
According to the Education Act, compulsory school attendance begins at the beginning of the school year following the day on which the child reaches the age of six and reaches school eligibility.
Age levels and grouping of pupils
Primary school is organised in classes according to age from grade 1 up to grade 9, with the possibility of establishing a grade 0 (zero). The classes are coeducational. Each grade is attended by pupils of the same age, the only exemption being the pupils who repeat the grade or gifted pupils who are allowed to omit some grades.
At school, the education and training are carried out in classrooms and in special classrooms equipped according to needs of individual subjects, especially, in laboratories, school workshops, school premises, training kitchen, gyms, and at school playgrounds. The classroom may be also a special classroom.
The lowest number of pupils in a primary school class is
a) 8 pupils in the zero grade class, 6 pupils in the zero grade class in an incomplete organized primary school,
b) 12 in a class in where there are pupils of several grades of the first stage of primary school,
c) 11 in the first grade class,
d) 13 in the second to fourth grade class,
e) 15 in the fifth to ninth grade class.
In special, justified cases, the founder of the primary school may determine a lower than the minimum stated number of pupils in the class.
The highest number of pupils in a primary school class is
a) 24 in a class in where there are pupils of several grades of the first stage of primary school,
b) 22 in the first grade class,
c) 25 in the second to fourth grade class,
d) 29 in the fifth to ninth grade class.
The number of pupils in a class may be increased by the number of pupils completing compulsory school attendance abroad. The class according to the nature of the educational programme can be divided into groups. For teaching the subject of Religion or Ethics the pupils of diﬀerent classes of the same year may be cubed and create groups with the highest number of pupils up to 20. If the number of pupils per group drops under 12 pupils, the groups may also involve the pupils of varied years. For classes of the subject of foreign language and Informatics and Computer Education a class may be divided into groups with the highest number of 17 pupils.
The number of groups and number of pupils per group are deﬁned according to spatial, personnel and ﬁnancial conditions of the school, according to the nature of pupils’ activity, according to demands of the subject with regard to health protection and labour safety requirements.
For teaching the subject of Religion or Ethics the pupils of diﬀerent classes of the same year may be cubed and create groups with the highest number of pupils up to 20. If the number of pupils per group drops under 12 pupils, the groups may also involve the pupils of varied years.
For classes of the subject of foreign language the pupils of various classes of the same year may be cubed to create groups with the highest number of pupils 17. For teaching the subjects of Informatics and Computer Education a class may be divided into groups with the highest number of 17 pupils.
Once a subject is chosen, the pupil attends it during the whole school year.
The number of groups and number of pupils per group are defined according to spatial, personnel and financial conditions of the school, according to nature of pupils‘ activity, according to demands of the subject with regard to health protection and labour safety requirements.
In primary school, with the consent of the founder, it is possible to establish a specialised class in which students who do not have the prerequisites to successfully master the content of the relevant grade are educated. The pupil is placed in a specialized class by the headmaster on the proposal of the class teacher after the opinion of the educational counsellor and with the informed consent of the pupil's guardian for the necessary time, for a maximum of one school year.
A specialised class can be set up for a minimum of four pupils and a maximum of eight pupils from one or more grades. If the number of pupils in a specialised class is less than four, the specialised class will be cancelled.
The first stage of primary school
The first stage of primary school (grades 1–4 ) is attended usually by pupils aged 6 - 9. One teacher is usually responsible for one class. If the school has created suitable personnel conditions, some subjects in the first stage of primary school classes may be instructed by several teachers who comply with the qualification requirements for teaching respective subjects.
At the first stage, one teacher may guide a class for four years or he/she specialises in teaching in one grade of the first stage of primary school (usually in grade 1).
The primary education is achieved by the pupil upon successful completion of the last year of the first stage of primary school or, in case of pupils with metal deficiency, by completing the last grade of special primary school; a document on the achieved level of education is the certificate with supplement.
The second stage of primary school
The second stage of primary school (grades 5 - 9 - corresponding to ISCED level 2 is attended usually by pupils aged 10 – 14). The instruction of subjects is conducted by teachers-specialist with the required qualification. The teachers have, as a rule, the certification to teach two subjects. The class-teacher, who is appointed by the headteacher, coordinates teaching in the classroom. The class-teacher along with other teachers monitors pupils’ achievements, helps him solve problems, keeps the class documentation. He uses the gathered information about the pupil for preparation of his records applied at transition to secondary school. The class-teacher controls hygienic conditions of instruction and work load of pupils, especially the volume of homework, and pays adequate attention to the impaired and those with chronic diseases. He closely co-operates with the pupils’ parents, the paediatrician and psychologist.
Organisation of the school year
The details about the organization of the school year are laid down in the Education Act. Exact dates are annually publicized in School-Year’s Guide for the respective school year and on the website of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic.
In the Slovak Republic the school year starts on 1 September and ends on 31 August of the next year. It is divided into the period of teaching and the period of holidays. The period of school instruction begins on 2 September and ends on 30 June of the following calendar year. It consists of the 1st term and the 2nd term. The ﬁrst term begins on 2 September and ends on 31 January of the following calendar year. The second term begins on 1 February and ends on 30 June of the current calendar year.
The period of school holidays is made up of autumn, Christmas, mid-year, spring, Easter and summer holidays. If during the teaching period some unpredicted event occurs, mainly a natural disaster, energetic crisis or some other serious events, the Minister of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak republic can exceptionally interrupt or change the periods of teaching in schools and school establishments for the time required.
Organisation of the school day and week
Organisation and provision of the educational process at school is regulated apart by other, by the Decree on primary schools. It deals with schools’ organisational structure, class teachers’ activities, methodological associations and subject commissions, dividing classes into groups, organisation of trips, excursions, snowboarding and swimming trainings and pedagogical documentation.
The headteacher establishes after the discussion with the pedagogical council, the timetable depending on the needs of the school with regards to the school educational programme. He takes into consideration the character of the daily and weekly physiological output of pupils as well as their demands on the psycho-hygiene.
The individual subjects are evenly divided in the timetable and instructed through lessons. The subjects where the content and organisation of teaching process requires it, may be instructed through blocs.
The subjects which require increased spiritual activity, are instructed before the main break. If allowed by the conditions, the subjects of Physical Education or Sports are not included as the first lesson, and after the subjects of Physical Education, Sports and Work Education do not feature such subjects as Slovak language, Writing or Visual Art. The timetable also includes a class lesson.
The school classes start as a general rule, at 8:00 a.m. Under local requirements i.e. the needs of the pupils and their legal representatives, the headteacher of the school may establish the start of the school to a time between 7:00 and 9:00 a.m.
In classes with extended teaching of physical education and sports the headteacher may set the start of lessons at 7:00 a.m., twice a week. In special cases after an informed consent by guardians of the pupils it is possible to include the subjects integrating pupils of various classes and grades of the second stage as a zero lesson with the start at 7:00 a.m.
In case that it is not possible due to lack of premises to provide classes for all pupils in the morning, there are, exceptionally, two shifts organised, except for classes in grade 1. The afternoon classes end at 5:00 p.m. at the latest.
The process of education and training at school takes place according to timetable. Timetable is publicised in each classroom of the respective grade and where the conditions allow it, at the school website too.
A class lasts 45 minutes; its prolongation or shortening without a substantial reason is not allowed.
The order and length of breaks is set by the headteacher upon having discussed it in pedagogical board or school board. Short breaks take ten minutes as a rule, the main break from 15 to 30 minutes, usually after the second lesson.
During the main break, if the conditions provide it, pupils stay out of the classroom in the premises of the school building designed for that purpose, or they may spend it outside in the yard, i.e. on the fresh air.
The noon break for pupils of the first grade and second grade starts no later than after the fifth lesson and for pupils of grades 3-9 no later than after the sixth lesson in the extent of at least 30 minutes.
At the shift classes each lesson taken in the afternoon may be shortened to 40 minutes, the last lessons taken in the morning may be shortened only in substantiated reasons according to local conditions.
In grade 1, there are five lessons given in a sequence thrice a week, in grade 2 five lessons, in grades 3 and 4 at most six lessons twice a week, in grades 5 – 9 at most six lessons in a sequence. Pupils of grade 5 and grade 6 may have at most seven lessons in one day per week, pupils of grades 7 to 9 may have at most eight lessons in one day per week.
In the classes of the 1st -4th grade the majority of school subjects is taught as a rule by the headteacher. By the Decree on primary schools also other pedagogical employees apart from the head teacher to engage in the teaching of different subjects.
According to the school conditions several educational workers may teach in a class of zero grade.
The timetable depends mainly on the teaching plan. Teaching plans are drafted for orientation, giving headteachers and teachers of primary schools, space for the internal and external differentiation of pupils. The structure and proportionality of teaching subjects in the teaching plan have to correspond with the function of the respective level and kind of school. For primary school exists several variants of teaching plans.
In order to raise the pupils’ interest in technical fields of study in secondary schools, the pedagogical-organizational directions for current year recommend to put greater emphasize on teaching mathematics and natural sciences by amendment of state education programmes for primary and lower secondary education. The schools and their founders are therefore advised to pay greater attention to material-technical and premise provision of technical classrooms for teaching biology, physics, chemistry and technology.
Sample timetable – the first level of the primary school
8:00 – 8:45
8:55 – 9:40
9:55 – 10:40
11:00 – 11:45
11:55 – 12:40
|Tuesday||English||Physical Education||Slovak+ Literature||Maths||Slovak+ Literature|
|Wednesday||Slovak +Literature||Maths||Slovak+ Literature||Art Education|
|Thursday||Slovak +Literature||Maths||English||Slovak+ Literature||Physical Education|
|Friday||Maths||Slovak+ Literature||English||Music Education|
Sample timetable – the second level of the primary school
8:00 – 8:45
8:55 – 9:40
9:55 – 10:40
11:00 – 11:45
11:55 – 12:40
12:50 - 13:35
|Monday||Civics||Biology||Biology||English||Slovak +Literature||Ethics/ Religion|
|Tuesday||German||Conversation/ English||Maths||Slovak +Literature||Physical Education|
|Wednesday||Slovak +Literature||Art Education||Maths||English||Physical Education||Computers|
|Thursday||Maths||Slovak +Literature||Biology||English/ Conversation||Geography|
|Friday||History||German||Slovak +Literature||English||Physical Education||Computers|
National Council of the Slovak Republic, 2008. Act No. 245/2008 on education and training (Education Act) and on the change and supplement to some acts as amended by subsequent provisions (Zákon č. 245/2008 Z.z. o výchove a vzdelávaní (školský zákon) a o zmene a doplnení niektorých zákonov v znení neskorších predpisov) (last accessed 20/12/2022).
National Council of the Slovak Republic, 2003. Act No. 596/2003 on state administration in education and school self-government and on change and supplements of some acts as amended by subsequent provisions (Zákon č. 596/2003 Z.z. o štátnej správe v školstve a školskej samospráve a o zmene a doplnení niektorých zákonov v znení neskorších predpisov) (last accessed 20/12/2022).
Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic, 2009. Decree No. 231/2009 on details and organisation of school year on primary schools, secondary schools, basic schools of arts, practical schools, vocational secondary schools and language schools as amended by subsequent provisions (Vyhláška č. 231/2009 Z.z. o podrobnostiach o organizácii školského roka na základných školách, na stredných školách, na základných umeleckých školách, na praktických školách, na odborných učilištiach a na jazykových školách v znení neskorších predpisov) (last accessed 20/12/2022).
Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic, 2022. Decree No. 223/2022 on primary school (Vyhláška č. 223/2022 o základnej škole) (last accessed 20/12/2022).