All children residing in the Republic of Slovenia have the right to basic education under the same conditions. This is specified by the Basic school Act (sl) and the Organization and financing of education Act (en).
Public schools form a public basic school network specified by the relevant decree on criteria to set up public network of basic schools and music schools (sl), so all children can enrol in the relevant school catchment area. The criteria for setting up a public network is centrally specified. The application SOKOL (sl) provides demographic information by school catchment areas. Local communities set the boundaries of the school catchment area.
Parents enrol their child in the basic school in the school catchment area where the child resides. However, they may decide to enrol the child in another school instead. Basic schools have to provide enough places for all children residing in the catchment area but are not obliged to enrol children residing outside the catchment area.
Basic schools are single institutions with legal personality, alternatively, a basic school may operate as an organisational unit of another education institution. A basic school may include organisational units, such as kindergarten units or groups and/or classes with adapted programme. In order to guarantee geographical acessability some schools have dislocated units, costumarily called school branches.
There were 456 basic schools in the school year 2020/21.
Number of basic schools: 456 • 450 public schools (legal entities) 311 public school branches • 6 private schools (legal entities) 4 private school branches
Private basic schools include the Waldorf basic schools, the Catholic basic school (since 2008) and, since 2010 the Montessori basic school and since 2015 also Lila Basic school.
Table: Size of schools and school branches
|Largest school||1,075 pupils|
|Largest school branch||529 pupils|
|Smallest school branch||3 pupils|
|Average number of pupils - central schools||388 pupils (2023)|
|Average number of pupils – branch schools||56 pupils (2023)|
* Data from: The Educational System in the Republic of Slovenia and SORS
Schools, together with respective municipalities, organize free transportation for pupils who live more than 4 km away from the school. Schools also organize before and after class care for pupils who are waiting for the beginning of lessons or a ride home.
Admission requirements and choice of school
Children enrol in grade one of the basic education in the calendar year of their sixth birthday. There are no special criteria for admission to public basic school as the constitution postulates the right to education as a basic right.
School entry may be postponed by a maximum of one year upon parents' or a doctor's recommendations. The final decision is taken by the head teacher on the basis of the recommendation by the relevant committee responsible for assessing children's readiness for school. This committee includes a counsellor, school physician, and a teacher.
A special education needs child may start school a year later upon recommendation of the Committee for the placement of children with special needs.
Parents may choose whether their child will attend a public or a private school. Parents may also opt for home schooling. Less than one percent of children attend a private school.
Transfer to another school
The school may not expel a pupil. For learning or behavioural reasons, however, the school may seek parents’ approval of a a transfer to another school. For behavioural reasons only, a child may be transferred without parental consent. The decision is taken by the head teacher on the basis of a recommendation by the centre for social work. Parents have the right to appeal the decision.
Age levels and groups of pupils
The basic school comprises three educational cycles, each three years long.
Children of the same age are grouped in grades. Pupils of the same grade are grouped in classes; in smaller schools there are multi-grade classes that combine pupils of two or three grades as specified by the relevant rules on norms for implementing the basic school program (sl).
There may be no more than 28 pupils in one classroom.
Lower standards apply: • for classes in bilingual schools (Slovenian/Hungarian), • in schools where Italian is the language of instruction, • in classes including pupils with special needs, • for Roma pupils, • in multi-year mixed classes.
The standards are determined by the Minister of education and specified by relevant regulations (sl).
Groupings for Slovenian language, mathematics and foreign language:
- grades 4 to 7: schools may deliver 25% of lessons in smaller groups, and
- grades 8 to 9: schools may split pupils into smaller groups throughout the school year..
In subject such as home economics, sports, technology, arts, and some optional subjects, pupils of grade 6 and higher are organised in smaller groups for safety reasons.
In the first three-year educational cycle, children are taught by generalist teachers. It is recommended that the same teacher teaches the class for all three years. In addition, there is a pre-school teacher present in one-half of all lessons in grade 1. In the second educational cycle, the generalist teacher delivers most lessons, but individual subjects are gradually taken over by specialist teachers. In the third educational period, lessons are delivered by specialist subject teachers.
Organisation of the school year
School year begins on 1 September and ends on 31 August of the following calendar year.
Lessons take place for the total of 38 weeks, until 24 June; for pupils in grade 9, lessons end on 15 June.
The Rules on the school calendar (sl) specify the distribution of lessons and holidays and examination dates.
Every year the Minister of education issues detailed instructions in the school calendar (sl).
The school year is divided into two assessment periods: the first period ends on 31 January and the second coincides with the end of the teaching period in June. Holidays take place in summer, but there are also autumn, New Year, winter and First-of-May holidays which all take one week. There are no classes on public holidays. Pupils may choose to take additional five days off school holydays at their convenience.
Main holidays take place over the summer. There are also autumn, New Year, winter and First-of-May holidays which take one week each. There are no classes on public holidays. Upon parents' request, pupils may take additional five days off school at their convenience.
The school year is divided into two assessment periods: the first period ends on 31 January and the second coincides with the end of the teaching period in June. At the beginning and the end of summer holidays pupils take repeat examinations and subject examinations. The assessment of home-educated pupils also takes place. In addition, this is the time when pedagogical staff analyse their work in the last school year and prepare for the next. During summer holidays, only technical and administrative staff is available in schools.
Organisation of the school day and week
Classes are held five days a week, from Monday to Friday. They only take place on Saturdays as an exception.
At all schools, classes are held in the morning. As a rule, they do not start before 7.30 a.m.
The timetable (sl) determines the number of lessons per week for each grade. In grade 1, pupils have 20 lessons per week, whereas in grade 9, they have 30 lessons of 45 minutes per week. The school timetable schedules lessons for each day in the week.
The Basic School act stipulates the maximum number of lessons allowed per week: • grades 1 to 3: 24 lessons • grades 4 to 6: 26 lessons, and • grades 7 to 9: 30 lessons.
Children with special educational needs who attend adapted programmes and pupils in ethnically-mixed areas may have up to two additional lessons per week.
All days in the week
Activities before classes
End of classes
9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
until 5 p.m.
9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
1:00 to 2:30 p.m.
until 3 p.m.
Out of school classes
The school may deliver some classes out of school. Pupils spend several days studing in the natural environment. Schools organize out-of-school weeks in the residential halls of the Centre for Curricular and Extracurricular Activities or other alpine, vacation and similar accommodation facilities.
Extended school stay
Grade 1 pupils may attend morning care. Pupils of grades 1 to 5 may attend after-school classes. They use them to study, do their homework, play, as well as pursue extra-curricular activities. Pupils in higher grades spend one hour per week in a form class before or after regular hours. All schools organise non-compulsory remedial and supplementary lessons as well as special interest activities as a part of the extended basic school programme. All after school classes are provided by qualified teachers and are guided by the educational concept for after school classes (sl).