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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
National reforms in early childhood education and care


14.Ongoing reforms and policy developments

14.1National reforms in early childhood education and care

Last update: 27 March 2023


Extended state subsidy to reduce the size of the child groups in preschools

The Government changes the regulations for the state grant for quality-enhancing measures within the preschool. The grant to reduce the size of child groups can also be used to hire more staff or to develop skills for staff. The purpose is for the grant to be adapted to local needs. 

The Parliament has decided to add SEK 800 million to the state grant for quality-enhancing measures within preschool for 2023. The state grant totals approximately SEK 2.8 billion. The grant is divided into two grant frames, a portion of SEK 800 million is solely intended to reduce the size of the child groups. Remaining funds can be used to reduce the size of the child group, to retain or recruit staff and to develop skills for preschool teachers and other staff.

The new regulations mean that the entire grant can be used for all three parts and that it is the municipalities (or heads of the grant-aided independent schools) themselves who can decide how the grant can best be used to increase the quality of the preschool.

The Swedish National Agency for Education is tasked with following up and evaluating the use of the state grant.

For more information in Swedish

The government invests in continuing education to deal with the lack of teaching staff

The lack of preschool teachers and teachers in Swedish preschools and schools is a big problem, and continuing education is one of several important measures to deal with it. The government is now taking a holistic approach to continuing education for pre-school teachers and teachers and is introducing the new continuing education grant that will give more people the chance for broader and deeper teaching competence.

For year 2023, SEK 673 million has been set aside for the various continuing education initiatives. The government is particularly investing in more teachers training to become special education teachers and therefore allocated in the budget bill for 2023 an additional SEK 200 million annually up to and including 2025 for continuing education for special education teachers.

The new continuing education grant replaces the five different state grants that currently exist for continuing education. The continuing education grant has a higher grant level for most courses and means an opportunity for the municipality to, in consultation with the teacher or preschool teacher, choose which of two formats is best suited based on local needs.

  • A salary-based grant which assumes that the teacher or pre-school teacher is allowed to reduce working hours while they are studying.
  • A study-based grant based on the number of higher education credits the teacher or preschool teacher must study. For this grant, it is not mandatory that the teacher or preschool teacher has reduced working hours.

Another novelty is the possibility for municipalities to use a certain part of the study-based grant as a salary supplement, a so-called study grant, for those who attend continuing education. It is also regulated that teachers and pre-school teachers in schools with particularly difficult conditions must have priority for the new continuing education grant.

The new continuing education grant will be able to be applied for for the first time for studies that begin in the fall of 2023.

For more information in Swedish


Preschool for more children

In a government bill, the Swedish government submits proposals aimed at increasing participation in preschool, which has positive effects both for children's development and learning and for society.

It is proposed that each home municipality should be obliged to contact guardians of the children who do not have a place in the preschool through outreach activities and inform about the purpose of the preschool and the child's right to preschool. The first contact must be made before the autumn of the year the child turns three and, if the child does not start preschool, annually before each autumn and spring until the spring of the year the child turns six.

Furthermore, it is proposed that it will be mandatory for the home municipality to offer preschool to children who have lived in Sweden for a short time or who have guardians who have lived in Sweden for a short time. These children must be provided with a reserved preschool place even without the guardians having notified the request. Such an offer must be given from the autumn of the year the child turns three years old. Municipalities must also strive to provide such an offer of a preschool place to other children who need preschool for better language development in Swedish. The offer must be submitted to the child's guardian no later than three months before the date the child can be received. A new offer of a place must be submitted before each autumn the child does not have a place in preschool until the year when the child turns five.

The bill proposes the necessary amendments to the Education Act (2010: 800). The amendments to the law are proposed to enter into force on 1 July 2022 and are applied for the first time in the case of education that begins after 1 July 2023.

For more information (in Swedish)


National professional program shall give principals, teachers and preschool teachers better competence development throughout professional life

High knowledge results in school presuppose high quality in teaching and pedagogical leadership. Principals, teachers and preschool teachers therefore need to be given good conditions to develop in their profession. In a memorandum that the Ministry of Education is now sending out for consultation, a professional program consisting of a national structure for competence development and a national merit system is proposed.

Today, many preschool teachers, teachers, principals and their unions demand better and more relevant training and a cohesive system for skills development throughout their working lives. Then school development can be continuously promoted, the attractiveness of the professions strengthened and conditions created for higher knowledge results. The School Commission proposed that a national professional program be established, the proposal was then taken further by the Inquiry into a better school through more attractive school professions.

For more information (in Swedish)

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Enhanced quality and equivalent leisure centers and pedagogical care

In its report the Government inquiry on leisure centers and pedagogical care proposes the following in order to enhance the quality and equivalence within leisure centers and pedagogical care. 

The Swedish National Agency for Education is to be given a mandate to produce standards on group sizes within leisure centers. 

Clarifying requirements for appropriate premises are introduced. 

  • The National Agency for Education shall be commissioned to develop support material on systematic quality work in the leisure center.
  • An establishment stop for pedagogical care is introduced.
  • An operator in pedagogical care must ensure that the staff is given an opportunity for professional training and pedagogical tutoring.
  • Every operator in educational care must systematically and continuously plan, follow up, develop and evaluate the activities. The quality work must be documented. 

For more information in Swedish

A new continuing education initiative prepares for the introduction of a ten-year compulsory school 

The government has decided on a new state subsidy that will be used for further training of preschool teachers active in the preschool class. It is part of the work to prepare for the introduction of a ten-year compulsory school. The purpose is for preschool teachers to be authorized to teach in the first years of compulsory school. 

For more information in Swedish