In April 2015, the Folketing (Danish Parliament) passed new legislation on municipal international basic schools. The law gives the municipalities the opportunity to set up international basic schools from the school year 2015/16. The intention of the legislation is to improve the municipalities’ opportunity to strengthen initiatives locally to recruit highly qualified foreign labour and to attract foreign companies.
Municipal international basic schools are to be established as freestanding schools outside the framework of the Danish Folkeskole (primary and lower secondary school).
Municipal international basic schools admit children subject to compulsory education whose parents are foreigners residing temporarily in Denmark due to their employment and whose parents wish to have their children enrolled at the school. If it is not possible to accommodate all wishes for admission to the school, enrolment will take place on the basis of objective criteria laid down by the local council. These criteria could be, for example, the distance between home and school and whether a child has brothers and sisters at the school.
If there are unfilled places at a municipal international basic school, it may also admit Danish children and other foreign children who live or reside in Denmark, and whose parents wish to have them enrolled at the school.
Education is compulsory
In Denmark, education is compulsory. All children who live or are to reside in Denmark for a minimum of six months are subject to compulsory education, irrespective of whether they are Danish nationals or not.
Compulsory education implies an obligation for children to participate in the education provided by the basic school of the Folkeskole or in education that is up to what is generally required in the Folkeskole.
Compulsory education commences on 1 August in the calendar year in which the child turns 6 and ceases on 31 July with the completion of education in the 9th form. However, compulsory education ceases at the latest on 31 July in the calendar year in which the child turns 17.
Education in municipal international basic schools
Education in municipal international basic schools covers the pre-school class and 1st-9th forms. The education must be up to what is generally required in the Folkeskole. Based on the local council’s decision, the language of instruction at a municipal international basic school is English, German or French. In the subject Danish, the language of instruction is Danish.
The local council may decide that the education provided at the municipal international basic school should be certified internationally. It is, however, at precondition that the education continues to be up to what is generally required in the Folkeskole.
School-based leisure-time facilities
The local council may decide to establish school-based leisure-time facilities at the municipal international basic school. This decision may be made in connection with the setup of the municipal international basic school or at a later point in time.
The local council must demand payment from the parents of children who participate in the school-based leisure-time facilities. It is voluntary for parents to enrol their children in the school-based leisure-time facilities.
Expenses relating to municipal international basic schools
The local council has to pay all expenses relating to municipal international basic schools. Consequently, the local council cannot require parents to pay school fees at a municipal international basic school. Payment must, however, be demanded from the parents of children who participate in the school-based leisure-time facilities of the school.
If a pupil at a municipal international basic school is resident in another municipality than the municipality of the school, the local council of the municipality of the school may demand payment from the municipality of residence for the expenses relating to the education of the pupil, etc.
Information about municipal international basic schools
Further information about municipal international basic schools is available from local school authorities in the municipality.