Classes and Teams
The Folkeskole is an undivided (comprehensive) school, where the formation of classes takes its point of departure in the age of the student - and not in his or her subject-specific proficiency.
The students are divided into classes with an average of approximately 20 students per class. The number of students in a class must not exceed 28. Under certain seldom circumstances, a municipality can though give dispensation for a class to have up to 30 students. The majority of all classes in the country’s municipal primary and lower secondary schools have an average of 20 or fewer students.
The Danish Folkeskole is not an examination-oriented school. The main rule is therefore that a student attends a class with students of the same age. School failure is an almost non-existing phenomenon in the Danish Folkeskole. In section 12, the Folkeskole Act allows for the possibility – with the consent of the child’s parents – to repeat a school year, i.e. if the student has been away for a longer period of time or other reasons make this relevant.
In order to give all students in the Folkeskole the best possibilities for an all-round development and learning as much as possible, the Folkeskole builds on the principle of differentiated teaching. The teaching is organised in such a way that it both strengthens and develops the individual student's interests, qualifications and needs and so that it contains common experiences and situations providing them with experience which prepare them for cooperation in the performance of tasks.
The Folkeskole Act provides a further possibility to sustain the principle that all students should be given adequate challenges, as the teaching can take place in teams for part of the time in order to make it possible to take the point of departure in the individual student’s background and current level of development. A team can consist of students from a number of different classes within the same form level or from different form levels. When an ongoing evaluation of the students’ learning outcomes is a basis for team formation, the team teaching is to be characterised by shorter courses, for example courses designed for the training of specific skills or with the intention of providing special challenges to a group of students. It is, however, a requirement that the students be taught in their own class during the majority of the teaching period.
The Class Teacher
Every class has a class teacher. The class teacher concept has its roots far back in the Danish school tradition. The class teacher is the one teacher among the group of teachers involved with a class who has the main responsibility when it comes to monitoring and supporting the subject-specific and social development of the students. The class teacher is to ensure coherence and progression for the entire programme of teaching of the class. The class teacher has a central role when it comes to the students and the school-home cooperation. The tasks of the class teacher are mentioned in the Folkeskole Act. The class teacher has a coordinating role when it comes to organising the teaching, organising the interdisciplinary teaching and the compulsory topics. The class teacher plans and organises the teaching in cooperation with the other teachers of the class and is a key person in connection with the requirement about differentiated teaching and the evaluation of the students' learning outcomes from the teaching. Commonly, it is the Danish teacher who also assumes the role of class teacher for a class.