Preschools and Schools

GROWING UP: The Norwegian public school system is inclusive and free of charge
GROWING UP: The Norwegian public school system is inclusive and free of charge

The Norwegian school system is highly regarded as one of Europe's – if not the world's – best. This is how it works, and what you need to know.

One of the most sturdy pillars of the Norwegian school system is that it is both free and public. Schools are funded by the municipalities and county municipalities – not donations or tuition fees.

This results in a system where every child is enrolled in the school closest in proximity to its home. Standardized curriculums ensures that all pupils learn the same – no matter where in the country they attend school.

Children attend 10 years of obligatory school in Norway, and normally start the year they turn 6.

Years 1 through 7 are spent in elementary school, and the years 8 through 10 are spent in middle school.

After finishing middle school, further education is not obligatory. The vast majority enrolls in more specialized studies at high school, as the high school diploma is needed for higher education.


Every child in Norway has the right, but not the obligation, to attend kindergarten or preschool. It does, however, require application. Kindergartens in Norway are available for children of at least 1 years of age, and the offer is on the table until the child reaches school age.

Private kindergartens exist side by side with their public counterparts, but in either case, the municipalities organize the application process.

Here you can find more information about kindergartens in the different municipalities. Unfortunately some of the web pages are only in Norwegian, so you might want to ally yourself with Google Translate.

International schools

In addition to the regular schools, Trondheim also has a few international schools, where the education is in English.

Birralee International School enrolls children from 3 to 16 years of age, and is a Cambridge International School – meaning it follows an English curriculum. Birralee currently has 290 students with over 50 different nationalities.

Alternatively, you have Trondheim International School, which enrolls children from 6 to 16 years of age. Trondheim International School is an International Baccalaureate (IB) authorized school, and has 200 students from different countries and cultures.

In Stjørdal, a neighbouring municipality only 30 minutes from Trondheim, Fagerhaug International School enrolls children from 6-16 years of age and is also an International Baccalaureate (IB) authorized school. Fagerhaug International school has 150 students from different countries and cultures.

Trondheim Katedralskole is also worthy of a mention on this list. Even though the school is not entirely international, it does offer an IB Diploma Programme, which is an alternative to the first two years of High School.