Compulsory education, not compulsory schooling
The Danish educational system is built on compulsory education - not compulsory schooling. This means, that parents are responsible for their children's education, and therefore free to choose homeschooling, a municipal school or a free school.
Danish parents have the right to establish a free school based on the principles they find right. Though, in order to receive subsidies from the state, the free schools have to ensure that the education is at least as good as the one in the public schools, proven by supervision and evaluation.
Free choice of curriculum
Free schools do not have to copy the education in the public school; they can make their own decisions about milestones and endpoints for every subject, for instance it is possible for free schools not to attend the formal examination. The schools are committed to publish whether or not they follow the curriculum of the state schools.
About 30 free schools in Denmark are "exam- and test free schools" from a total of 540 free schools.
Personal development in the schools
According to Danish law, education must ensure students personal development. It is furthermore stated in the law that free schools should prepare the pupils to live in a society as the Danish society with fundamental rights of freedom, democracy and equality. The overall requirement to the free schools is that the level can be compared with the level in the municipal schools.
Supervision and evaluation
There are tree levels of supervision/evaluation in the free schools in Denmark:
- The primary supervision lies with the parents. They have to oversee the praxis of the school, and it is the parents' responsibility to find a way to assure the supervision at each school.
- The board must - in cooperation with the parents - elect one or several supervisors who are approved by the state. The supervisors have the responsibility to supervise the pupils standards in:
- Danish, Mathematics, English. Furthermore the supervisors should make sure that the quality of the
education is - at least - as good as in the municipal school on the basis of a review of the school as a
- The board and the parents can also decide to evaluate the school themselves instead of electing
supervisors. In that case, the Ministry of education has to approve the specific self-evaluation
- The Ministry of Education also carries out supervision: Risk based supervision, thematic supervision, and individual supervision. If the conditions do not meet the stipulations of the law, the state can take away a school's authorization and thereby the right to subsidies.