Secondary schools

 “The upper secondary school prepares pupils for employment and further studies. “ From Article 2 of the Secondary Schools Act.

The third level of schooling

  • Secondary schools belong to the third level of schooling, where education is not compulsory. The schools are variously called junior colleges, secondary schools, technical schools, undergraduate colleges or vocational schools.
  • Everyone who has completed primary school, received an equivalent basic education or reached the age of 16 can begin his/her studies in a secondary school.
  • The organisation of classes and curriculum at the secondary-school level aims at meeting different needs by offering a variety of courses. It is of great importance that future secondary-school students and their guardians are well informed about the various courses offered by schools. Student counsellors and other staff at primary and secondary schools are also able to provide information.
  • Students who are completing the tenth year at primary school, along with their guardians, will receive a letter from the Ministry of Education in the spring containing information concerning registration in a secondary-school day-school programme.
  • Other applicants for an education in a secondary-school day-school programme can obtain all information concerning the studies and registration on the Menntagátt website.
  • The registration process can be followed on the the Menntagátt website. When a place at a school has been allocated, the applicant must confirm acceptance by paying a registration fee.
  • Those students who do not obtain adequate results in the final examinations in the tenth year have the option of getting an education in a secondary school's general study programme.
  • The school head teacher may grant entrance into individual educational programmes to a student who has reached the age of 18, even if the student does not meet the minimum requirements with respect to achievement when finishing primary school. The school principal is responsible for the admission of students into secondary schools.
  • The term of study for secondary school students varies, and it depends whether the individual in question is pursuing theoretical studies, an internship or a vocational education.
  • Many secondary schools offer courses in the night-school departments of adult education colleges, which are intended primarily for adult students. The schools advertise the application deadlines in the fall and at the beginning of the new year.
  • Many secondary schools also offer distance learning. Further information can be obtained from the websites of secondary schools that offer such studies.
  • Secondary school students in the rural areas who need to attend a school outside of their own local community will be offered either grants from the local community or what is called an equalisation grant.
  • Students at secondary-school level who pursue authorised vocational education or other approved work-related studies can apply for a student loan.
  • The families or the guardians of secondary students of small means can apply for a grant from the Icelandic Church Aid Fund for the Future (Framtíðarsjóður Hjálparstarfs Kirkjunnar) for expenses. Further information can be obtained from Icelandic Church Aid (Hjálparstarf Kirkjunnar).
  • Student counsellors, teachers and other secondary-school staff advise and guide students with respect to choosing programmes of education, work and personal affairs that are relevant to the school's studies and admission policy.

Rights of the disabled

  • Secondary schools belong to the third level of schooling, where education is not compulsory. Everyone who has completed primary school or received an equivalent basic education can begin his/her studies in a secondary school.
  • The organisation of classes and curriculum at the secondary-school level aims at meeting different needs by offering a variety of courses.
  • Many secondary schools have special school departments, vocational study programmes, and other courses specifically designed for disabled students.
  • Student counsellors, teachers and other secondary-school staff advise and guide students with respect to choosing programmes of education, work and personal affairs that are relevant to the school's studies and admission policy.

Links of interest 

Laws and regulations