School and Leisure

Norwegian children start primary school at the age of six. Their school day lasts for around four hours and later increases to six or seven hours. Unlike in the UK, children in Norway don’t have to wear school uniform. They move to lower secondary school at the age of 13.

The school year starts in mid-August and finishes for Midsummer, in the third week of June. There are two terms called semesters. The school holidays include a week in the autumn, a fortnight at Christmas, a week’s winter holiday in February, and about a fortnight at Easter. Schools in Norway have a compulsory Ski Day, when everybody takes to the hills and forests on their cross-country skis. There is also an option to choose downhill skiing for those who prefer that.  

The school leaving age in Norway is 16, but most students stay on in the upper secondary school until they are 18 or 19. Here they can choose between continuing with their academic studies or learning a craft or trade. There are many options to explore, including:

·         Health & Social Studies

·         Fashion & Textiles

·         Building & Construction

·         Restaurant & Food Processing

·         Service & Transport

·         Agriculture, Fishing & Forestry

·         Electricity & Electronics

·         Technical & Industrial Production

·         Media & Communication

Children in Norway speak Norwegian. They start to learn English at the age of seven. At the age of either 10 or 13, they can choose a second foreign language to study. The most popular choices after English are Spanish and German, followed by French and Russian.

The school day is usually shorter than in the UK, with most schools finished by about 2pm. This leaves the children more time to play with their friends and to spend time with their families.

Norwegian children and their families take part in sports and outdoor activities all year round. They range from walking, cycling, handball and swimming to skiing, ice-skating and tobogganing. Three out of four Norwegian children regularly take part in sporting activities or belong to some kind of sports club. Football and athletics are the most popular sports. Children can also join folk dance groups or martial arts classes, become members of the Scouts or Guides, or join their school band or choir.

Children in Norway also relax by spending time with their friends, chatting online or playing computer games: just like children in the UK!



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Did You Know?

The ‘Eco-Agents' is a nationwide club for children interested in the environment. It was started in 1989 and now has more than 25 000 members, aged from four to 14 years old. It runs an online network with ideas and opportunities on how to be more aware of the environment. One of their recent initiatives was the “Walk to School” campaign. You can contact them at