What is so special about Free Schools?

Free Schools are what they say they are – free in the sense of being independent. At the same time they are free in that they foster a freedom of spirit that is often lacking in the state system. In law Free Schools are private, self-owning schools that work according to an explicit set of values that they have themselves chosen.

Free Schools in Denmark provide the primary alternative to the educational provision offered by state schools. Most though not all Friskoler take their students through to state examinations, but how they do so is up to them. While independent schooling may take on a variety of forms – Steiner schools or Church schools, for example – the Free School idea is built on certain fundamental principles. These include the freedom:

To appoint staff

To admit or exclude pupils as they see fit

To deploy their financial resources as they see fit

To arrange their own curricula, placing emphasis on subject disciplines as they choose

To adopt their own teaching methods

To carry out assessments without using tests and examinations


For those Free Schools that are based on the teachings of Grundtvig and Kold – and they form the great majority – the following statements reflect essential aspects of educational practice: 

While every individual is unique and all learning individual, we only discover our unique qualities in the community of others and through the world around us

Teaching at school is teaching about life and focuses on the present not on future employment

Teaching at school embraces the whole individual

Teaching gives emphasis to the living word

Through teaching we become familiar with the history that we share with others and are animated to discover the dreams and hopes we harbour for our lives

School is a living interchange between equals

School is both enlightening and enlivening; learning is also learning to live and to love

Learning is life-long

All children deserve equal respect