Primary schools

Children start primary school in the year they turn 6 years old. Primary school is compulsory for 10 years.


Children can receive various types of support in primary school. Further information on the services can be found at each primary school.

Special needs teaching

Children with special needs in primary schools are provided with special services in support of their education, either temporary or during all their schooling. All children have right to support, a medical diagnosis is not required.

This support can be provided in class parallel to general teaching, in special classrooms with other special needs students, in special departments within primary schools in Hafnarfjörður or in special needs schools out of town.

Teaching bilingual students – interpreter service

Students with a different native language than Icelandic or who have lived abroad for an extended period are entitled to special Icelandic classes. The teaching takes place at all primary schools. It is the responsibility of each primary school to accommodate children that need this assistance and mediate the provision of the services.

Parents who do not understand Icelandic are entitled to free interpreter service at parent-teacher conferences and other events at the schools.

Speech pathology services

Children dealing with language or speech deviations have the right to diagnoses of a speech pathologist, along with special needs education and supportive education in primary school. A speech pathologist also provides consultation for primary schools’ staff. Parents can also request diagnosis and consultancy of a speech pathologist, a written approval from parents is needed before.

Education and career counselling

In each school there is a school counsellor that takes care of the education and career advice for students. Among the things that school counsellors do is to provide support for individual students, work on preventive measures in co-operation with prevention counsellors, along with education and career advice within schools.

Psychological services

A school psychologist is available in all primary schools. The psychologist handles diagnoses, education, and consultancy, but does not perform therapy. References to a psychologist must be channelled through student protection committees or solution teams of primary schools. Parents’ approval is always needed. There can be various reasons for requests, but focus is put on early evaluation and diagnoses of the student’s status due to educational, behavioural and psychological difficulties.

Through the schools’ student protection committees you can attend various courses that support students and parents/guardians.

Examples of courses on offer:

  • Parents who lead, course for parents of children with anxiety disorders.
  • PEERS courses in social skills for children and teenagers with social difficulties, autism, ADHD, anxiety, and depression.
  • PMTO (Parent Management Training–Oregon method) treatment method for children with behavioural problems. Single patient treatment, group treatment and parent courses, are available.

Student protection committee

If a student does not receive satisfactory support because of a disability, disease, social or emotional difficulties the parent or guardian can contact the supervising teacher, who will refer the issues to the student protection committee.

Members of the student protection committee are:
• Headmaster, or a representative appointed by headmaster.
• Supervising teacher of the special needs student.
• Representative of school health care.
• Representative of the municipality’s specialty services.
• Education and employment consultant.

Solutions to the difficulties and circumstances of the child are sought, for example with the help of a Bridge team. The role of the support teams is to map out a child’s status and seek cooperative solutions, in support of the child and its family.