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Sweden needs to 'get tougher' on free schools

Sweden needs to 'get tougher' on free schools

Published: 21 Nov 2012 10:24 GMT+01:00
Updated: 21 Nov 2012 10:24 GMT+01:00

Sweden is currently too hands-off when new privately-managed free schools want to start up with public funding, according to a new report.

The National Auditor (Riksrevisionen), which carried out the review, urges the School Inspectorate (Skolinspektionen) to take its role as “gatekeeper” more seriously.

“It would be utopia if all schools got off to a flying start without any problems,” Andreas Spång at the inspectorate told news agency TT in response to the criticism.

“But the auditor does have a point and we continuously revise what material we ask schools to submit when we consider their applications.”

Sweden had more than 700 privately-run, privately-managed compulsory schools and almost 500 high schools as of 2011.

Last year, 789 applications were sent to the inspectorate. About one-fourth of the applicants were successful, but among them only one in three went on to set up the proposed schools.

The auditor's report also noted that reports filed by the inspectorate after a first mandatory visit reveal many new schools face serious challenges.

The current free school application system is too vague in parts, according to the auditor, which added that the inspectorate must make sure there are enough teachers signed up to the proposed new venture.

But the inspectorate has attempted to shore up parts of the application process.

A few months ago, it became mandatory for applicants to name a legal representative who must prove that the proposed free school has all the resources needed to set up.

“Of about 119 schools that we deemed ready to start, only about 26 did, so it’s possible this new demand frightens them off,” Andreas Spång told TT.

TT/The Local/at

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Your comments about this article

13:56 November 21, 2012 by Morenikeji
I'm glad to see that some people are waking up to the racket called Free School in Sweden. There would be fewer of them if they are not being financed by the public. No parent would pay for the charade going on in most of the schools. But this also should be a wake-up call for the public school administrators, the truth is that the quality of Swedish schools, compared to many other economically advanced countries, is rather poor. The social democratic dogmas of equality has run its course. Teachers must be motivated and given more hand in managing their classes and pupils. At the same time as as they are tasked to perform better.
20:40 November 21, 2012 by jeff9556
Parents who care do the research, as did we. Problem was that the public school in our catchment is terrible, despite living in an affluent suburb, where you might think the school would be better, not so, the school has a terrible record in terms of year nine passes. However, just down the road are three friskola, we visited them all and they are great, I mean just so much better resourced and much better year nine pass rates (100%). I know there are issues with some friskola, but there are also many problems with public schools, so its a matter of doing your homework, and frankly its my experience that many who do end up choosing friskola where a quality one exists and they can get in. Quality public schools are nearly impossible to get into unless you move to the catchment, which is not always possible.
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