Violence and lack of funds plague school principals

Every fifth school principal in Sweden has been subjected to threats or violence, and many feel that they can’t do their jobs well due to insufficient resources.

One in ten principals also reports not feeling safe in his or her job, reports the Swedish Association of School Principals and Directors of Education.

More than half of the respondents to the survey reported needing to regularly work overtime in order to keep up, and several said they lacked the resources required to do a good job.

“Principals are responsible for ensuring that all students learn to read, write, and perform maths, but there aren’t always enough resources at schools to do that. For example, it’s not possible to hire as many teachers as needed so that students who need special help can receive it,” said Lars Flodin, head of the labour association.

The leadership which is often seen as so important in private companies isn’t prioritized by municipalities and the governing boards of independent schools, which are ultimately responsible for the schools, according to the association.

“It’s regrettable that the work environment is as bad as it is; if you want to make an effort to help Swedish schools, then you’ve absolutely got to improve the employment situation for principals,” said Flodin.

Flodin said heads of schools have all the responsibility but that the study shows they often don’t have enough resources to do their jobs.

“For principals it means that they can’t fulfill their curriculum, the school law, and the existing demands and at the end of the day to affects individual students,” he said.