• Sweden's news in English

Free school applications hit new highs

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 13 May 2011, 11:01

Published: 13 May 2011 11:01 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The increase follows a steep climb in 2010 and represents a 52 percent increase in applications to open independently-run "free schools" in comparison with the figures for 2009.

A total of 454 applications were submitted in the year up to the end of January 2001. Among the applications, 288 were for elementary or secondary schools and a further 25 were for special needs schools and high schools.

Stockholm heads the list of new applications, with 179 schools.

Around half of the total number concern schools in the big city areas of Stockholm, Västra Götaland (Gothenburg) and Skåne (Malmö) with 179, 106 and 105 applications respectively.

The agency will now send the applications to the relevant municipalities for consultation, with the applications considered in the light of the impact on municipality-run schools.

The Inspectorate will then decide on the applications in the autumn with most of the applicants in line to receive a decision by the end of the year.

The Schools Inspectorate took over the application process from the National Agency for Education (Skolverket) in 2009, so the figures are not directly comparable with previous years.

"But it remains clear that the number of applications has increased in recent years and in 2011 we received a record number of applications, 767," said Schools Inspectorate statistician Mattias Svantesson in a statement.

The expanding free school sector came into focus in February when Sweden's education minister Jan Björklund sharpened his tone against the privately-run, publicly-funded schools, conceding that there are several indications that profit takes precedence over quality.

Story continues below…

Björklund acknowledged a degree of naivety from the political centre-right in regards to their view of independent schools.

The minister has previously announced a parliamentary inquiry to look into how free schools which fail to meet accepted standards can be prevented from taking out profits, but has stopped short of echoing opposition criticism of private equity firm ownership.

The three largest free school enterprises - Academedia, John Bauer and Pysslingen - are all owned by private equity firms.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

12:12 May 13, 2011 by StockholmSam
What is the difference between a high school and a secondary school?
15:28 May 14, 2011 by Puffin
Yet despite all the dramatic figures only around 10% of Swedish children attend free schools

Although better than the UK hype - despite the flagship free school policy since theConDems came to power in 2010 - out of 380+ applications

280+ were rejected

40 must develop their bid

only 4 will open in 2011


High school and secondary school tend to be similar - but the ages can vary

- in the UK secondary school is from 11-18

- in Sweden there are 2 school types

~ Högstadiet - from 13-16

~ Gymnasiet - from 16-19
Today's headlines
Swedish researchers plan new trucks for women drivers
File photo of trucks in Sweden. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Could vehicles adapted for women attract more female truckers to the profession?

These stats show Swedish driving isn't so gender equal
File photo of a Swedish woman driving a car. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A new survey shows that few Swedish women get behind the wheel when driving with their male partner.

Revealed: Game of Thrones could be coming to Sweden
Game of Thrones cast members at the Emmy Awards in September. Photo: Jordan Strauss/AP

The producers of the hit show have asked for three rounds of location pictures of Swedish island Gotland.

Prime Minister to meet Swedish troops in Iraq
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his Kurdish counterpart Nechervan Barzani. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Löfven is set to meet Swedish troops in Iraq on Tuesday.

Swedish politicians wage war on winter time
Soon it will look like this on your way home from work in Sweden. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Should Sweden stick with summer time all year round?

'Don't turn the Pope into a global teddy bear'
Sweden's Queen Silvia and Princess Leonore visiting Pope Francis in the Vatican last year. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

It's time to hold the Pope to account and make sure he turns his words about reform into action, argues a minister of the Swedish Church ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Sweden.

Löfven: 'Sweden will double its number of troops in Iraq'
Stefan Löfven and Haider al-Abadi during the visit on Monday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised to double his country's number of troops in Iraq following a meeting with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi on Monday.

Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
Should Swedes think fairtrade with porn? Photo: Karin Malmhav/SvD/TT

A fairtrade attitude to pornography would be beneficial, Sweden's health minister told The Local.

Presented by Stockholm University
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

Nordic fashion took centre stage in the Swedish capital last week as Stockholm University hosted the “first-ever” academic conference looking at luxury and sustainability in the fashion industry.

Referee, coach and parents in Swedish youth football fight
File photo of a referee holding a red card not related to the story. Photo: Stefan Jerrevång/TT

A football dad broke his leg in the brawl in front of 11-year-old kids after a Hammarby youth football game.

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
jobs available