Björklund questions schools’ special status

Björklund questions schools' special status
The rules regarding the funding of Sweden’s three national boarding schools could be changed, after an application by a fourth school has brought the government's attention to their favoured status.

“I think the state should be competitively neutral between different types of schools and the same rules should apply to these schools as for others,” Björklund told Sveriges radio (SR).

It was the application of a fourth school to be given the status of a national boarding school that brought attention to the fact that different rules apply to these compared to regular independent schools, so called free schools.

There are currently three national boarding schools in Sweden; Lundsberg, Grennaskolan and Sigtuna Humanistiska läroverk. They receive their permit straight from the government.

Currently, these boarding schools receive almost twice the amount in state subsidies as others. In addition, the Lundsberg School charges up to a reported 100,000 kronor ($15,000) per semester, which Björklund is keen to change.

His plan is remove this extra funding and put the boarding schools in the same “free” bracket as any other school. There would, however, be funding available for accommodation of the children, just not the education itself, under Björklund’s proposals.

“It is really hard to justify why these schools should have different rules on this point,” said the minister.

The police recently launched an investigation into alleged assault, unlawful threats and coercing a minor at Lundsberg, in the wake of several claims of bullying made by former staff members.

Although the initial claims were only against Lundsberg, the other two – Grennaskolan and Sigtuna Humanistiska Läroverk, have also come under the microscope of the authorities, and the Minister for Education Jan Björklund, has now announced that he wants to change the regulatory framework for such schools.

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