• Sweden's news in English

'Free' schools suffer as enrollments drop

The Local · 5 Sep 2012, 10:29

Published: 05 Sep 2012 10:29 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

“It is a shrinking market and it is key to try to keep as many students as possible. Some schools won’t survive,” said Anders Hultin, CEO of JB Education, Sweden’s next to largest free school concern, to Swedish business daily Dagens Industri (DI).

According to a report by the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket), the number of high school students has fallen by 30,000 in three years and another 60,000 are predicted to disappear within the next two academic years.

Sweden’s free schools make up a quarter of the market and if the number of students keep falling as expected, free schools will lose some 16,000 students, which correlates to an the annual loss of around 1.6 billion kronor ($238 million).

And experts are saying that there is a clear trend showing that fewer students apply to the formerly very popular free schools today than in past years.

Signs of the changing fortunes for Sweden's free schools began to emerge last spring, when fewer than half of Stockholm's 120 free high schools had managed to fill half of the spots available, according to a May report by Sveriges Radio (SR).

Three of the Stockholm schools didn't even have one student set to enroll for the autumn term.

In addition, no new free schools have started up in the last year and three existing schools were forced to close down, according to DI.

Despite schools have been aware of the decrease in students for some time, they are still struggling to adapt financially, due to long lease periods among other things.

Marcus Strömberg, the CEO of free school Academedia, believes that Sweden will see more schools go out of business over the next few years as the margins for free schools continue to shrink.

Story continues below…

“Profit margins for free schools are at 6-8 percent. The margins have fallen by a few percent compared to two or three years ago,” Strömberg told DI.

TT/Rebecca Martin


The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

10:51 September 5, 2012 by Heebz
1.6 billion kronor is not equivalent to $238,000!
11:06 September 5, 2012 by The Local
@Heebz thanks for checking our maths. We've since corrected the figure.
12:20 September 5, 2012 by StockholmSam
This topic could get very interesting.

I have worked at two different free schools. One was absolutely fantastic. The other was a dreadful experience for both students and teachers. The really funny thing is that the fantastic school never once stated in staff meetings that being the best was a goal; all they wanted was to improve what they were already doing well, which was teaching. And they treated their teachers with endless respect. It was a joy to work there. The worthless school invested massive amounts of money marketing itself as a premiere school and a feeder for top universities. They continue to market themselves as "the best" and every time I see this arrogant, overly competitive attitude come out in their advertising, I just shake my head and think of those poor kids and poor teachers. The teachers were overworked, underpaid and abused by management.
12:27 September 5, 2012 by engagebrain
Stoeckholm Sam

as a parent is difficult to assess schools - which school was good and which bad ?
14:09 September 5, 2012 by Programmeny
I don't understand this article. It says free school students number are dropping. Okay, but why? And why is it of any importance if those students study in private school? I don't see what's wrong with that.
21:22 September 5, 2012 by aussie_expat212
I find this article rather misleading. I also work for a free school and our school is over-subscribed every year. We have around 160 places in each year group and we have 800 children in line...and that is for enrollments in 2018! Our company doubles in size every 3 years and is growing at an exponential rate...so yes, some free schools may be failing to gain numbers etc, but others are performing in leaps and bounds beyond all other schools, and not just 'free' schools.
Today's headlines
Sweden: Russian warships in the Baltic 'worrying'
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Two Russian warships equipped with long-range missiles have entered the Baltic Sea after passing Denmark.

Why businesses are worried about Sweden's drone ban
A drone filming in Stockholm. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

The Local investigates what Sweden's new drone ban could mean for businesses in the country.

This is the new top boss of Swedish Ericsson
Börje Ekholm. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT

Telecoms giant Ericsson has appointed a new CEO after a turbulent year for the company.

These are Sweden's best universities: ranking
A new university ranking has been released. Photo: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/Imagebank.sweden.se

At least according to this global ranking, which picks 12 Swedish universities among the top-1000.

Swedish pharmacies restrict paracetamol sales for teens
The move is intended to cut paracetamol overdoses. Photo: Nora Lorek/TT

Sweden's pharmacies are banning teens under 18 from buying more than one pack of pills at a time.

The Local List
12 Swedish words with just awesome literal translations
A filthy-minded lobster, i.e. a snuskhummer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

One of our favourite things about the Swedish language is its wonderful compound words, which range from being utterly bizarre to making perfect sense.

Rwandan genocide suspect held in Sweden
A memorial centre in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP

A man has been arrested in Sweden suspected of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide which claimed 800,000 lives.

Sweden can extend border controls, EU says
A police officer carrying out a check at Sweden's border with Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

EU countries including Sweden should be granted permission to extend temporary border controls by a period of a further three months, the European Commission has decided.

Nobel Prizes
'I'd say he's arrogant but I'd be lying': Swedes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing in France. Photo: David Vincent/AP

Almost two weeks have passed since Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and he has yet to acknowledge the win. The Local asked Swedes what they think of the singer's silence.

Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
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
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
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
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
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
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
jobs available