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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Management staff for early childhood and school education


10.Management and other education staff

10.1Management staff for early childhood and school education

Last update: 14 February 2024

Management staff for early childhood and school education


In preschool, day-to-day administration is carried out by a team consisting of preschool teachers who supervise the work of the other preschool staff. In some cases preschools have a preschool head (förskolechef) similar to a headteacher at school level (see below). Preschool teachers have the pedagogical responsibility for ensuring that work is carried out in accordance with the goals of the curriculum.

School level

At school level the role of the school head (rektor) is to actively guide and coordinate the educational activity of their institution and manage its staff. The post requires pedagogical insight, acquired through training and experience, but the head normally has no teaching duties. Following their appointment, school heads complete a national initial school management training programme organised by higher education institutions with the support of state funds allocated by the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket). The municipality that appoints and employs specifies the local requirements regarding professional experience and is fully responsible for the open recruitment procedure.

The curriculum contains a number of tasks for which the school head has a special responsibility. The curriculum states that the school head has overall responsibility for making sure that the activity of the school as a whole focuses on attaining the national goals. The school head is responsible for following up the results of the school and evaluating these in relation to national and local goals. Finally, the school head is responsible for ensuring that the rights of pupils and parents are taken into account and that support is provided to pupils in accordance with their needs. The municipalities are responsible for arranging competence development for school heads.

Some schools have a deputy to the headteacher. This employee, who normally has no teaching duties, carries out administrative, staff or finance tasks, depending on the internal division of responsibilities in the school concerned. The appointing municipality specifies the local requirements which normally include a degree in teaching combined with management skills.

The Ministry of Education and Research (Utbildningsdepartementet)

The Higher Education Ordinance (Högskoleförordningen)

The Higher Education Act (Högskolelagen)

Requirements for appointments

The municipalities are responsible for recruiting and appointing school heads. A precondition to be appointed a position as school head is good pedagogical insight through training and experience. Appointed school heads at compulsory and upper secondary school levels are obliged to take part in the national school head training programme. The organisers of the progamme receive state funds allocated by the Swedish National Agency for Education. The national school head training programme is open to persons who, in accordance with the Education Act, serve as school heads either in the public school system or in recognised grant-aided independent schools and who have not attended such a programme earlier. Admission to the programme is made in consultation with the municipality concerned. The purpose of this programme is to enable school heads to develop and apply democratic learning and communicative leadership as laid down in the curricula. The programme aims at better equipping school heads to exercise their responsibilities as laid down in curricula and other legal instruments. The training is carried out during working hours and includes seminars, residential courses and supervised practice, and must be completed within four years from the day the school head was appointed.

The Higher Education Ordinance (Högskoleförordningen)

The Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket)

Conditions of service

School heads

School heads are employed on a permanent contract by the institution, i.e. by a municipality or a grant-aided independent school. Although they are not subject to individual evaluation, their general performance may be assessed as part of the overall responsibility of the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) to follow-up and evaluate early childhood education/care and school, and in the responsibility of the Swedish Schools Inspectorate (Skolinspektionen) to perform quality controls in schools.

School head's salaries are individual and differentiated and are determined locally. For school heads employed by municipalities, the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (Sveriges kommuner och regioner), negotiates with the school head trade unions over salaries and general working conditions. School heads employed by grant-aided independent schools get their salaries and working conditions set through negotiation by the principal organiser and the trade union. For some school heads in independent schools, the negotiations may take place with the assistance of an employer organisation and the school head trade union.

The average monthly salary for school heads in 2023 was SEK 55 300 (around 5 500 EUR) according to Statistics Sweden.

For more information on conditions of service for school heads see 9.2 Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education and 9.3 Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

For further information regarding the organisation at local level see 2.7 Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Preschool heads

Preschool heads are employed in the same way as school heads under the same rules. 

The average monthly salary for preschool heads in 2023 was SEK 46 800 (around 4 600 EUR) according to Statistics Sweden.