School social teams to reduce long-term absence from school
Pupils with a high absence from school may find it difficult to meet the goals in education and thus run a greater risk of ending up in exclusion. In order to improve safety and study tranquility at school and to increase students' attendance at school, the government invests in school social teams.
School social teams are a way for the school and social services to work together to strengthen the conditions for students to achieve the goals of education, create a calm and safe school environment and to increase student attendance at school. The government is introducing a new state grant to school principals for personnel costs in school social teams. The government also gives a joint task to the National Board of Education and the National Board of Health and Welfare to support school principals and social services when it comes to setting up and organizing their school social teams. The assignment also includes evaluating the effects of the investment.
The government appoints an investigation to stop grade inflation
Today, there are major problems with unequal grading in Swedish schools. The government is therefore setting up an investigation to look at how the grading system can be changed so that grading becomes more equal and legally secure.
The investigation must analyze and propose changes to the grading system and the merit evaluation system. The investigator will, among other things
• analyze the pros and cons of the system for grading and merit evaluation in the Swedish school system in relation to other countries' systems
• submit a main proposal, as well as an alternative proposal for a system change which means that results on national exams, degree exams, or the like, can be used to increase the equivalence of grades or merit values
• submit proposals on how grade inflation and lack of equivalence in grading can be countered even in subjects that do not have national exams.
The assignment must be reported no later than February 21, 2025.
Proposal to move from municipal to state ownership
On December 22, 2020, the government decided on a committee directive on the conditions for state leadership of the school (dir. 2020:140). According to the directives, a special investigator must produce a decision-making basis that can create the conditions for state leadership for all forms of schooling except preschool and municipal adult education (komvux).
The government later assessed that there might also be other alternatives than the state becoming the owner of the schools, which strengthen the state's responsibility for the school system. The investigator was therefore made free to also present other alternatives than a state ownership.
The investigator presentated the following two options in November 2022.
Option 1 – a complete nationalization with state ownership of the schools
In this first alternative, the state has both system responsibility and owner responsibility. System responsibility includes both public schools and komvux as well as independent schools. This means, among other things, that the state takes over the municipalities' responsibility for the distribution of financial resources to the school.
Option 2 – a system where the state strengthens its responsibility but without taking over the ownership of the schools
In this second alternative, the municipalities still have the owner responsibility for the municipal schools and komvux. Independent schools still have individual owners and there is no change compared to today in terms of management and operational responsibility as well as the employer's responsibility for these.
In the same way as in the alternative of a complete nationalization, the state has system responsibility both for municipal schools and komvux as well as for independent schools. On the other hand, the system responsibility may look a little different in comparison to the complete nationalization, because it needs to be adapted to the fact that there are more owners in this option. There will also be a difference in the responsibility for resource distribution where the municipalities retain a certain amount of responsibility to varying degrees, based on the variants outlined by the investigation.
Digitization and a new emphasis on physical textbooks
In December 2022, the Swedish National Agency for Education submitted its proposal for a national digitization strategy for the school system 2023–2027 to the Government Office. The proposal is now sent on a referral. This particularly applies to views related to how children's and students' cognitive development, health and well-being are affected by their use of digital learning resources in teaching.
It seems as digitization in preschools and schools has sometimes been rushed. This is shown not least by the fact that some municipalities have considered that textbooks, paper and pencils no longer are needed. All digitization must take place in a well-thought-out way and build on research and proven experience.
On 2 March 2023, the government decided on a regulation that makes it possible for municipalities to apply for state grants to buy learning materials for the pre-school class, the compulsory school, the special school and the Sami school. The government grant can be used for textbooks. It can be textbooks with or without digital components that are designed to be used in teaching.
The Government invests in emergency schools and increased access to special teachers
The Government has decided on a new state subsidy regulation. Grants according to the regulation must go to staff costs for emergency schools, special teachers and student health. The purpose is, among other things, to increase safety and study tranquility in schools and to strengthen the work with support and adaptations so that more students reach the educational goals. In total, the investments include SEK 535.5 million for 2023.
In order to deal with students who disrupt teaching or threaten other students and teachers, the government is now implementing an initiative to enable municipalities to set up emergency schools, where students can be placed temporarily according to the provisions of the Education Act. The emergency schools thus contribute to securing the continuity of education for all students.
In order to strengthen the schools' work with support and adaptations so that more students will have access to effective support efforts at the right time. Investments are also being made to increase access to special teachers in schools and strengthen the opportunity for municipalities to set up special teaching groups. In order to increase the number of special teachers in the school system, SEK 200 million has also been set aside so that more people can train as special teachers.
The regulation enters into force and will be applied on 12 April 2023.
Reforms of course syllabi and curricula
From the school year 2022/2023, new course syllabi apply for compulsory school and certain curricula for upper secondary school. In the new curricula now in force, factual knowledge is emphasized more, especially for younger students. The new grading criteria are now also easier to use for teachers than the old knowledge requirements because they are less detailed and comprehensive. In addition, the content differs more clearly between stages and between courses. Factual knowledge is emphasized more in the new course syllabi.
Also there is a government memorandum containing suggestions for better opportunities for students in primary school, special school, Sami school and upper secondary school to study at a higher level and progress at a faster pace of study. It is important that pupils who do not receive the challenge they need in teaching are given the opportunity to develop according to their own conditions in order to reach as far as possible in their knowledge development. It can lead to a better teaching situation and to better knowledge results for these students.
Changes are proposed in the curricula for the compulsory school, the special school, the Sami school and the upper secondary school to further emphasize the school's responsibility for especially gifted and high-achieving pupils. It must be clear in the curricula that special attention must be paid to both the pupils who have difficulties in reaching the goals of the education and the pupils who easily meet the grade criteria or the criteria for assessing knowledge. It should also be clear that the headmaster has a special responsibility to ensure that the pupils have the opportunity to study at a higher level.
National professional programme for principals, teachers and preschool teachers
The Legislative Council's referral contains proposals for changes to the Education Act (2010:800) which means that a national professional programme is introduced for principals, teachers and pre-school teachers within the school system. The aim is to develop the quality of teaching, strengthen the professions, increase the attractiveness of the professions and thereby increase the equivalence of the education for the students.
It is proposed that the national professional programme should consist partly of a national structure for competence development for principals, teachers and preschool teachers, and partly of a national qualification system for certified teachers and certified preschool teachers. The national qualification system must contain qualification levels. One of these levels must require a third-cycle qualification. The national structure for competence development must contain, on the one hand, competence development efforts that can be the basis for qualification levels, and on the other hand, other competence development efforts for teachers and preschool teachers, as well as competence development efforts for principals. The municipalities' existing obligation according to the Education Act to ensure that staff are given opportunities for skills development must be specified to some extent. After the application, the Swedish National Agency for Education must decide that a certified teacher or certified preschool teacher has achieved a certain qualification level if the teacher or preschool teacher meets the conditions for the level. A decision on merit level must be appealable to a general administrative court. If a teacher or preschool teacher has his or her license revoked, a decision that he or she has achieved a qualification level shall cease to apply when the decision to revoke the license has become final.
The changes to the law are proposed to enter into force on 1 July 2024.
More time for learning - extra study time and extended holiday school
In a government bill, the Swedish government makes proposals for more teaching time for students who need it. The proposals aim to strengthen the school's compensatory mission and get more students to become eligible for the upper secondary school.
The government proposes that pupils in compulsory school grades 4-9 should be offered extra study time. During this study time, students can get help with homework and other school work. The offer must include at least two hours per week and participation must be voluntary.
The government also proposes that holiday school be extended by 25 hours. The extended holiday school shall be offered to students in compulsory school year 9 who risk not meeting the criteria for being eligible for upper secondary school.
Stricter rules for denominational elements in the school
The Swedish government is proposing to the Council on Legislation clearer requirements and stricter rules for denominational preschools, schools and after-school centers.
The government is now moving forward to increase control over denominational elements in the school system. The changes are part of the government's ongoing work to stop rogue and inappropriate actors from starting activities with a denominational focus.
The amendments to the law are proposed to enter into force on 1 January 2023.
A ten-year compulsory school - The introduction of a new year 1 in compulsory school, compulsory special school, special school and Sami school
In a report, the Government Inquiry into a ten-year compulsory school proposes how a ten-year compulsory school can be introduced by converting the preschool class into year 1.
The inquiry proposes, among other things, that:
- The preschool class ceases to be a separate form of school and that compulsory school and corresponding school forms are extended by one year through a new first year. Thus, compulsory school will be ten years, compulsory special school ten years, special school eleven years and Sami school seven years.
- The guaranteed teaching time shall be increased by 534 hours in compulsory school and corresponding school forms, which corresponds to three hours of teaching per school day in new year 1.
National plan for security and studying in peace at school
Security and peace of mind in school are a prerequisite for the knowledge results to continue upwards. The Ministry of Education is now sending the national plan for security and studying in peace for consultation.
If more students are to learn more, a focus is required on knowledge and education in all schools and that all students can study in peace and can be safe in school. That is not always the case today. Too many students state shortcomings in both study peace and security, and school staff do not always feel that they have a sufficiently clear mandate to ensure order.
In February 2020, the Government Offices decided that an investigator would assist the Ministry of Education in preparing a proposal for a national plan for the school's work with security and peace of mind and submit proposals that ensure a functioning regulatory framework in the area.
The national plan contains proposals aimed at improving the work with security and studying in peace in the school through clearer management and increased systematics, a strengthening of the preventive work and an increased readiness to act in difficult situations.
Lower secondary schools to receive the opportunity for remote or distance education to avoid crowding and reduce the spread of the corona virus infection
The government has decided on an amendment to the ordinance that makes it possible for compulsory schools to use remote or distance education in their lower secondary schools to avoid crowding on school premises or in public transportation.
The teaching about sexuality, consent and relationships to be improved
In order to improve the quality and strengthen the equality in the teaching of sexuality, consent and relationships, the government has decided on curriculum changes in the area of knowledge that is today called Sex and cohabitation.
The changes also include new writings on honor-related violence and oppression. With these curriculum changes, and a new assignment to the National Agency for Education to strengthen the systematic work against honor-related violence and oppression, the government wants to strengthen the school's work to combat honor-related violence and oppression.
In addition, the changes contain writings that strengthen the gender equality mission for upper secondary school, upper secondary special school and adult education. School and adult education have an important task in helping to counteract restrictive gender patterns and actively promote gender equality.
The changes in the curricula will be applied from the autumn term 2022, when the revised curricula for compulsory school will also take effect.
Student health to become more accessible
Today, access to student health is too low in many schools. The OECD has repeatedly pointed out shortcomings in student health work at Swedish schools with low access to staff. It affects the students' well-being and learning. The Government has therefore decided that the Government inquiry into students' ability to reach the knowledge requirements shall analyze the provisions on access to student health and propose how it can be clarified what an acceptable minimum level is. The report has now been published and proposes among other things the following.
- Students who need it should receive better support in school.
- Student health should have more resources.
- Set clearer requirements for how schools should work with student health.
- Pupils in compulsory special school should receive better help to learn to read, write and count in elementary school.
- Increase the knowledge of everyone who works in the special primary school and secondary school.
- Pupils in compulsory special school will receive more instruction in English.
- Change the name of the special primary school. It should be called adapted primary school instead.
- Change the word developmental disorder to intellectual disability.
- It should be possible to appeal a decision that a student should repeat a school year.