What can Gove learn from Swedish free schools?

Education Investor, June 2014 //

In November a long-running study revealed that performance in Sweden’s schools had fallen yet further below the global average, compounding decades of decline in the country’s school system.

It was sobering news not just for Swedes, but also for those in the English state education sector. Here the government’s latest programme of school reform is based almost entirely on the supposed success of the Swedish model. 

While the roll-out of free schools in England remains in its infancy, around one in 10 Swedish children now go to a free school. There, 70% of free schools are run for profit, and one in five are owned by private equity. Critics have been quick to blame free schools, and in particular their private owners, for the apparent dysfunction in Swedish education.

Yet the picture is complex: standards were falling in Sweden before the first free schools opened in 1992. Odd Eiken, secretary of state for education in Sweden when free schools were introduced, says the fall in standards can be traced as far as the 1950s. “The key factor has been…Full article (£) 

EI June 2014

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