The government wants to review the Swedish School Inspectorate's possibilities to stop the over-establishment of private schools in a municipality.

"It just needs to get a little more order", says Minister of Education Lotta Edholm (L)

Liberal Party Leader and Minister for Labor and Integration Johan Pehrson and Minister for Education Lotta Edholm (L)
Liberal Party Leader and Minister for Labor and Integration Johan Pehrson and Minister for Education Lotta Edholm (L)

The school inspectorate can today say no to allowing a free school to start if the establishment has a significant negative long-term impact on pupils in the municipality's other schools.

However, the Swedish National Audit Office sees a risk that this possibility is being applied far too narrowly because the rules are unclear.

The government agrees with that criticism.

"We will review this legislation so that it becomes clear and clear when the Swedish School Inspectorate can stop a free school establishment", says Edholm.

Multiple ambiguities

For example, it is about how the Swedish School Inspectorate will assess an application for a free school establishment, which can lead to another school being forced to close and pupils getting very far to the new school.

Another ambiguity in today's legislation is how to look at a free school establishment that makes the municipal school stand up with expensive rental contracts for large premises that are no longer needed.

Another ambiguity, as pointed out by the Swedish National Audit Office, is how the municipality's opinion to the Swedish School Inspectorate in a case of new establishment should be designed.

TT: How big is the problem of over-establishment?

"The problem is mainly when there are several free-school establishments at the same time in a municipality", says Edholm.

"If it is a free school that establishes itself and there is a great deal of openness about it so that the municipality can change, then the problem is not so big."

Order and Order.

It may become a problem for already established private schools, or problems with schools that want to establish themselves at the same time.

"It just needs to get a little bit more order and order", says the Minister of Education.

According to the report from the Swedish National Audit Office, in only five cases during 2017-2020 the Swedish School Inspectorate has said no to a new free school, where at least one of the reasons has been that there are negative consequences for other pupils in the municipality.

TT: Does the School Inspectorate say no rarely get?

"It's very difficult to say. It's not whether there's going to be fewer or more free-school establishments, it's about getting a system where students in existing schools don't suffer from further establishment", says Edholm.

"Largest rescheduling".

The review of the rules for the establishment of compulsory education is not yet decided, and is likely to be part of a new or current investigation into private schools.

Other rules concerning private schools will also be investigated, such as profit limitation and the design of school money.

"We are carrying out the largest rescheduling of free school policy in 30 years", says Liberals' party leader, Minister of Labor Johan Pehrson.

According to Pehrson, the "resale" is not about reducing freedom of choice, but about ensuring quality, efficiency and equivalence throughout the school system.

"There are no deductions, subsidies or support that can ever repair a lost schooling", he says.