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Upper secondary schools and sparsity: the case of Northern Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History.
2019 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, ISSN 0031-3831, E-ISSN 1470-1170, no 3, p. 333-346Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Governmental reforms since the early 1990s have acted as a push factor for starting new schools in Sweden and have created options for pupils to choose a school irrespective of municipal borders. This study highlights the upper secondary school system in small municipalities in northern Sweden since the late 1990s. The analysis shows that the reforms led to more schools, and thereby also to more competition in recruiting pupils both within and across municipal borders. When the cohorts started declining, the vulnerability of the school structure became obvious. The competition generated higher costs per capita and fewer available programs in small municipalities. Furthermore, it was noted that fewer pupils attending schools in small municipalities completed their education compared to those in larger municipalities

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. no 3, p. 333-346
Keywords [en]
Upper secondary schools, northern Sweden, small municipalities, school structure
National Category
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-143194DOI: 10.1080/00313831.2017.1375005ISI: 000460047500003Local ID: 881251OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-143194DiVA, id: diva2:1167546
Note

Originally included in thesis in manuscript form 

Available from: 2017-12-19 Created: 2017-12-19 Last updated: 2019-04-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Schools in sparse spatial structures
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Schools in sparse spatial structures
2017 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis describes and analyses how the school sector in sparsely populated municipalities in northern Sweden has developed with emphasis on spatial dimensions and in relation to demographic change and political reforms during the last 20 years.

In paper I primary schools were studied in a number of small municipalities in the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, and Finland. The aim of the study was to investigate how the spatial structure of schools has changed, what strategies the municipalities have developed to adapt their schools to changing conditions and what constraints there are to apply the strategies. To answer these questions, semi-structured interviews with municipal representatives were conducted.

In paper II, the upper secondary school system was studied. The aim of the paper was to analyse the combined consequences of the school reforms, demographic development and competition on the ability of small municipalities to provide upper secondary schools during the period 1997 to 2015 in the four northernmost counties of Sweden. The study was based on data from the database SIRIS at the Swedish National Agency for Education and has a descriptive approach.

The spatial structure of school organizations under study has undergone substantial changes during the recent decades, with closures and mergers among primary schools and an expansion of upper secondary schools. In recent years, the size of the young cohorts have decreased, which overall has led to increasing pressures to close primary schools and has created a detrimental competition between upper secondary schools. The large distances and the already small and declining number of pupils have had major effects on the ability to offer a good range and quality in the supply and availability of education. According to representatives from all the studied municipalities, the ambition is to prioritize the primary schools in the municipal centre and have as few small village schools as possible, taking into consideration quality of education, per capita costs, distances, and how scattered the pupils are within the municipalities. Independent schools and their increasingly larger role have attracted a great deal of attention in media, but this is a change that has mainly occurred in municipalities with large populations and their presence in the studied municipalities is very small both at the primary and upper secondary level.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Department of geography and economic history, Umeå university, 2017. p. 54
Series
GERUM, ISSN 1402-5205 ; 2017:2
National Category
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-143192 (URN)881251 (Local ID)9789176016428 (ISBN)881251 (Archive number)881251 (OAI)
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-12-19 Created: 2017-12-19 Last updated: 2019-02-15Bibliographically approved

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Lind, Tommy

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