Has inspections of schools anything to do with trust?
2014 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
During the 1990s, the Swedish school system underwent went through pervasive change, with the goal to create the best school system in the world. In addition to new curricula, municipalisation and the establishment of independent schools, a further key element in the changes was the introduction of a system for goal and result steering based on New Public Management (NPM). Ever since the first PISA results were published in 2000, the academic performance of Swedish pupils in each new test has declined. This has resulted in a range of further reforms to the school education system in the 2000s, not least the implementation of an extended control system. The Schools Inspectorate, which was reconstituted in 2008, plays a central role in this. As inspections refer only deviations from what is set forth in the governing documents it creates usually a negative picture, also exposed in media, of how school works. Since inspections only report the deviations from what is stated in governing documents, they often create a solely negative image of how a school is functioning, which is subsequently exposed in the media. The risk is that principals and teachers will feel themselves to be more and more controlled and that trust in their professional skills is diminishing. Trust is seen as a key factor in the creation of well-functioning societies and organizations. Against this background, the purpose of this article is to describe and discuss whether or not inspections of schools also risk affecting the trust in principals and their work. The results show that extended control leads to principals’ spending more time on monitoring study results and focusing on what can be measured. One conclusion is that principals feel challenged because they are described as being unable to lead their schools in a successful way.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Schools Inspectorate, trust, extended control
Research subject Education and Learning
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:du-21764OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-21764DiVA: diva2:939415
The ENIRDELM conference in Vantaa, Finland in September 18-20 2014.