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Göteborgs universitets publikationer

The impact of self-monitoring in schools

Författare och institution:
Caroline Runesdotter (Institutionen för pedagogik och specialpedagogik); Susanne Fransson (Institutionen för socialt arbete)
Publicerad i:
ECER, European Conference on Educational Research, 20160923-26, Dublin,
Konferensbidrag - refereegranskat abstract
Sammanfattning (abstract):
In accordance to a new provision in the Education Act (2010) schools have to report and investigate all incidents of degrading treatment. The focus of this paper is to study how schools and school authorities handle this provision. In 1991, the Swedish school system changed from centralized and thoroughly regulated to decentralized, along with the liberal politics of the time. Since then, the state has step by step reestablished control over the school system. Similar changes have been observed in many European countries (Eurydice 2015). It can be considered as ”the state strikes back” (Hudson 2007), through recentralization and juridification (Teubner 1987, Blichner & Molander 2008, Brännström 2009). One common denominator is that legal regulation is imposed on more activities in school and in a more compelling way than before. The discourse of rights that appear in the strengthened regulation regarding degrading treatment is not only a national phenomenon, but influenced by international conventions like the Rights of the Child. Since the application of the new Education Act (SFS 2010:800) in Sweden, the schools have an obligation to report and investigate acts of degrading treatment in school to the local school authority (Education Act, chapter 6). The investigation that the school must undertake consists of interviews with the parties concerned, and accounts for measures to prevent from further mistreatments or grievances. The impact on the work of teachers and principals becomes apparent, since the procedures require extensive investigation and documentation on the behalf of the school administration. The decision to introduce the obligation to report and investigate by law transfers the responsibility to the schools to handle all incidents of grievances. In this context the obligation can be understood as a form of self monitoring, a way of governance where the schools themselves must monitor their work with incidents. In the same time as they are constantly aware of, that it can be surveyed by the School Inspection, SI. This provision can be understood as a consequence of the growing number of complaints sent to the school inspection by pupils and their parents. The process of making a complaint was digitalized through the webpage of SI. The number of complaints grew to unsustainable levels, especially considering that every single complaint had to be investigated by the staff at the inspection. Through the new Education Act, parents and pupils can still make complaints about the school directly to the SI, but are recommended to contact the school first, who are obliged to deal with the complaint directly (Barn- och Elevombudet 2015, Skolinspektionen 2015). In case the SI receives a complaint, the existence of documentation is decisive in whether the school will be considered to have taken appropriate measures or receive public criticism. However, there are no clear guidelines for what qualifies for a report or can cause complaints. The fear of receiving public criticism from the school inspection has lead to an excessive use of incident reports. The analysis will draw on the concept of self-regulation (Focault 1979), as the self-monitoring can be understood as a form of governance where the schools themselves must monitor their work with incidents, constantly aware of that they can be controlled by the inspection. We will also apply aspects of juridification, when applied to formerly not legislated social areas and in this case understood as expropriation of conflicts (Teubner 1987). The aim is to get a further understanding of the impacts of self-regulating aspects in schools, and also to gain a better insight to how it affects the relations between school and parents/pupils as well as between the school leaders and teachers.
Ämne (baseras på Högskoleverkets indelning av forskningsämnen):
governance, accountability, self monitoring juridification
Postens nummer:
Posten skapad:
2016-08-31 11:31

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