Sweden inspires when England starts 'free schools'

NEWS Published

EDUCATION SECTOR Britain is seeing the establishment of free schools patterned after the Swedish model for non-selective, state-funded independent schools. Generally, the Swedish model involves tax funding of a unit grant to schools for each student attending, regardless whether the school is run by the local government or privately, as long as the school meets teaching and open selection criteria enforced by the Swedish National Agency for Education. Inspired by this model, the British conservative led government has passed a similar legal structure for schools in the UK, which can be an opening for Swedish private school providers to export their know-how.

Johan Olsson, utbildningspolitisk expert.

Johan Olsson, Education Policy Expert.

The British Tory party got elected promising school reform to open opportunities for independent, private schools operating along the same principles as the Swedish school system has for nearly 20 years. 24 new schools have opened in the first year, but observers agree this is only the beginning. And, many expect their impact on the British school system to grow. National school authorities received 323 applications to start free schools, where less than 10% gained approval to open doors. But, expectations are that over 100 more such schools will open in the next four years.

Private schools are certainly not new in England, but the traditional, fee-charging institutions have long been the preserve of the well-off who can afford to pay. The new free schools, however, are publically financed through a system that calculates a unit grant per student in much the same way as the Swedish system does. The only difference is that the British schools are not allowed to earn a profit, but rather are run as foundations.

“The British press has been filled with articles on the ‘the Swedish free schools’ and many are interested in the solutions we have developed,” says Johan Olsson, Education Policy Expert at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise. “We’re seeing England taking a step towards reforming a highly tradition bound and inflexible school system.”

Private Swedish school providers are also closely following developments in the UK. And, Trade Minister Ewa Björling also sees an export opportunity for the country.

The Swedish private education provider, Kunskapsskolan, has already entered the new market and currently runs three Academies in England—two in Richmond and one in Ipswich—with positive results. Education levels have been raised since the local government allowed Kunskapsskolan in. However, Cecilia Karnefeldt, manager at Kunskapsskolan cannot state when the next school will be opened. “Everything is still so new, so we cannot specify concretely when we will expand, or who else will enter the market,” she says, “We have to evaluate the situation.”

´The funding system is the most significant question. The British system for unit grants is not quite as extensive as the Swedish system. “But, if they come to a similar solution, it will certainly open a new export market for Swedish school providers. We do see that the educational concept on which Kunskapsskolan is based—focusing on individually designed programs—is increasingly in demand.

Johan Olsson sees other positive effects with the greater freedom of school choice for individuals offered by the free school system. “This certainly opens for a more entrepreneurial approach to education,” he concluded.





Anders Carlsson

News

NEWS Published:

BUSINESSEUROPE Day 2015 "Invest in Europe"

On March 26th, BUSINESSEUROPE Day was organized in Brussels. The theme of this year’s full day event was “Invest in Europe”, and a large number of participants showed up from the business side and media. Among the speakers were President of the European Commission (EC) Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Parliament (EP) Martin Schulz and many more.
NEWS Published:

Easier exports with free trade agreement

FREE TRADE Small family business Ahlberg Cameras from Sweden, is a world leading manufacturer of camera equipment for the nuclear power industry. 90% of their production goes to export – with 50% alone to the US. But costly trade tariffs on sales to the US throw a spanner in their works. “A free trade agreement would make things much easier for us,” says CEO Joakim Ahlberg.
NEWS Published:

Redundancies — a sign of Swedish decline

OPINION Swedish electronics flagship Ericsson announced over 2,200 redundancies in their home county, a clear signal of tough competition in the global economy. Companies always change, restructure, and evolve. As must Sweden’s policies to keep from falling behind. So far, however, the new left leaning Swedish government has brought no good proposals. Ericsson’s redundancy notice signals a tightening global economy – with high-paced change and razor sharp competition, says Tobias Krantz, Head of Education, Research and Innovation.
NEWS Published:

Record levels of women entrepreneurs

REPORT "Women’s participation in business is growing, and has reached record levels in 18 Swedish counties. More worrying is that 18% of all entrepreneurs are above the age of 64, as reported in the recently published study ‘Entrepreneurship in 2015’. “Conditions for women have improved. When markets are opened in areas like healthcare, more women are been able to start and run their own businesses," says Carolina Brånby, the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise Business Climate Expert.
NEWS Published:

The Nordic Corporate Governance Model

The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise has sponsored and supported a project aimed at defining a common Nordic model of corporate governance within SNS (the Centre for Business and Policy Studies), Sweden’s leading policy research institute, in co-operation with leading researchers, experts and business people from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. As a result the book “The Nordic Corporate Governance Model” was launched.
NEWS Published:

Trade unions and employers have agreed on a policy on TTIP

Trade unions and employers within the industry have agreed on a policy as a contribution to the negotiations between the EU and US.
NEWS Published:

Advice (x3) for the Swedish National Council for Innovation and Quality in the Public Sector

OPINION The centre-left coalition government (Swedish Social Democrats and Green Party) just launched a new national council for Innovation and Quality in the Public Sector. Taking experiences with earlier tries at similar policy council, the Globalisation Council and the Future of Sweden Commission, Tobias Krantz, Head of Education, Research and Innovation, and Emil Görnerup, Head of Research and Development Policy at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, outline several principles to guide the new council.
NEWS Published:

An EU Energy Union Facing Challenges

OPINION The European Commission presented its plan for the EU energy union, designed to ensure access to environmentally sustainable energy at reasonable prices to all European households and businesses. The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise welcomes this initiative, but sees that several challenges await as energy markets of member nations are integrated in terms of infrastructure and legislation, writes Linda Flink, Energy and Climate Specialist. 
NEWS Published:

The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise hones international activities

CHANGES The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise has increased its emphasis on global issues. A new secretariat has been opened to support our international operations. As well a new advisor for international issues has been appointed. The organisational change is already in place!
NEWS Published:

The Advisory Committee of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise visited Brussels

EU The Advisory Committee of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise visited Brussels on February 25-26. The delegation consisted of the executive management of the Confederation, as well as CEOs for the main sector organisations.
NEWS Published:

Stråberg hands over the reins

INTERNATIONAL TRADE Hans Stråberg stepped down as co-chair of the executive advisory group Trans-Atlantic Business Dialogue in the Trans-Atlantic Business Council, where he has been the leading voice of European businesses and commerce for the past two years. He tells us his most satisfying achievement was the Business Dialogue being able to get reluctant politicians become more enthusiastic for the ongoing free trade negotiations between the EU and the US.
NEWS Published:

An important wake-up call

ECONOMY The government must tackle its responsibility to increase investment after the Riskbank announcement on the 12 February that it is lowering the main base rate to -0.10%. This can be as investment in infrastructure or cutting red tape.
NEWS Published:

New EU-VAT – threat to small businesses

NEW LEGISLATION Many small Swedish IT-companies will have a hard time surviving under new EU VAT rules. Many companies aren’t even aware of it, notes Anders Ydstedt, who runs the company Rymdweb. “For us, it means we have to turn down all private customers from other EU countries than Sweden,” he says.
NEWS Published:

11 myths about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

TRADE Here we give answers to myths about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
NEWS Published:

Investor-state dispute settlement – better than its reputation

COMMENTARY Investor protection, known as ISDS (Investor-state dispute settlement), is the issue in Sweden raising most criticism about the current free trade negotiations for Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and USA. This dispute settlement procedure enables companies to claim compensation when states expropriate their assets. The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, through expert on international trade Olof Erixon, argues ISDS actually works much better than its reputation.
NEWS Published:

Transatlantic Partnership – why we need it

DEBATE The transatlantic trade and investment partnership, TTIP, is being negotiated between the EU and the US. A successful agreement between the two the biggest economies in the world would have a huge positive effect on the world economy. Against this backdrop, the Swedish Society for Business and Politics, SPN, organised an important policy debate in the European Parliament together with more than 200 participants from European institutions, businesses, NGO’s and other stakeholders.
NEWS Published:

TTIP is good for SME:s

TRADE In a survey commissioned by Swedish Enterprise, 700 small and medium-size enterprises point to current legal uncertainty, unequal requirements, double bureaucracy and tariffs as major obstacles to trade with the US, writes Carola Lemne, CEO Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.
NEWS Published:

The Executive Board visits Brussels

THE EXECUTIVE BOARD OF CONFEDERATION, The Executive board of Confederation, consisting of 18 people under the direction of President Jens Spendrup and Director General Carola Lemne, flew to Brussels this week to increase their involvement in the Confederation’s top priorities in the EU sphere. They had a busy program with meetings with some of the key influential persons for Swedish business. To mention a few of the points on the agenda the group had a dinner at the residence of Swedish Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the EU Anders Ahnlid and met Swedish members of Parliament from C, M, MP and S.
NEWS Published:

"Make sure this once-in-a-generation opportunity is taken"

LETTER We the undersigned business groups, which together speak for more than 3.4 million companies in all sectors across Europe employing over 55 million European citizens, believe that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) offers significant benefits for our employees and European growth.
NEWS Published:

Will research policy be the next EU crisis?

EU Excellence in research and innovation is key for creating growth and jobs in Europe. Total investment in research globally is increasing substantially. Eastern and Southeast Asia makes up for more than a third of global investment, China has doubled its investment in the last decade. With just 2 percent of GDP in research investment, Europe, home to many world-leading companies, is less research-intensive than the US, China and Japan.