This paper focuses on the relationship between the national curriculum in Sweden and the training of head teachers. The original responsibility of the principal in the centralized system was to be a guarantor for good quality and to see that the state curriculum was carried out in accordance with the intentions in the law. The head teacher remains in charge of all educational activity in the school and should be familiar with everyday work in the school and promote educational change for school improvement. Since the mid‐1980s a national head‐teachers training programme has focused on pedagogical school leadership and school improvement. The aim of the present programme introduced in 2002 is that head teachers should develop and use a democratic, learning and communicative form of leadership that has its starting‐point in the national curriculum. After having completed the training, the head teacher should, on the basis of democratic principles and with regard to individuals' integrity and equal value, be able to lead and develop the school as well as asserting the rights of children and pupils to the education guaranteed in the government's legislation and regulations.
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