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Business as Usual or a State of Emergency? School Leadership During an Unprecedented Increase in Asylum-seekers

Education, Immigration and Migration

ISBN: 978-1-78756-045-1, eISBN: 978-1-78756-044-4

Publication date: 10 July 2019


In 2015, there was great refugee migration towards and within Europe. Sweden was no exception. The unprecedented increase in asylum-seekers challenged the reception system at all levels including schools. This chapter, based on two studies, focuses on principals and their mission to adjust their schools in order to fulfil their responsibilities concerning newly arrived students’ education during that period. The number of newly arrived students the principals received ranged from a few students over a period of months to a constant influx of 60 and 150 in total. But the reaction among the principals and staff wasn’t necessarily related to the number of students in question. More telling was the school’s history, the principal’s leadership and the school’s experience in matters of diversity important. The way the principals managed the situation had an impact on how the situation developed. The findings also revealed problematic attitudes toward the ‘other’ among educators, attitudes that conflict with the school’s democratic mission. The reception of newly arrived students is a matter of a joint responsibility at all levels to guarantee equal education for all students, irrespective of their background.



Norberg, K. (2019), "Business as Usual or a State of Emergency? School Leadership During an Unprecedented Increase in Asylum-seekers", Arar, K., Brooks, J.S. and Bogotch, I. (Ed.) Education, Immigration and Migration (Studies in Educational Administration), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 267-284.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © Katarina Norberg, 2019