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Educational leadership and im/migration: preparation, practice and policy – the Swedish case

Katarina Norberg (Centre for Principal Development, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden)

International Journal of Educational Management

ISSN: 0951-354X

Article publication date: 12 June 2017

Abstract

Purpose

Migration to Sweden dramatically increased in 2015 and challenged the reception system at all levels and societal institutions, one of which was the school. As a response to the lack of a comprehensive educational strategy for newly arrived students, new regulations were passed in January 2016, the purpose of which was to guarantee equity and equality in education for all students, irrespective of their background. The regulations make demands on local politicians and the school leaders to adjust the reception, organization and teaching to support the newly arrived students’ learning. The purpose of this paper is to explore school leadership practices in turbulent times.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is situated in the field of post-migration ecology, as newly arrived students move from pre-migration to transmigration to post-migration contexts, the latter for this paper’s interest, when they arrive to their new schools. Seven principals in a transit municipality for migrants were interviewed to obtain a picture of how they are prepared for diversity in leadership and how policy and practice coincide.

Findings

The study reveals how policy and practice coincide due to a lack of intercultural and bilingual competences among the staff. The principal’s responsibility for a school structure and culture that support newly arrived students’ learning raises new demands on how principals are trained for diversity.

Originality/value

The study is a contribution to the little-researched field concerning school leadership and newly arrived students which raises new demands regarding how principals are trained for diversity.

Keywords

Citation

Norberg, K. (2017), "Educational leadership and im/migration: preparation, practice and policy – the Swedish case", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 31 No. 5, pp. 633-645. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-08-2016-0162

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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