The purpose of this paper is to analyse the Swedish National Agency for Education’s launch of the nationwide Lgr11 curriculum reform and how local education authorities…
The purpose of this paper is to analyse the Swedish National Agency for Education’s launch of the nationwide Lgr11 curriculum reform and how local education authorities (LEAs) in one municipality translated and responded to the National Agency’s directives.
This paper presents empirical data from a qualitative study of documents and interviews using the analytical perspective from Scott (2001, 2008) to explore regulative, normative and cultural-cognitive aspects of the National Agency’s communications. To analyse the local translations made by LEAs at the central municipal level, analytical categories of assimilation, loose coupling and transformation were used.
The overall results show that the National Agency primarily communicated its policy instructions to LEAs using normative and cultural-cognitive arguments and directives. The lack of sharper regulative directives, such as for division of labour, decision making, mandates and developmental roles, reduced the potential for LEAs to become influential actors in organising local implementation. An analysis using the assistance of assimilation categories, loose coupling and transformation of the paper also shows that LEAs need system support to accomplish more innovative middle-tier translations through elements of loose coupling and transformation – to become catalysts for school system improvement.
The research is designed to understand actions and interpretations within specific institutional, organisational and social settings.
This paper contributes to former findings by offering a novel perspective for understanding policy translation and the role of middle-tier intermediaries in decentralised education systems.