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From trust to control – the Swedish first teacher reform

Journal article
Authors Peter Erlandson
Mikael R. Karlsson
Published in Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice
Volume 24
Issue 1
Pages 22-36
ISSN 1354-0602
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies
Pages 22-36
Language en
Keywords Educational change, neoliberal, new public management, policy, reform, teacher
Subject categories Educational Sciences


In this study, the implementation of the Swedish first teacher reform, where especially skilled teachers get an opportunity to advance in their careers, is examined. The scene is an upper secondary school, Baxter High, in the southwest of Sweden. In this particular school, a new system with first teachers replaces an old system of so-called head teachers. The teachers’ response to this is multilayered: at the same time as it reveals an unwillingness to change everyday work rhythms, it is also a response to cultural change, and to change in the discourse of political life in Baxter High. The implementation of the first teacher reform results not only in a change in administrative categories, but also in a change in ideology, intertwined with and embedded in the cultural and social life of the school. In this article, the authors connect the first teacher reform to the neoliberal transformation process that the Swedish educational system has undergone over the last three decades.

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