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Teachers’ work in complex times: the ‘fast policy’ of Swedish school reform

Journal article
Authors Ian Hardy
Karin Rönnerman
Dennis Beach
Published in Oxford Review of Education
Volume 45
Issue 3
Pages 350-366
ISSN 0305-4985
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Education and Special Education
Pages 350-366
Language en
Keywords Educational policy, teachers’ work, educational governance, teacher professional learning, Sweden
Subject categories Pedagogy


This paper analyses recent educational reforms on teachers’ work in Sweden following the 2010 Education Act, and up to the School Commission Report released in April 2017. We draw upon key policy texts and associated documents from the Ministry of Education, and the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket). We con- sider the background to the reforms, their relations with one another and how they have played out in the Swedish educational policy context. We argue that these reforms exhibit features of ‘fast policy’ in terms of how they have taken on an increasingly centra- lised and neoliberal character, and the rapid-fire way they have been directed at teachers as individuals, rather than broader school- ing structures. We show how the fast policy reforms have recentra- lised schooling and teachers’ work—effectively de-professionalising educators.

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