Welcome to Botkyrka friskola
In 1992, Botkyrka municipality decided to shut down Botkyrka Kyrkskola which at that time had three compulsory school classes for pupils aged 9 to 12. Later that year and the following, the Swedish parliament implemented The Independent School Reform. This inspired teachers Per Svangren and Tonny Johansson to take matters in their own hands and set up the business as an independent school. The school received their operating permit in March 1993, accepting its first students in the autumn semester.
Botkyrka Friskola, pedagogy
The JS – Johansson & Svangren – pedagogy is a blend of leading pedagogy that the two founders have gathered from travelling abroad coupled with more than 50 years of combined class room experience. It rests on the assumption that pupils want, and have the ability to, influence their own learning process. Simply described, the pedagogy boils down to two interrelated components:
- Lectures where projects and assignment are presented followed by feedback sessions
- Self studies that enable pupils to conduct studies at school in technologically advanced environments called "pupil offices".
Both (1) and (2) adhere to curriculums and timetables set forth by The Swedish National Agency for Education. These two interrelated components can be found in other schools to a varying degree. However, what sets Botkyrka Friskola apart from the rest is the school´s commitment to follow-through in all classes, i.e. from the first day at school until graduation of class nine. Regardless of age and class level, the school offers its students a unique opportunity to influence and shape their own future.
The balancing effect from lectures secures that order and guidelines from The Swedish National Agency for Education are adhered to, creating a controlled, but free-spirited, environment.
A set of factors facilitate the learning process out of which the "open doors" principle and e-learning are the foremost. The open doors principle accentuates the lack of physical boundaries between teachers and pupils. Pupils are allowed in all areas including the teacher's lounge and teachers are frequently seen in the pupil cafeteria during leisure time. This fosters mutual respect among teachers and pupils which in turn facilitates the learning process.
The e-learning component rests upon the assumption than pupils should be able to gain access to knowledge regardless of their physical whereabouts.
The pedagogy is enforced by fostering students since attending first class while simultaneously preparing them for alternative teaching approaches. This enables the pupils to quickly accommodate themselves to new surroundings following a change of schools or when attending high school or university at a later stage in life.
Being part of a market where many participants claim uniqueness in their teaching approach, the pedagogy has actually been described in three publicised books and in a number of newspaper articles.
Botkyrka municipality is located between Stockholm and Södertälje, covering an area of 197 square kilometres – from lake Mälaren up north to the Baltic Sea down south. With almost 80,000 inhabitants, the municipality is the fourth largest in Stockholm county, encompassing both densely populated urban and sparsely populated rural areas. Nearly one third of the inhabitants have an international background.
With an average age of 36.7 years and only 11 percent of the inhabitants in retirement age, the county is relatively young compared to the rest of Sweden. This is further amplified by 2007 year-end statistics, showing Botkyrka inhabitants aged 0 to 17 years represented 24.8 percent of the population, compared to 22.0 percent and 21.0 percent respectively for Stockholm county and the rest of Sweden.
In part explained by the municipality's relative young demographic structure, spending on education is prioritized, as evidenced by this area representing approximately 50 percent of Botkyrka's budget in 2007.