Case Studies - Step-By-Step (Sweden)
The Swedish Education Act says that school have to offer every single student exactly what they need in order to succeed in their studies. We at Viskastrandsgymnasiet had to find ways to early discover of the students needs, why we established a systematic way to follow up and support students. This model includes a holistic approach to their study situation and involves all levels of organization of our school. The main structure is:
2. Institutional implementation
A. The class teacher/mentor
The Class teacher’s (further on called the mentor) work is important for Viskastrandsgymnasiet to succeed in the commitments, which is written in the Education Act, the Curriculum and other policy documents.
When a student is not following the regular study plan, the principal should be informed and if required from principal the class teacher should start an investigation about what has gone wrong and why. An Action Programme should be written. Together with principal parent-teacher meetings should be arranged. The student must inform the mentor when being ill. The mentor should report this in Dexter - the absence system. The mentor should follow the absence and report to principal when needed. If the student needs some kind of leave, the mentor could allow this up till three days a year if needed. For longer leaves principal has to be contacted.
2. Absence reporting
A student’s absence from vocational training at Viskastrandsgymnasiet always influences the outcomes negatively. No matter what the reasons for the absence are.
The majority of our education is about “hands on knowledge” and together with the knowledge and experience from our vocational teachers, the students receive skills they won’t find in books or other places.
When absence increases students may find it hard or nearly impossible to catch up as they experience it as an insurmountable obstacle. They become dependent to whether the teacher can allocate time to show and describe what they’ve missed or not. In additional it will be more difficult for the student to comprehend totality and context and thereby estimate what he/she has achieved compared to the targets. We believe these mentioned factors together form an important base of uncertainty and doubts in the students mind resulting in dropouts or necessity to start all over again.
At our school we have chosen, according to the legislative requirements, to prioritize early discovery and action, already at the first occasions of absence.
C. Work with student subjects – STEP-BY-STEP
The student’s health team has meetings with the principals at a fixed time each week where they discuss all cases.
The principal decides, in consulting with the student’s health team, whether a student conference will be hold or not. If one decides to have one they will send a written invitation to the student and the parents if the student is not of legal age. The principal will chair the meeting. Members of such a meeting can be, the student, their parents, the principal, members of the student health team and any others affected by the matter. They interact and discuss before deciding on further action. The decision is written and officially recorded.
After starting working in this way we know that the aim has been reached.