The Swedish parliament recently decided that free schools are welcome to continue to contribute to the Swedish school system. We welcome this decision and will continue to provide the highest possible quality of education to all children at IES schools. We also work closely with municipalities in an often-challenging reality around Sweden. Together we find ways to offer even more children quality education, which in turn attracts companies and parents to these municipalities.
Skellefteå municipality has announced that it would welcome Internationella Engelska Skolan, IES, to open a school in the city in 2019 and has invited IES to run such a school in the former buildings of Brännanskolan. The move would be dependent on a contract being signed following a formal decision from IES.
Jörgen Stenquist, Vice CEO of Internationella Engelska Skolan, said: “We have wanted to open a school in Skellefteå for a number of years, and we are delighted by the enthusiastic welcome that we have received from families, politicians and the local business community. Skellefteå is a town with a bright future, working to attract multinational companies and with that comes the need for a first-class education. We want to be part of the solution, providing the quality education which is needed.
"We know the level of interest in our school is high and soon we hope to sign a contract about the school building once we have made a formal decision to open a new school in Skellefteå. We look forward to driving this project forward and hope to open a new school which will provide a fantastic alternative for hundreds of students in Västerbotten while at the same time complimenting the schools run by the local municipalities."
More information will come in due course, but in the meantime families are now able to express interest in a place at the school using the link below.
Please Note: We are not able to guarantee that the school will open until we secure all necessary permissions. As such, at this point applications are currently to express interest in the school, rather than to officially join a queue.
We will only be able to officially open the queue once plans and permits are in place and the school's status is assured. Once all of these steps are in place the expressions of interest which will be converted into queue places, with the date of application honoured and student places allocated on a first-come first-served basis.
Students from Internationella Engelska Skolan Johanneberg came away from a national contest with two prizes.
The final of iLCompetition, held in Malmö, saw the students from Johanneberg win first prize in the Swedish contest - Mästerskapet i Svenska, and third prize in Spanish.
Kicki Zhou and Gunnar Fovaeus (pictured above) competed against other students from across Sweden to win their place at the national final, but to win the overall contest in Swedish was a surprise.
Kicki said: “It was very nerve-wracking, we didn’t expect to get that far, the atmosphere was very exciting and tense because everybody was there to win.
"I don’t think we realised we had won until the host said it out loud, we were so focussed on the questions that we didn’t realise it, and then it was this big rush of joy.
"I am pleased that I took part in the event, when I was first asked to the regionals I was hesitant, I wasn’t sure it was worth it, but it ended up being a memory for life, so I am glad I went."
Gunnar added: “There was only one school who got the first question right, and I thought they would win everything. Two questions later we were in first place and they were last.
“There was a school there from Uppsala who did well, and both teams were close until the end. Then on the second to last question we beat them, which felt amazing.
“It went so fast, there were question numbers but we didn’t look at the numbers, and we didn’t know how many questions were remaining. Then suddenly they said congratulations you have won, and we couldn’t believe it, we were so happy.”
The contest is a language and culture contest in modern languages, and Swedish, for students from both grund and gymnasieskolor, with the aim of enhancing students' knowledge of languages.
While Gunnar and Kicki did exceptionally well in Swedish, they were not the only IES team in the contest. IES Lund were also in the Swedish final with them. IES Johanneberg also took third place in Spanish, slightly ahead of IES Hässleholm who were joint fourth. IES Hässleholm also came third in French and fourth in English. In the contest for upper secondary schools, Internationella Engelska Gymnasiet Södermalm placed second in French and fourth in Spanish.
Internationella Engelska Skolan, IES, is the largest free school organization in compulsory education (grundskolor) in Sweden, with 24,000 students and over 170,000 registrations in our queue. Our students receive above national average results in the national tests as well as make academic progress with us over time. This is regardless of social or academic background. 38% of our students have a foreign background compared with 24% in municipal schools. In the face of Sweden’s educational challenges, we can, and want to, be a part of the solution.
The latest Skolverket statistics show that municipal schools are more generous in grade setting than IES and other free schools in the subjects of Swedish and Mathematics. Even Stockholm City’s 2017 diagnostic test in Mathematics showed that our schools are more restrictive in grade setting. We take Skolverket’s statistics very seriously because they are the country’s responsible administration, and together with Skolinspektionen, secure quality and correct grade setting for Sweden’s students.
In a recent report titled, “Trust-Based Evaluation in a Market Orientated School System” it was claimed that IES and other free schools have higher grade inflation than municipal schools. The report is based on an alternative view of the facts and instead of looking at the % of students gaining a higher final grade when compared to national test result, focuses on grade points instead. A student achieving a C at national test and subsequently B at final grade level will have increased by 2.5 grade points. However, a student achieving an F in the national test and subsequently an E at final grade will have increased by 10 grade points. Many of our students at the time of the national tests will be on F-E borderline and some may fail. Our teachers work hard with these students up until the point of grading so many will eventually pass. In 2017, 95% of our students with lower educated parents were eligible for further studies, compared with just 78% at national level. The report also compares national tests in Mathematics with performance in other subjects such as Home Economics. These alternative conclusions are being used as an argument to ban for profit education providers.
We also perceive the current grading guidelines as being too open to interpretation. We therefore suggest that Skolverket create more structured guidelines and processes to secure a more correct and equitable grading system. The national tests provide solid grounds for the assessment of student knowledge. We would like to see tests in more subjects and held more regularly. We also believe that such tests should be corrected centrally.
We hope, and believe, that a serious and honest dialogue will take Sweden back to a top position within education. We can, and want to, be a part of the solution for the challenges the Swedish education system faces. We can achieve this by taking part in dialogue to generate common solutions, develop competent school leaders, open further schools and enable more children to attend our schools.
Together, we need to solve the shortage of teachers. Sweden will lack 80,000 teachers by 2030, if we don’t react now. IES, and for example, Skellefteå municipality, will strengthen their teaching body by recruiting qualified international teachers, but more must be done. The greater solution lies in making the profession more attractive. Here we would welcome taking part in a deeper discussion.
Let us together, contribute to our children’s future and combine the positive forces the municipal and free schools stand for, so that our children will receive a better education. Let us ground our discussions in honesty, and with a starting point in Parliament’s and Skolverket’s decisions and guidelines.
Music and applause rang out in Södermalm as Internationella Engelska Skolan Sundsvall lifted the trophy at the annual IES Modern Foreign Languages Eurovision Song Contest.
This year 17 middle schools (grundskolor) from across Sweden took part in the event, which sees students compete by singing in any language other than English or Swedish.
After receiving the trophy and performing her reprise, Céline said: “I did not expect to win at all, I was very surprised and it was really fun performing. I started actually practicing about maybe one month ago. It is a song I have listened to for many years and it was on the top of my head and I really wanted to sing this one, it is really good.”
Ms Shannon Lehnberg, a teacher from Sundsvall who attended the event and supported Céline said: “We are so proud of Céline. Her stage presence and ability to engage the audience while singing in one of her three languages is truly remarkable. She is a true entertainer.”
Ms Nora Kielty, one of the staff from IES Tyresö involved in organising the event, said: "This year IES Tyresö brought the magic of music, language and technology together to showcase the sparkling talent and creative imagination of our young musicians, singers, dancers and presenters. We witnessed the birth of a new star as the winner from IES Sundsvall thrilled her audience amid the energy and enthusiasm that was Eurovision 2018."
Just like the better known Eurovision Song Contest, which will head to Israel next year, the victorious school takes on the role of host for the following year. This means that Internationella Engelska Skolan Sundsvall will host the contest next spring.