How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the 1 Danish public school

December 2012

How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the 1 Danish public school

1 ”Public school” here comprises municipal primary and lower secondary education (Danish: Folkeskole).

How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school

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Contents
An even better public school – vision and challenges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 An overall improvement of the public school. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 An integrated and active school day. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Improved professional development and integration of knowledge of good teaching. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Clear objectives for the development of the public school and increased local independence. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 A collective task . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

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All children in the public school must benefit from good teaching that enables the optimal development of the individual child’s opportunities and academic potential. Therefore. and which gives them the best background for completing secondary education and do well in life. The outcome of the teaching should not depend on where you live or who your parents are. Source  OECD (2010): PISA 2009 Results: What Students Know and Can Do: Student Performance in Reading. Nearly one student in six leaves school without having acquired Vision for an even better public school It is the government’s vision to have a public school that challenges all children to reach their full potential. They can. Many children face problems in the public school. a school that makes them thrive and enjoy learning. For nearly 200 years it has been an important driver in the development of the Danish society. improve even further. Challenges: The children do not learn sufficiently in school We can be proud of our public school. All children enjoy learning and teachers enjoy teaching. – Many students have limited natural science skills: 17 per cent of the students are assessed not to have functional competences in natural science. – Few students are good readers: Only 5 per cent are assessed to qualify as strong readers – Many students have Maths problems: 17 per cent of the students are assessed not to have functional Maths competences. teachers should enjoy respect and trust. And it is necessary that they do. A public school that provides children with the best academic qualifications possible. Society in general. The vast majority of children do well in school.How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school 7 An even better public school – vision and challenges Denmark has a good public school system for primary and lower secondary education. continuously develop and raise the standards in the public school in order to further improve it. and they must always apply the most recognized teaching methods. Denmark needs to improve the quality of the public school in order for all children to increase their competence levels. The day care facilities must stimulate children’s natural desire to learn and by encouraging playing and learning activities a smooth transition to the public school should be made. The foundation for learning is laid already in the first years of childhood. The public school must be a school adapted to modern children. And the public school must lay the educational foundation for 95 percent of all young people being qualified to complete upper secondary education. The public school must also encourage the development of the children’s personal and social competences. This we must encourage throughout their years of schooling. By nature children are enthusiastic learners who are naturally curious about life. The main academic challenges of the public school – Too many students are poor readers: 15 per cent of students leaving compulsory education have not obtained reading literacy. This is our approach to developing the public school. EVA (2011): Individualized learning as a leading pedagogical principle.I). We must. however. . It is the government’s ambition to ensure that our children become the best educated generation in the history of Denmark. and it must teach them to become dedicated citizens in an active democracy. But the Danish public school is also facing significant challenges: Many students do not benefit sufficiently from their schooling. The teachers must be offered training and further education to become highly qualified in the subjects they teach. however. Mathematics and Science (vol. the labour market and the globalising world continuously demand more from all of us. – Many teachers find it difficult to approach individualized learning that takes differences in the academic levels of students into account. It should be exciting to go to school. As a profession.

8 How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school sufficient reading skills. Areas where the Danish public school performs well – Denmark is in the top end of an international review that examines how school systems and schools and teachers throughout the world prepare students for their future lives as citizens. – Danish students are good at understanding and participating in democratic processes. like in preparing students for life as modern citizens who participate in democratic processes. It should. Main international results. – Both students and teachers experience a good debating culture and a good social climate in the school. it is crucial to the government that the public school will see an improvement. In many classrooms noise and distraction disturb the teaching. It is hard to keep the children motivated and interested throughout their entire schooling. – Teachers generally earn a high degree of trust from parents. Radius/Epinion (2012): Credibility survey 2012 . however. Today this does not happen to a sufficient extent. This lack becomes a barrier for acquiring skills in other school subjects. And children whose parents have little education perform poorly compared to children of parents with further and higher education. In its current form. Gallup/Local Government Denmark (2007): Results from Gallup survey conducted for Local Government Denmark in 2007. One student in six has not obtained the most basic skills in Maths. It becomes a barrier for completing an upper secondary education. There are children who acquire new knowledge very fast. They must also be challenged in the public school in order for them to reach their full potential. Therefore. This means that in every single class an average of three to four students end up not acquiring the qualifications needed when leaving the public school. – Teachers belong to one of the professions with the highest degree of credibility. These are problems that may influence the children’s well-being in school as well as their academic results. It is far from being satisfactory that so many children and young people lack skills in basic subjects like Danish and Maths. the public school sees other challenges too. Source  The Department of Education (2010): ICC 2009. be an improvement based on the areas where the public school performs well. In an international review Denmark lies in the top end when it comes to facilitating a debate culture. And it becomes a barrier for dealing with the many diverse aspects of life in the work place and everyday life in general. Doing well is contagious and challenging the academically gifted students to excel will benefit all students.

How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school 9 .

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Three clear objectives for the development of the Public school – The Public school must challenge all students to reach their full potential – The Public school must lower the significance of social background on academic results – Trust in the school and student well-being must be enhanced through respect for professional knowledge and practice in the public school. principals. local governments and Parliament. other pedagogical staff. a significant and all-round improvement of the public school is needed. It is the government’s wish to establish an on-going dialogue with relevant parties related to the public school. And the children who perform very well and who need extra challenges. . And Danish society also has increasingly high expectations regarding education of good quality.How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school 11 An overall improvement of the public school In the past ten years the public school has taken several steps in the right direction. Many people contribute to the development of the public school. the children who have a hard time in school and who do not now obtain sufficient skills to complete upper secondary education. A number of changes to The Public School Act have been made. teachers. Focus on teaching the youngest students has been increased. An overall quality improvement of the public school requires contributions from all stakeholders: Students. The academic skills of young people improve year by year in the world around us. And it must do more than that. and the positive effect has been prompt. And after such a reform the public school should be left in peace to implement the new initiatives and make them work without continuously being forced to introduce new and extensive rules and regulations. However. The local governments are very focused on the quality standards of the schools in their municipalities. And Parliament has agreed on a reform that will raise the academic levels of the teacher education programs and make them more attractive. parents. Many parents take an active part and interest in their children’s education and contribute enthusiastically to school related activities. Only joint responsibility and ownership will create the desired results. Only by improving the standards of the public school can we ensure that all children acquire the most basic academic skills and that all children reach their full potential to an even higher degree. The modern public school must prepare our children and young people for the demands of the world of tomorrow. The public school must match developments in the world around us and in Denmark. Teachers make a valuable contribution through their high professional qualifications and enthusiasm. All children must improve their academic qualifications It is the intention of the government to raise the quality standards of the public school for the benefit of all children: The children who do well. It should be an improvement where we do things in a new and better way rather than just do more of the same thing. in order for our children to become the best educated generation in the history of Denmark. They are at the very centre of developing a better public school. but who can further improve. This is to ensure that all stakeholders take part in the development of the public school.

other pedagogical staff and school principals – Teachers. An academic quality improvement and a more exciting and active school day for the children – The children must spend more time together with their teachers and they must receive more and better quality teaching – in Danish. – The children must experience an integrated and active school day which means a 30 hour week from pre-school to form level 3. Maths. The government will allocate DKK 1000 million for the years 2014 to 2020 to improve the professional levels of teachers and other pedagogical staff in the public school. This will enable closer contact between children and adults. – The children should experience a school with an inspirational atmosphere where they – as something new – participate in interesting activity lessons together with their teachers and other pedagogical staff. It is the government’s objective that by 2020 all students in the public school should be taught by teachers who have main subject qualifications (part of teacher education programme. – The municipalities and the schools must be allowed to independently plan the daily teaching and the activities in the schools. better quality teaching means: – Introducing new activity lessons that support and supplement the teaching and add variation and excitement to the school day – Development of new teaching methods and tools – Improved local possibilities for co-teaching – Increased use of IT and digital learning – Enhanced professional development should be made available to teachers and other pedagogical staff in the Public school – Increased focus on leadership and professional development initiatives for school principals – More research projects in pedagogy and teaching methods should be made available to teachers and school principals – A new team of educational consultants who should advise the municipalities and the schools on quality development – Clear objectives for the development of the public school – Simplification of rules and regulations to allow increased independence for municipalities and schools Clear objectives and increased local influence – Everyone – teachers and other pedagogical staff.12 How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school An overall improvement The government will improve the quality of the public school through a number of different initiatives: – Locally. local governments etc. – The teachers must have improved access to information regarding which teaching methods that have proven most efficient. Modern. in order for them to provide modern. Natural sciences/technology and electives. The activity lessons serve the purpose of furthering the academic disciplines as well as encouraging play. or who have obtained equivalent qualifications from continuing teaching education. More teaching means more lessons in Danish. it should be possible to practice co-teaching in the lower form levels and in classes with special needs. The objective of obtaining full main subject qualification standards must be included in the Danish Public School Act. Maths and other subjects. students. other pedagogical staff and school principals must significantly improve and strengthen their professional development. English. 50 ECTS points) in all the subjects they teach. This is to ensure that all parties pull in the same direction and jointly contribute to the development of the Public school year by year. a 35 hour week for form levels 4 to 6 and a 37 hour week for form levels 7 to 9. Professional development for teachers. high quality teaching. exercise and homework assistance. Practical/creative subjects. equivalent of approx. . Teachers must be even better qualified than is the case today. school principals. must work in accordance with clear national objectives for the Public school. An overall improvement of the public school – more and better quality teaching The government wants to improve the academic standards of the public school through more and better quality teaching.

– Activity lessons with teachers and other pedagogical staff should add variety and excitement to the school day. – All children must do some kind of exercise every day.How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school 13 Main elements in the government’s proposal for an overall improvement of the public school An integrated and active school day with more time for improved teaching and activities The children must experience integrated and active schooling. – Improved local possibilities for co-teaching in the lower form levels and in classes with special needs. . – Other improvements of quality and the social school climate • Increased use of IT and digital learning • Involvement of students and parents and increased focus on thriving students and the social school climate. exercise and homework assistance. – Team of educational consultants to support the focus on quality in the public school. Clear objectives for the development of the public school and increased local independence – Three clear national objectives for the development of the public school. The activity lessons must support the academic curriculum as well as allow time for play. a 35 hour week for form levels 4 to 6 and a 37 hour week for form levels 7 to 9. The government plans to allocate DKK 1000 million for the years 2014 to 2020 to raise the professional standards of teachers and other pedagogical staff in the public school. This means a 30 hour week for pre-school class to form level 3. – Improved career paths for teachers. – Simplification of rules and regulations to allow increased independence for municipalities and schools. –  More classes and improved quality teaching in Danish and Maths. – Better quality teaching in subjects other than Danish and Maths • English from form level 1. • Increased focus on transition to upper secondary education in the final years of compulsory schooling. • More classes and improved teaching in Practical/creative subjects and Natural sciences/technology subjects. – Governmental allocation of DKK 60 million from 2013-2015 for professional development of leaders in the public school. • Electives from form level 7. Improved professional development and integration of knowledge of good teaching – Professional development possibilities should be made available to teachers and other pedagogical staff. It is the government’s objective that by 2020 all students in the public school should be taught by teachers who have main subject qualifications in all the subjects they teach. – New school council for child learning. – Enhanced research in the fields of pedagogy and teaching methods to be made available to teachers and leaders. • Inclusion – a public school with room for everyone.

In addition to this. children from a non-Danish ethnical background. the school day will typically end at 2 pm. They could be practical projects based on academic themes. it will facilitate learning and contribute to increased concentration and less noise in class. they could be practice. Apart from boosting the children’s health and their physical development. For children in form levels 4 to 6 it will end at 3 pm.30 pm. the children will experience an increasingly integrated and exciting school day. Such a combination of teaching and related activities will further the children’s academic development. At the end of the school day there will still be plenty of time for leisure and sports activities. And for the oldest children the school day will end around 3.g. The extended school day should be seen in the light of children spending shorter hours in after school clubs or leisure-time care facilities at school. And the children will enhance their cooperative and social skills for their own future benefit. children who do not already utilize the leisure-time care facilities at school will also be part of the new activity lessons in school. . And new activity lessons to ensure exciting and varied school days. This is one of the cornerstones in the improvement of the public school: By transferring time and activities from after school clubs and leisure-time care facilities to actual schooling. An integrated school day with combined teaching and activity lessons will mean that the school day becomes varied and exciting. play-and–learn activities and homework assistance. – The children will get more time to work with group projects and themes that may further their general social and personal development. This may increase the number of thriving children and it will further their motivation to learn. In this way we achieve several positive things in one go: – The children will experience a school where they get more lessons and new activity lessons. From pre-school classes up to form level 3. The activity lessons serve the purpose of supporting and supplementing the teaching by providing activities that facilitate academic achievement. This will result in a higher degree of inclusion of e.14 How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school Integrated and active school days that improve the quality of the school Increasingly integrated school days mean that schooling from pre-school class to the end of form level 9 will result in longer school days allowing more classes and improved quality teaching. – During their school day the children will have more time for physical exercise.

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The teacher then saves all the words on the computer in order for the students to be able to access them on their computers at home. Today they have a lot of multi-coloured bricks which they use to practice sums. This Monday it is her turn to tell about what she has experienced during the weekend.An integrated school day for Jasmin in form level 1 An example  Jasmin is a student in form level 1. . In the Danish lesson the students are going to write down words and sentences which they think illustrate what is means to be a good friend. Therefore. She also thinks that it is nice to get to know some of the other students better. The students have a long lunch break with plenty of time to eat their lunch and to play outside. The older students organise different games in the school yard (Legepatrulje). she is excited about going to school. In this way. Jasmin’s parents can already tell that she is making progress when they read with her in the evenings. Jasmin chooses “Kongeløber” (a tag and chase school yard game) together with some of the other girls from her class. After lunch the Danish lesson continues and Jasmin becomes part of a group that has to work together on a small play to illustrate three different words about friendship. After morning assembly Jasmin has a Maths class where the focus is on addition. They begin by working together on identifying certain words that the teacher can copy onto the interactive board in the classroom. Afterwards they have to practice writing full sentences. Before lunch Jasmin has a Danish class. When she wakes up on Monday morning. Jasmin’s teacher is good at making learning fun. All children must choose a game where they exercise. she attends an activity class every Monday with other students facing similar reading challenges. she can improve her reading skills without missing out on the Danish classes. Every Monday morning all form level 1 students gather for the first half hour of school. In the beginning of form level 1 Jasmin had some challenges combining letters and sounds. she has an activity class where all students from the lower form levels are divided into groups that engage in different activities. At the moment friendship is the overall theme in both Danish and English classes and in form time (klassens tid). Before Jasmin’s school day is over. They sing and they take it in turns to tell about their experiences.

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The government suggests that a typical school week should consist of – 30 hours for pre-school class to form level to 3 – 35 hours for form levels 4-6 – 37 hours for form levels 7-9 . 4. • Increased focus on transition to upper secondary education in the final years of compulsory schooling.How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school 19 An integrated and active school day with more time for improved quality teaching and activities The teachers bring inspiration to the school and make the children want to learn. The government suggests that about one fifth of the extra time in school is spent on more teaching. This will mean an extra 800 lessons over the span of ten years of schooling compared to what is the case today. It is a matter of more time as well as better quality. The government suggests that children get an integrated and active school day with more lessons. Activity lessons with teachers and other pedagogical staff should add variety and excitement to the school day. • Involvement of students and parents and increased focus on thriving students and the social climate. It is a new way of organising schooling. The students must experience an integrated and active school day filled with exciting activities that enhance the quality of the teaching and bring life to the class room. 7 and 7.4 hours respectively (including breaks). • Inclusion – a Public school with room for everyone. exercise and homework assistance. In this way the students will experience an active and modern school day. which will lead to an improvement of the students’ academic skills. as is also the case for Natural sciences/technology. The activity lessons must support the academic curriculum as well as allow time for play. • Electives from form level 7. teachers and students must spend more time together at school. Maths and other subjects too. Improved local possibilities for co-teaching in the lower form levels and in classes with special needs. 2. • More lessons and improved quality in Practical/ creative subjects and Natural sciences/technology subjects. . This is equivalent of an average school day of 6. Every child must do some kind of exercise every day 3. strengthening of the teaching quality in the Practical/creative subjects is also needed. The extra hours are meant to strengthen the teaching quality in Danish and Maths in particular by allocating extra hours to these subjects. 5. Integrated and active school days with more time for improved quality teaching and activities 1. Better quality teaching in subjects other than that Danish and Maths • English from form level 1. However. More lessons and improved quality teaching in Danish and Maths. improved quality teaching and more time for different activities. O  ther improvements of quality and the social school climate • Increased use of it and digital learning. Today most schools have organised the working year to be 200 school days. This is not going to be changed. The integrated school day offers the possibility of having more lessons in Danish. The suggestion enables schools to increase the number of lessons from form level 1 to 9 like this: – 1 lesson per week in form levels 1 to 3 – 3 lessons per week in form levels 4 to 6 – 4 lessons per week in form level 7 – 2 lessons per week in form levels 8 to 9. English and electives. Therefore.

8 24.2 7.0 35.7 8.5 9.0 30.6 30.0 8.7 26.5 25.klasse) etc.4 25.5 24.1 21.3 21. Current.2 5. The total number of lessons in the chart is based on the current. .4 7.0 5.8 8. Form Form Form Form Form Form Form Form Form school level 1 level 2 level 3 level 4 level 5 level 6 level 7 level 8 level 9 Number of lessons* per week before improvement 18. extra lessons and the new activity lessons.7 8.0 30. A quality improvement of the Public school: More lessons per school week for more education and more activities Pre.3 28.4 *Lessons of 60 minutes – calculated inclusive of breaks.7 8.0 Extra lessons of 60 minutter 11. recommended number of lessons.9 8.0 35.0 37.6 9.0 37. The number of lessons per week is calculated based on the recommended number of lessons.0 35.6 The extra time should be spent on Additional lessons of 45 minutes** 0 1 1 1 3 3 3 4 2 2 Activity lesson of 45 minutes** 12.4 7.0 30.3 10.4 5. recommended number of lessons Activi lessons 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Pre-school Form level 1 Form level 2 Form level 3 Form level 4 Form level 5 Form level 6 Form level 7 Form level 8 Form level 9 0 Note  The figure shows the number of lessons in the integrated school day inclusive breaks.4 6.4 Number of lessons* per week after improvement 30. ** The extra time for ordinary lessons and activity lessons is calculated as lessons of 45 minutes exclusive of breaks.0 37.20 How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school A quali improvement of the Public school: More lessons and more time for activi Pre-school class (Børnehaveklasse) Form level 1 (1.4 7.5 10.

integrated school day is spent on activity lessons. but which supplement the teaching through a number of exciting activities to further the students’ academic. Lessons that differ from the standard. personal and social competencies and their general well-being. academic lessons.How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school 21 In order to renew the public school the government suggests that the majority of the extended. .

the government suggests that all students in form levels 4-9 get: – one extra Danish lesson per week to make a total of 7 lessons a week – one extra Maths lesson per week to make a total of 5 lessons a week This means that 60 per cent of the extra time for classroom teaching will be allocated to these two basic subjects. This academic focus must be clear throughout their schooling. Many students need to get a feel of things.22 How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school 1. partly due to more lessons being allocated. We need to develop new tools for mapping student qualifications in Danish and Maths – such as tests to identify dyslexia and numlexia. the Danish students’ academic level in Danish and Maths when leaving the public school is about average compared to the other OECD countries. Now the time has come for strengthening of the teaching in Danish and Maths in the remaining form levels in order to maintain and further develop the achieved results. Source  Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2006. However. Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2009.  Improved teaching and more lessons in Danish and Maths Danish and Maths are the two basic subjects taught in the public school. Progress in Danish and Maths in the lower form levels In recent years students in lower primary school have significantly improved their reading skills. Today students in form level 3 read as well as they used to do in form level 4. there is a need to strengthen the efforts made regarding form levels 4 to 9. and by making sure that all students improve. More teaching in Danish and Maths In recent years the quality of the teaching in Danish and Maths has been strengthened in the lower form levels. write and use basic arithmetic when they finish form level 2. A new team of educational consultants must ensure that the results of the project are continuously communicated to the municipalities and schools. Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS) 2007. competences and methods the students must acquire in Danish and Maths at each form level. One of the aims will be to integrate IT in the teaching to a higher degree than is the case today. the overall quality of the teaching must be strengthened. when looking into the Danish students’ academic level in form levels 4 to 6 and 7 to 9. This is the result of the international review TIMSS which is based on assessing the competence levels of form level 4 students in Maths and Natural science in 37 countries and regions. then the Danish students perform below the OECD average in reading and Maths. Therefore. As a consequence of this. we do not see a similarly positive development. They are the pre-requisite for students performing well in other subjects. The Chairmanship of the School Council writes in its 2011 report that considering the fact that Danish students on average have better educated parents compared to students in the OECD countries in general. It is the government’s objective that all children must be able to read. All in all. The teaching in Danish and Maths must be improved by offering professional development and qualification programmes to teachers. Students must participate more actively in class. The objective is that teachers must have main subject qualifications in all the subjects they teach. Improved teaching in Danish and Maths Apart from increasing the number of lessons in Danish and Maths. We therefore need more specific academic objectives for which skills. This has been the case for the past ten years. To improve the quality of the lessons in Danish and Maths. to actually touch things to learn and understand. . Danish students in form level 4 are estimated to have improved their skills in Maths equivalent of an entire form level compared to form level 4 in 1995. And by letting the higher form levels use their Maths competences for solving practical tasks. the government plans to allocate resources for a three-year trial period to be spent on a project aimed at developing new teaching methods in Danish and Maths that challenge all children. And high competence levels in Danish and Maths are crucial for the students’ ability to later complete an upper secondary education and to do well in the labour market and society in general. This has had a significant effect. And their reading results are now much higher than the European average. All for the purpose of making the subjects seem more relevant for the students. such as private financial management.

varied and inspiring. The government suggests that the integrated school day should introduce the students to many new activity lessons. This could be in the form of an outdoor school where the students collect edible ingredients from nature for a meal they will later prepare in home economics. – E xercise to further student health. Around 13 activity lessons a week in pre-school class and five to nine activity lessons a week in form levels 1 to 9. In the lower form levels activity lessons may be used for playing and learning activities. The primary contents of the activity lesson are: – Activities that support and supplement classroom teaching in order to facilitate academic achievement. social and academic development may also take place in the activity lessons. The general development of the children The activity lessons may also be used to support the general development of the students. Examples could be considerations regarding how to plan family budgets. there will still be plenty of time for sports and leisure activities at the end of the school day. ball games etc. or it could be dramatisations of historical events etc. The activity lessons may also be used for practical projects where students work on applying theory to practice. The government suggests that the municipalities and the schools get maximum independence to plan the activity lessons for purposes they find relevant in relation to local conditions. All students must exercise every day.  Activity lessons must result in active school days with improved quality teaching It is the government´s wish to make school days exciting. exercises and homework assistance. Therefore. Furthermore. Exercise An obvious way of using the activity lessons will be for daily exercise. And for the oldest students the school day will end around 3. Homework help could also be specific teaching projects for students with problems in relation to reading. In the higher form levels company visits and visits to upper secondary schools could be arranged in order to prepare students for their post-compulsory education. For students in form levels 4 to 6 it will end at 3 pm. Examples could be students who produce short film clips that explain Maths to their classmates or students who construct a small greenhouse. all schools must offer homework assistance as part of their activity lesson programme. Relevant activities could be student mediating and other student to student activities. for example by inviting a local trainer to be a guest trainer in a particular sports discipline. bullying and the social climate in the school and in the classroom could be introduced. and they may prepare for adult life by being introduced to practical. The activity lessons also offer the opportunity to bring the world outside the school into the classroom. Or they could be activities that support the students’ academic achievement such as the games “Letter Battle” “Word Feud” and “Word Dart”.30 pm. well-being and concentration. understanding how insurance policies work. The integrated school day will typically end at 2 pm for pre-school class and up to form level 3. how to pay bills etc. In the higher form levels the activity lessons may be used for work on the students’ readiness for further education. In the lower form levels playing and learning activities will be introduced. The lessons may also be used for homework help where students are offered assistance with difficult calculations. Mentor arrangements between higher form level students and students from post-compulsory education institutions may also be established. The school may also choose to cooperate with local sports clubs. However. In this way. the government suggests that students should be introduced to a new type of lessons. . Examples could be focus on developing student co-operation skills. schools are obliged to ensure that students Suggestions for the use of activity lessons as a part of the integrated school day: Activity lessons must be seen as an extension to the academic curriculum. They may be used to give students time to practice and rehearse what they have learned in class. real life problems. the so-called activity lessons. This makes students apply their knowledge from the different subjects they have been taught to real life practice situations. – A  ctivities to further general student development including social and personal development. Or they may visit an auto repair shop where they are given practical tasks. The schools must ensure that the quality of the activity lessons remains high and that the activity lessons to a high extent reflect and interact with class room teaching. Activities could be traditional physical activities such as a morning run. spelling or Maths.How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school 23 2. Progress appraisals between adult and student regarding the student’s personal. The form and content of the activity lessons are intended to revitalize the public school and influence the way students experience the individual school day. The students may visit companies and further education institutions. In such lessons work on internal class relations. Examples could be practical projects based on academic themes.

24 How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school .

The schools must take advantage of whatever formation and grouping of classes best fit the different types of activities. . The activity lessons could be planned across classes and form levels. This could either be as part of the activity lesson programme or in other ways. The activity lessons may be planned and executed by teachers. In order to support the quality of the activity lessons.g. other pedagogical staff or staff with other types of qualifications. a development project will be initiated. Physical exercise will further student health and physical development as well as support focus and concentration in class. students’ all-round development and physical exercise. It is the responsibility of the individual municipality to decide how this co-operation is going to be organised. motivation and well-being of the students. The government encourages even closer co-operation between schools and local sports clubs.How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school 25 get physical exercise every day. In this way new and valuable competences will be put into action during the school day. E. The purpose is to provide the schools with relevant information on how the activity lessons may be used to best support the learning. It may depend on which profile the local council finds should characterise the activity lessons at each form level. And together with the teachers the other pedagogical staff may assist in creating the framework for a harmonious school life. The length of the activity lessons could vary from ten minutes to a full school day depending on the planned activity. the other pedagogical staff may have a particular role in connection with work on student relations.

. In this way other pedagogical staff or other professional staff members engage in instruction tasks in co-operation with the teacher. but obtain closer contact with a professional adult. Co-teaching may be practiced by using teaching assistants. provided that the schools in return increase the number of co-teaching classes. For higher form levels co-teaching should only be an option if special conditions require so. The students get shorter school days. particularly what concerns Danish and Maths.  Improved local opportunities for co-teaching The government suggests that the municipalities have the possibility of allowing schools to decrease the number of activity lessons for up to one year in one or more cases. For form levels 4 to 9 special conditions are required for exemption.26 How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school 3. This makes it possible to take better care of the individual student. The exemption possibilities apply to the lower form levels (pre-school class and form levels 1 to 3) only. general development and progress of the students are best obtained by introducing co-teaching rather than longer school days. Exemption may be given to the lower form levels in cases where it is estimated that fulfilling academic objectives and facilitating the well-being.

visual arts home economics and physical education. music. music. wood and metalwork.* Before 3 6 6 9 9 8 5 2 2 After 3 6 7 9 9 9 5 2 2 Note  The time is calculated as lessons of 45 minutes exclusive of breaks. The government suggests that the recommended number of lessons is increased for the subjects listed below: – English will be introduced in form levels 1 and 2 (One lesson per week) – Certain Practical/Creative subjects in form levels 3 to 6 will get one extra lesson per week. The sooner children start learning a foreign language the better they will master it. – Electives will be introduced already in form level 7 (Two lessons per week) English in form level 1 In order to manage in a global world and to stay updated on the internet. The Practical/Creative subjects including Design. . Practical/ Creative subjects. The chart only includes the subjects that will undergo a change in the number of lessons. Natural sciences/ technology and electives More classes and improved teaching in the core subjects Danish and Maths form the basis for all children reaching their full potential. * Practical/creative subjects include: Design. Sources  Executive order for the number of lessons in the public school for the school years 2006/7 to 2010/11 and consecutive years. design. Adding up the lessons will therefore not get a sum equivalent of the total number of lessons per week. improving the quality standards of a number of other subjects is needed too. A quality improvement of the Public school: The extra lessons when distributed on form levels and subjects Subject Improvement Form Form Form Form Form Form Form Form Form level 1 level 2 level 3 level 4 level 5 level 6 level 7 level 8 level 9 Extra lessons 1 1 1 3 3 3 4 2 2 Danish Before 11 10 9 6 6 6 6 6 6 After 11 10 9 7 7 7 7 7 7 Maths Before 5 5 5 4 4 4 4 4 4 After 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 Natural sciences/Tech. Before 1 1 2 2 2 2 - - After 1 1 2 3 3 2 - - - English Before - - 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 After 1 1 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 Electives Before - - - - - - - 2 2 After - - - - - - 2 2 2 Practical/Creative subj. visual arts. However.How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school 27 4. The current number of lessons (before) refer to the recommended number of lessons. home economics and physical education.  Strengthening English. wood and metalwork. it has become more important than ever to master English. – Natural sciences/technology in form levels 4 and 5 will get one extra lesson a week.

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music. The government also suggests that the municipalities are given the opportunity to offer more electives than is the case today. French. On top of that a number of activity lessons may be used for combining natural science classes with play activities and excursions to companies and science entertainment parks for children and young people. The electives may also be organised in categories where the overall subject could be languages. At the same time they may contribute to keeping the students motivated and interested in learning new things. a builder or a social and health care worker. you need knowledge of natural sciences. . Improved teaching and more lessons in natural sciences/technology Natural science subjects give the students valuable and useful knowledge about nature and the environment and how animal and human bodies work. the government wants to convert design. metal and technology workshops and layout of websites. the government suggests that all teaching in English – which today starts in form level 3 – is moved forward by recommending one English lesson per week in form levels 1 and 2. Both with regard to managing everyday life and further education. Therefore. Such electives could be astronomy. media. Furthermore. Improved teaching and more lessons in the Practical/creative subjects The practical/creative subjects must play a part throughout the schooling in order to support the academic development and the other subjects in the Public school. natural sciences. en engineer or a mechanic. The government also suggests that internationalisation in the public school is strengthened by allowing the municipalities to introduce international programmes and international primary and lower secondary schools. a number of experiments will be introduced to disclose the effects of practice based learning – both in relation to Danish and Maths and in order to support other subjects such as the practical/creative subjects. Natural science subjects play an important role in the formative development of students. wood and metalwork into one new subject – Crafts and design. home economics and physical education) is increased by one lesson a week in form levels 3 and 6.g. technology or innovation. Electives from form level 7 Electives contribute to giving students insight into new subjects and how to practise different fields of interest. wood and metalwork. visual arts. Technology gives insight into the function of machines and robots. The government suggests that the recommended number of lessons for practical/creative subjects (including design.How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school 29 And most children already get introduced to English from a very early age. Whether you want to become a doctor. home economics and auto mechanics. We recommend two lessons a week for electives – and that they become compulsory. and they are very motivated to learn the language. Today students in form levels 8 and 9 have the option of at least two electives a week. wood and metal work. The government suggests that electives are introduced in form level 7. And the subjects must encourage students to develop their creativity. The practical/creative subjects must clarify how students can apply knowledge obtained from other subjects to practical and usable products. Therefore. e. the government suggests that the recommended number of lessons in natural sciences/technology in form levels 4 and 5 is to be increased from two to three lessons a week. To contribute to increasing the quality of the practical/ creative subjects as well as the other subjects in the public school.

Twice a month the form level 4 students have outdoor school. All the green waste from the plants the students have collected has to be placed in the compost container. When they get back to the school. they have to make a bonfire and cook dinner in pots over the fire. Their home economics teacher provides some extra ingredients. An example is when his class combines the subjects Maths and “Crafts and Design” to calculate and construct a compost container for the school yard. In this way what he learned in his Maths class makes sense. After dinner they have a break and then Mathias and his friends have a Maths class in the woods. They often do that in order to get some fresh air and exercise. Mathias is particularly pleased to experience that what he learns in school can actually be used in real life. This means that the entire school day is spent outdoors. While they eat they talk about the origins of the food they keep in their refrigerators at home. They have to test different simple methods to estimate the height of tree and they have to work out a smart method to count all the trees in the wood. Later the students have to examine what happens during the composting process. Mathias thinks. Afterwards the students are divided into groups that have to collect ingredients for a meal.An integrated school day for Mathias in form level 4 An example  Mathias is a student in form level 4 and he actively participates in class. Today is Wednesday. They walk to the woods and back again. The school day begins when Søren – their teacher in Natural sciences and technology – tells the students about how many edible things are actually available in the Danish nature. . They go to the woods and they may also visit the school’s kitchen garden. but not an ordinary Wednesday.

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During the coming years.  Other improvements of quality and the social climate The government suggests a number of initiatives that may contribute to the improvement of the public school: Examples could be specific methods and tools for organising the work of school boards and parental involvement and special focus areas regarding how to positively engage vulnerable families in the education of their children. Student and parental involvement and increased focus on thriving students To strengthen the involvement of parents and students in the development of the school. They strengthen the students’ social and academic competences and contribute to getting students to thrive in school. An example of this could be auto-correcting written digital tests in selected subjects. Quiet classrooms. The active involvement of students will influence their motivation.32 How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school 5. well-being and benefit of the teaching. the government has allocated a sum of DKK 500 million from 2012 to 2015. the government will ensure the increased use of IT in connection with the final examinations. However. This includes a stable wireless network with sufficient capacity and computer access for students who cannot bring their own computers. good friendships and a good school environment are a prerequisite for the students’ ability and desire to learn. The interest group and member authority of Danish municipalities) that the municipalities must provide the infrastructure needed towards 2014. The money should primarily be spent on increasing the use of IT and ensuring better use of digital tools in the public school. the government has made an agreement with Local Government Denmark (LGDK. but is fully integrated in the teaching process. Therefore. Moreover. We also see monitoring student well-being and development in the individual schools as a key element in the quality development process undertaken by schools and local governments. the schools must receive advice on how to work with learning environments and what makes students thrive in order to minimise disruptive noise and support the social and academic development of the students. Parental and student involvement Parents who actively participate in their child’s learning process and who backup the school play a significant role in student learning and academic achievement. Student to student homework cafés where students work in pairs and assist friends who are academically challenged have proven efficient. these qualities are indispensable for teachers providing good education. Student ability to actively contribute in class and to assist in the process of creating a sound learning environment in school must be facilitated by communicating knowledge and experience on how to engage students in the planning and execution of teaching and social activities – and by enabling the teachers to use interesting teaching methods. Increased use of IT and digital learning The use of IT will strengthen the students’ academic qualifications and prepare them for the future demands of education and job opportunities. . As a part of the common public sector digitalisation strategy. mentor arrangements and student counseling. the government wants to ensure that digital qualifications and digital classroom support are integrated in all subjects and activities in the public school. the joint responsibility of students for their friends and their mutual learning will increase by strengthening student to student activities. Similarly. The government suggests that an improved thriving of students in the public school becomes one of the key performance indicators for the public school. The use of IT is also intended to facilitate increased focus on planning teaching and enabling more efficient utilisation of resources in the public school. To advance the use of IT in the public school. Furthermore. the new team of educational consultants must communicate good practice for how parents and students may contribute to the development of the public school and support an integrated school day. increased and qualified use of IT in the classroom also requires that IT is not considered as an isolated discipline.

The examinations influence how the teaching is organised and how hard the students work with the different subjects. . but also the start of further education. This would enable teachers and student counselors in the Youth Education Guidance and Counselling to systematically take care of students who risk not being considered ready for education.How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school 33 Increased focus on the transition to post-compulsory education in the final years of public school It is the government’s objective that 95 per cent of all young people complete at least one post-compulsory education. and who therefore need to further develop their personal. To reach this goal. the government suggests that students are assessed for further education readiness by the end of form level 8. as well as information on the job market. objective criteria for what it takes to be considered ready for further education. social or academic competencies. In the process of strengthening the students’ readiness for further education and their knowledge of the job market. the students in the public school must be better prepared for their post-compulsory education – both in relation to their choice of education and their ability to complete it. the government encourages using activity lessons for providing information on further and vocational education. The Advanced Leaving Examination of the public school must reflect that form level 9 not only marks the end of the public school. This requires a far more focused effort on working with student readiness for further education in order for all students to be considered ready by the end of form level 9. The government suggests that more weight is put on clear. Moreover. Denmark is a knowledge and production society and we need young people who have acquired either a vocational or other upper secondary education in order to offer a variety of competences.

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the government will focus on the transition process from the public school to post-compulsory education and success rates for completion.4 per cent to 96.How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school 35 Therefore. In this way knowledge about inclusion will be made available to the different professionals related to the public school. – F  ollow up on the transition to increased inclusion. The costs of special needs programmes have built up. The government suggests that the final examinations are renamed “Form level 9 examinations” in order to stress that they do not represent the end to an educational programme. Inclusion – a public school with room for everyone It is a core value in the public school that all children are invited to be part of the community. . however. This development should be seen in the light of the fact that there is no documentation to prove that students who have been segregated for special needs schools and special needs classes obtain better academic results than they would have done in the public school. still be special education programmes for children whose needs cannot be met within the framework of the integrated school day in a mainstream school class. Inclusion – a transition of the public school The public school segregates far too many students from mainstream classroom teaching. Activity lessons at these levels may be used for preparation of the students’ further education. The school day will allow all students the necessary support while also maintaining a close relationship with friends. and according to the most recent overview it amounts to 30 per cent of the total costs of the public school. There will. or it could be short term work experience. – T  he follow-up group for Inclusion.0 per cent of the total number of students in the public school. The integrated school day will provide a framework for organising the school day in a way that challenges students who have strong academic competencies and those who do not. In recent years the number of students who have been referred to special needs education has increased considerably. The team has to assist the municipalities in preparing a holistic and professional transition into inclusion. – T  he financial resources allocated for academically challenged students and special needs students. The government and Local Government Denmark have agreed that by 2015 the number of students who will be included in mainstream classroom teaching must be increased from 94. group tests and interdisciplinary tests as well as project and product oriented tests. by strengthening the quality of the teaching in general and by providing support for the individual student together with his friends. – T  he National Resource Centre for Inclusion and Special Needs Education. Or it could be mentor programmes where students from post-compulsory education schools share experiences with students from the public school. In connection with the rate adjustment pool agreement for 2012. schools and leisure time care facilities. and it must ensure that more students leave form level 9 with sufficient qualifications to complete a post-compulsory education. a number of initiatives have been undertaken to support the reorganisation process in the municipalities: – New legislation regarding the inclusive public school. Examples could be visits to vocational schools. In order to meet this challenge. The government’s suggestion for improving the public school is aimed at all students from pre-school class to form level 9. – D  evelopment of inclusion initiatives. The government has conducted a change in the legislation concerning increased inclusion with a new demarcation of the special needs programme that provides a more flexible framework for the schools when they plan inclusive teaching initiatives. The extra number of lessons in the integrated school day also allows more time for co-operation with post-compulsory education institutions and local businesses – particularly in the higher form levels. All children must increase their potential through inclusion. They have also agreed that the students’ academic qualifications and their well-being must be maintained or further strengthened. the government suggests that the final examinations get a focus that resembles real life and a modern format which includes the use of IT. The government has established a new resource centre for inclusion and special needs education in order to support and qualify the transition into increased inclusion in the municipalities. The government supports two campaigns that are intended to start a local dialogue about how to guarantee that we get an academically strong public school for everyone. – I  nformation and attitude campaigns for parents and students. The government has made an agreement with all Danish municipalities that more students must be included in ordinary class room teaching. The government has established a national team of advisors on how to implement inclusion in day care facilities. upper secondary schools and businesses. resources have been allocated for the development of new types of digital learning and pedagogical instruments for practicing inclusion. And to further the use of IT based tools to strengthen differentiated teaching. The Minister for Children and Education has established a follow-up group for inclusion in the public school that must ensure that the key stakeholders support and discuss the objectives for an inclusive public school. In connection with the 95 per cent objective and a future proposal for a flexible education programme.

An integrated school day for Frederik in form level 8 An example  Frederik. He plays on the school team in basketball. production and branding/marketing. It is great that they have a new coach who is actually a First Team player in the local club. The distance adds points to his score in the school’s cycling competition where all students compete on who rides most kilometers. His class teacher has a suggestion for how they can work together to ensure that Frederik undergoes a positive academic development in order for him to become ready for an upper secondary education in due time. Frederik has become increasingly interested in the Danish classes after understanding the significance of storytelling in relation to a product. Frederik cycles to the college for commercial upper secondary education. At that time he was told that he needed to take a more independent approach in relation to his home work and working methods. gets the best start to the day if he gets a proper meal. who is a student in form level 8. Before Frederik goes to visit the commercial upper secondary school. Biology and Maths. . All results are collected digitally and form levels 7 to 9 (10) at the school are in turns responsible for producing the weekly statistics. A month ago he received an assessment of his readiness for further education. But before that he has classes in Physics/chemistry. During this class he talks briefly with his class teacher. He also appreciates the opportunity to have a say regarding some of the subjects on his timetable. he participates in a homework help class. They practice every Tuesday and Thursday after school hours. He has chosen an innovation theme with electives that include design. They have to discuss how alcohol is absorbed by the body and differences in male and female metabolism. The students have to calculate weight. Today is Thursday and the school day will end with Frederik visiting the local commercial upper secondary school which has a mentoring arrangement with his school. He is going back to his school after the visit. For the time being the classes are taught as an interdisciplinary subject on health and alcohol. He therefore appreciates the school’s breakfast service for the students in form levels 7 to 9. They also have to calculate the impact of reaction times in relation to stopping distances. volume and alcohol percentage in different drinks. And finally they have to initiate fermentative processes which they can later check for data to be processed on their computers.

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The teachers. Improved professional development of teachers and other pedagogical staff. At the same time. 3. the quality of parent-teacher relations and improved possibilities for inclusion of all students. The improvement of the public school also means fewer regulations. Team of educational consultants to support the focus on quality in the public school. Governmental allocation of DKK 60 million from 2013 to 2015 for professional development of leaders in the public school. The principals in the public school also play an important part in the process of improving the public school. The government will allocate DKK 1000 million for the years 2014 to 2020 to improve the professional standards of teachers and other pedagogical staff in the public school. It is the government’s objective that by 2020 all students in the public school should be taught by teachers who have main subject qualifications. And they must facilitate a school climate characterised by thriving students and staff and close parental co-operation. The 45. As a consequence of this. other pedagogical staff and the school principals are responsible for the improvement of the public school The government’s proposal for an improvement of the public school aims at increasing the students’ academic qualifications. The teachers’ qualifications and their enthusiasm are crucial for providing good quality teaching for the students. other pedagogical staff and principals. They must have the best possible educational background and high competence levels in order to teach students and lead the public school.000 teachers who work in the public school hold the key to the success of a general improvement. Enhanced research in the fields of pedagogy and teaching methods to be made available to teachers and leaders. more local independence and thus a more extensive leadership role to undertake. the development of the public school must rely on a high degree of academic qualifications among the school’s professional staff. Improved professional development and integration of knowledge of good teaching 1.How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school 39 Improved professional development and integration of knowledge of good teaching Teachers and school principals are the motivators in the public school. Highly competent teachers and school principals have vital influence on student results. 5. 2. close co-operation between teachers and other pedagogical staff will create an increased focus on student development. They must show directions for the school and demonstrate pedagogical leadership to support the work of their teachers. 6. 4. the government will introduce a number of initiatives to raise the competence levels of the teachers. Improved career paths for teachers. New school council for child learning. Therefore. .

issues such as collective follow-up on the objective and planning of focused competence improvements will be addressed. – The teachers must increase their competence levels regarding the integrated use of IT as a pedagogical tool. It is the government’s ambition that teachers obtain main subject qualifications in all subjects they teach.40 How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school 1. – A new model for admission to teacher education programmes will be introduced.  Improved professional development for teachers and other pedagogical staff As a part of the general improvement of the public school. where different pedagogical professions must interact. The intention is that teachers only teach subjects in which they have obtained specific teaching qualifications. The objective is that teachers in the public school only teach the subjects in which they have acquired teaching qualifications. new forms of learning in the public school and the need for IT support to facilitate learning in the public school. Teachers who have in-depth knowledge of their subjects provide better quality teaching both pedagogically and academically. . – As a norm. the government agreed with The Liberal Party of Denmark. or who have obtained similar qualifications from relevant professional development education. The funds must supplement the municipal financing for raising the competence levels of teachers and other pedagogical staff in the public school. Reform of teacher education On 1 June 2012. With this objective. Reform of the Bachelor programme in Social Education on its way The Social Education study programme must be updated in order to further improve the qualifications of social educators (the pedagogical staff referred to in this text) and thus increase their skills in supporting playing and learning activities for children at all levels: From nursery and kindergarten to the public school and after school care facilities. the government intends to intensify the current efforts made to increase the professional development of teachers and other pedagogical staff. In this way students will primarily be taught by teachers who have high academic qualifications in the subjects they teach. As a basis for the competence improvements. – The public school must play a more significant role in teacher education programmes. one of which must be Danish or Maths. – The current detail regulation regarding which disciplines student teachers must cover should be replaced by specific goals for which qualifications student teachers must acquire. It will be based on centrally agreed admission criteria in combination with interviews – The tuition at teacher education programmes must to a higher degree be based on practice relevant and evidence-based knowledge. The state will allocate DKK 600 million for the period 2012-2014 and DKK 400 million for the period 2017-2020. The Conservative People’s Party and The Danish People’s Party that a new teacher education programme should be developed. it is the government’s objective that by 2020 all students in the public school should be taught by teachers who have either obtained main subject qualifications from their teacher education. At the same time. Therefore. Some main elements in the reform are: – The qualification standards for student teachers and academic staff at teacher education colleges must be raised. In the government discussions with Local Government Denmark (KL) on main subject qualification standards in all schools. the government highlights the significance of the teachers’ academic qualifications and continuous professional development in relation to successful student learning. The ambition to only have teachers with main subject qualifications to teach all subjects must be included in The Public School Act. The purpose is to ensure that the teacher education programmes remain flexible enough to continuously adapt to the subjects taught in the public school – without depending on legislative amendments. – The teachers’ basic academic qualifications must be improved significantly. the government plans to contribute a funding of DKK 1000 million in the period 2014 to 2020 to top up the current municipal budgets for professional development of teachers and other pedagogical staff. And the government wants it to be a systematic focus area for schools and municipalities. the government and Local Government Denmark (KL) will map and analyse the current level of professional development in the municipalities and prepare a status for the main subject qualification standards. And so will the possibility of municipalities taking a flexible approach to reach the objective in case of specific local challenges. Teaching practice must be assessed by grading and the final examination projects of the professional bachelor programme must to a higher degree reflect aspects of practical relevance. the student teachers must acquire teaching qualifications in three subjects. It should comprise all subjects and form levels and it should be implemented at the level of each municipality. The government will discuss specific operationalisation and implementation issues regarding full main subject qualification standards with Local Government Denmark (KL) in connection with the planned negotiations on local government financing for 2014. The analysis must also elucidate the opportunities for targeting the professional development of teachers by taking a starting point in the teachers’ key competencies. The objective is to develop an attractive education with a strong academic profile that matches the needs of the public school.

. function as beacons. The development of the quality standards in the public school is closely connected to increased focus on the teaching profession being considered an interesting career path. The government also wishes to incorporate the best teachers in the new team of educational consultants in order to support the quality improvement of the public school at national level. The public school must provide an up-to-date working environment with good opportunities for development. different career opportunities in the public school should be developed and made visible.  Better career paths for teachers We must retain highly skilled teachers in the public school and we must find better at using their different competences. Improved career paths could mean that teachers who have acquired a particularly high level of competence within a certain area. the government plans to invite Local Government Denmark (KL) and The Danish Union of Teachers to co-operate on a solution for improved career paths in the public school. supervisors and co-operation partners for educational consultants to a higher degree than is the case today. Consequently. the government suggests that the public school should offer interesting career paths for teachers who wish to further develop their professional potential. At the same time. To enable this.How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school 41 2.

and to make the most of the new framework and opportunities. In its 2012 report. This includes professional co-operation between members of staff at the school. The integrated school day is to be seen as a new way of organising schooling and it will mean a considerable change to the roles of municipalities and school principals.  More professional development for school principals The practical implementation of the quality improvement of the public school will be a huge task for the school principals and the municipalities. – Strengthening of the pedagogical leadership of the school principals – An upgrade of school principals and municipal managers to enable them to navigate through objectives and evaluations and to use the professional development of teachers and other pedagogical staff to reach the school objectives. the Chairmanship for the School Council recommends that school principals to an increased extent focus on improving the quality of the teaching as a part of their pedagogical leadership task. A successful implementation of the improved quality standards in the public school will depend on to which degree the local governments and the school principals manage to lead change. And requires that the school principal should present objectives and a clear direction for the didactic and pedagogical work and for the relevant competence development of the staff. The government recommends allocating a further DKK 60 million from 2013 to 2015 for the professional competence development of leaders in the public school and municipal managers alike. The competence development must be directed towards: – The exact management tasks and challenges related to the planning of an integrated school day. The focus of the professional development should be on pedagogical management and the actual implementation of the initiatives to increase the professional standards in the public school.42 How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school 3. All experience tells us that successful change processes require unambiguous and competent leadership. .

How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school 43 .

practice and in teaching methods The government has allocated DKK 320 million annually from 2013 to 2015 for an evidence-based development of Academy Programmes and Professional BAs. Schools which face serious challenges may need specific advice and assistance to re-establish quality. Such obstacles could also mean that important measures to increase quality standards do not have maximum impact. The day care facilities must stimulate the children’s desire to learn and we must ensure a coherent transition from day care facilities to primary and lower. And a closer dialogue must be established between the university colleges and the schools as beneficiaries of new knowledge. the team should be composed of the best teachers and school principals. The educational consultants must provide advice that is adapted to the needs of the individual schools.  Improved research in pedagogical theory. The team members should have the role of advisors on quality development for the individual municipalities and their schools. in order to inspire the teachers in schools to do more of the things that work.  New council for child learning There is a need to take a coherent approach to child learning from birth to the age of 16. DKK 268 million must be allocated for the university colleges in order to enhance the professional development of teachers and other pedagogical staff and thus improve the teaching in the public school. the university colleges must develop and communicate the type of knowledge that is necessary in order to meet the challenges of the public school. including teacher education and social education programmes. it is very important not solely to focus on the legislation or the quality improvement instruments in connection with the implementation of a new practice in the public school. Through extra funding.  A new team of educational consultants The government recommends that a national team of 40 educational consultants be established. 5. Increased focus on sufficiently preparing the people responsible for the execution of change is needed too. A new forum will be established to ensure an improved effect and coordination of development and research activities related to all education.secondary education. including the public school.44 How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school 4. while the most successful schools may need advice on certain focus areas. The government recommends that the current School Council should be extended with representatives from the day care facilities and that it is renamed Council for Child Learning. the Bilingual Task Force and the Inclusion Development programme in the Ministry of Children and Education. Therefore. In co-operation with primary and lower secondary schools and universities. a major challenge is often to get things to change in real life. The team of learning consultants must be established by merging and extending the current education adviser scheme. tools and knowledge. such as enhanced co-operation among teachers. the university colleges will get a new and more specific role and better opportunities for acquiring knowledge related to the public school. Among others. 6. . That is why an improvement of the public school must be facilitated by consultancy and counseling provided among others by the new team of educational consultants. The educational consultants must engage in dialogue with the management teams and assist in distributing knowledge of the best teaching methods. It is not unusual that considerable transformation processes may face practical difficulties in real life that delay – or even prevent – change execution. The actual implementation is crucial for an improvement of the public school When implementing new tools and instruments through new legislation.

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46 How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school .

collective direction and a high level of ambition for everyone in their common efforts to develop the quality standards in the public school. and the social school climate and the well-being of students and staff should be strengthened through respect for professional knowledge and practice The three objectives reflect the government’s overall vision for the public school. explicit objectives that can set a clear. Objectives which may be commonly shared by the entire public school. The recommendations from The Chairmanship of the School Council are to some extent based on positive experience from Ontario in Canada. International experience shows that school systems which set a few. The objectives are in line with the objectives for “New Nordic School” (to be explained in the following pages).  Three clear national objectives for the development of the public school There is a need for a few. . national objectives and allow the municipalities and schools more independence to fulfill them. common level of ambition for the development of the public school. It is crucial. we should focus less on detailed regulation and process management. clear. best improve their results. national objectives for the public school combined with key performance indicators. We must have trust in the public school. 1. create a common platform and direction for the work on quality improvement at all levels. The government suggests three national objectives: – The public school must challenge all students to reach their full potential – The public school must decrease the significance of social background in relation to academic achievement – The public school should enjoy trust and respect. where considerably improved results have been achieved by setting a few.How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school 47 Clear objectives for the development of the public school and increased local independence The Danish public school represents a powerful Danish tradition for local autonomy. that all primary and lower secondary schools ensure that students acquire the right qualifications and that they thrive in school. The government intends to present a few. Three clear national objectives for the development of the public school. National objectives set a clear direction and a high. In its report for 2012. The government intends to carry on this tradition. S  implification of rules and regulations and increased local independence for municipalities and schools. The Chairmanship also recommends that continuous follow up should be introduced in order to measure progress in relation to meeting the objectives. explicit development objectives. Imposing regulatory measures on the municipalities and the schools on how to plan the development. The three national objectives are intended to complement the government’s ambition that 95 per cent of all young people should complete upper-secondary education. however. is not what makes a good primary and lower-secondary school. but more on objectives and results. 2. and they have been discussed with the partnership for the public school. This is due to the fact that clear objectives Clear objectives for the development of the public school and increased local independence 1. The Chairmanship for the School Council recommends that a few. clear and ambitious political development objectives should be defined. Therefore.

simple and measurable. other pedagogical staff and teachers of upper-secondary education should rely on each other to get a deeper understanding of their own pedagogical practice and that of each other. and whether it is necessary to make adjustments to the efforts made. And access will be limited to whatever indicators may be necessary to support quality development at a given level.  T he public school should enjoy trust and respect. 3. The key performance indicators are clear. On the basis of the national objectives. supplementary indicators will be made available to the municipalities. The management tool must give users at different levels easy access to relevant data and targeted performance indicators. as access to data will be targeted individual user groups only.  T he public school must decrease the significance of social background in relation to academic achievement: Key performance indicators: The number of students obtaining poor results in reading and Maths in the national tests must be decreased from one year to the next. as is the case today. including the share of students in school who start and complete post compulsory-education. Just as the initiative to improve the public school. The local governments may supplement the national objectives with local development objectives. Key performance indicators: Increase in the quality of the school climate and the well-being of students. And the government intends to initiate co-operation with Local Government Denmark (KL) on developing an IT based management tool based on existing data. upper secondary education and after-school and club facilities in a network on how to strengthen the quality and consistency of child and youth facilities from birth to age 18. the primary future focus will be on creating a basis for quality development at the schools and it must be considered part of the work of the educational consultants. Co-operation on “New Nordic School” The government has launched the initiative “New Nordic School” as a supportive perspective on the quality improvement of the public school. . the government. follow up procedures on quality and on the fulfillment of key performance indicators must be conducted each year. The government also intends to change the current national quality supervision system into taking a starting point in the nationally defined key performance indicators and quality indicators. This should be made available to primary and lower-secondary education in a user-friendly form. Based on data and knowledge about results. The key performance indicators will not lead to increased publication of test results.  Two success key performance indicators: At least 80 per cent of the students must obtain good results in reading and Maths in the national tests. And that they –across professional borders and types of institutions – work together on obtaining the target of all children reaching their full potential. The purpose of “New Nordic School” is to assist teachers. And to share knowledge of methods that have proven to work. The government has introduced operational key performance indicators for reaching the national objectives that will make it possible to follow up on the development. “New Nordic School” is based on the idea that pedagogical practice in day care facilities and in the education system should reflect knowledge on methods that have actually proven to have an effect. In “New Nordic School” the public school co-operates with day care facilities. The number of high performance students in Danish and Maths must increase from one year to the next. Examples could be local development objectives in relation to schools with particular quality challenges. These must be based on an annual status report from The Ministry for Children and Education.  T he public school must challenge all students to reach their full potential. or schools with high quality standards that need to be further challenged. the municipalities and other public school stakeholders must each year engage in dialogue on the performance of the public school.48 How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school Three national objectives for the development of the public school 1. other pedagogical staff and school principals in their work on learning activities that make children reach their full potential. Thus. Municipalities and school principals must get instruments to monitor quality development. The annual report on school quality standards that municipalities are obliged to produce must be simplified and updated. In the municipalities. the national objectives and the operational key performance indicators form the basis of a dialogue between schools and school principals on the development of the quality and follow up on results. and the social school climate and the well-being of students and staff should be strengthened through respect for professional knowledge and practice. To support the follow up work on key performance indicators and quality development conducted by the municipalities and schools. 2. Teachers. “New Nordic School” must support the effect of the improvement of the public school by ensuring that all relevant professional groups take ownership of the objective.

This is in order to strengthen the local management influence in the municipalities and in the individual schools. Therefore. leaders. 61 per cent of the principals think that governmental and municipal regulation of school activity was unnecessarily bureaucratic. among other things. The result is that the municipalities and the leaders must spend a considerable amount of time on dealing with formalities. – Simplification of school-leaving examinations. governmental regulations that prevent schools from engaging in flexible co-operation with other schools. and are thus prevented from utilizing resources in the best possible way. what is expected of the individual student at each form level. Science Subjects and Practical/Creative Subjects) will be eliminated. among other things. In a survey on management conditions for Danish school principals from 2011. . The “Common Objectives” for Danish and Maths must be simplified by the end of 2013. Inflexible rules prevent the schools from utilising resources in the best possible way. For the students in such classes that would mean a shorter working week compared to other students. To a higher extent than today. – Simplification of the “Common Objectives” which.How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school 49 2. Maths and English (and other core subjects) while giving the individual school the possibility to individually assess in which other subjects individual student plans would be relevant for the individual student. The rule of a maximum number of seven hours a day in the lower form levels will be eliminated and replaced by a provision that over an entire school year the average school week must not exceed 40 hours. The current demand that a meeting should be held prior to exemption will be eliminated. – Simplification of the annual municipal quality standard reports for the public school – Increased access to joint leadership for primary and lower-secondary education and day care and after school facilities. Several of these simplifications will also benefit the independence of the teachers. Such rules limit the room for leadership in the municipalities and for the individual school principal. – Moreover. Based on experiences from the changes to “Common Objectives” for Danish and Maths. the “Common Objectives” for the remaining subjects will be simplified before school start 2014. in order to enable teachers to better apply the common objectives in their teaching. – Elimination of a fixed maximum number of lessons per day. day care facilities and libraries. include objectives for teaching in individual subjects and indicate form level objectives for the curriculum in each form level. Examples of simplification could be to continue the use of individual student plans in Danish. Future management of the number of lessons in the public school – Rules will be defined for the minimum length of the school week at each form level. This is in order to live up to the objective that teachers should spend as much time as possible with the students.  Simplification of regulations and increased independence of municipalities and schools The government intends to allow the municipalities more independence to plan the work in the public school. It should be made easier for the municipalities to organise joint leadership functions for small schools and day care facilities. In consequence. parents and students. guidelines for the recommended number of lessons at each form level will be defined. – The municipalities may grant an exemption to individual schools so that they to convert activity lessons into co-teaching in the lower form levels and in classes with special needs. The existing minimum number of lessons for the three subject areas (Subjects in the Humanities. – Simplified control of the recommended number of lessons for the public school. – Simplification of rules for exemption from classes in Christian studies. And to make it clear to teachers. Today there are. for the total annual number of lessons and for the annual number of lessons in Danish and Maths. which have been allowed to try different ways of working with individual student plans. An analysis of the possibility of having better and fewer examinations with less use of external examiners will be initiated. the public school must be governed by common objectives and less by rules and fixed procedures. the government suggests a simplification of state regulatory practices: – Simplification of the individual student plans based on a 2013 evaluation of a pilot project conducted in 56 municipalities. the government intends to decrease the degree of governmental regulation on primary and lower secondary education.

Gentofte/Gladsaxe. The local governments will be authorized to decide the rules for the election of school boards and given more freedom to decide their composition. – Simplification of the provision regarding class teachers in The Public School Act.50 How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school – More flexible rules for the composition of school boards. and they should not be subject to the rules on the formation of classes and groups. It should be possible to use the activity lessons for initiatives across classes and form levels. In addition. . Viborg. – The obligation to establish local pedagogical councils will be abolished. Vesthimmerland and Odsherred). – Increased independence to employ other pedagogical staff for teaching functions at form levels 1 to 3. All classes must still have a class teacher. – The rule that only teachers at the schools are qualified to run the school library will be abolished. The municipalities must have access to employ other pedagogical staff for teaching at form levels 1 to 3. Fredensborg. The municipalities will be granted extensive freedom to use activity lessons for the purposes they see fit according to local conditions. So far. which makes it optional for the municipalities to decide whether to have them. seven municipalities have been approved to participate with pilot projects regarding primary and lower secondary education (The municipalities are: Odense. The provision that a class teacher will be allocated a certain number of lessons for undertaking the function of class teacher will be abolished. – Possibility for more electives. The local councils must be authorized to approve the teaching of electives other than those listed in the “Common Objectives” and which are not necessarily practical or creative subjects. but the schools must be free to decide how to organise the responsibility for the class teacher function. – Work practice in form level 7. Vejle. the governments will give municipalities and schools new degrees of freedom in a number of areas: – The new activity lessons must not be subject to the traditional rules for lessons in the public school. Approved municipal pilot projects regarding the public school area The government has approved that for a four-year test period a number of municipalities may be exempted from parts of the state regulation that generally applies to municipalities (Frikommuneforsøg). Among the approved pilot projects are: – Increased flexibility regarding the rules on educational qualifications – Flexible regulation regarding the formation of classes and groups – Focused use of student development plans – Co-management of public school and day care facilities.

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The government plans to invite the partners for a dialogue about how the objectives and initiatives may be realised in practice. Moreover. and it will free resources for an improvement of the public school. This ambition may be obtained through better use of existing resources and it particularly requires a more flexible utilisation of the teacher working hours. The aim is to pass the necessary legislation in 2013. we spend around DKK 4.000 million on primary and lower secondary education a year. The government plans to discuss with the parties how an improvement of the public school may be obtained by reprioritisation and new ways of thinking in order to better allocate resources for primary and lower secondary education. Local Government Denmark has communicated that they see the current work time agreement to be a barrier to a higher prioritisation of better leadership and consequently improved results in the public school. The government intends to invite the broad circle of political parties represented in the School Act compromise group to participate in negotiations regarding our initiative. we must all take ownership of the change process. local governments and the Parliament. in order for these schools to get equivalent opportunities to the public school regarding the improvement of academic standards. Prior to the collective bargaining for 2013. Among other things. This is equivalent of about DKK 66. amounting to an extra DKK 4000 million for the years 2013 to 2020. On top of that. as children will have less need for these facilities when the longer school days are introduced and activities are moved from leisure time facilities to become an integrated part of the school day. parents. teachers.500 million for after school care facilities each year. Today Denmark spends around DKK 39. other pedagogical staff. the government plans to allocate more resources for the public school. which was established in the spring of 2012. From 2013 to 2015 another DKK 320 million a year have been allocated for the evidence-based development of university colleges and business academies. and for research regarding the professions. Simultaneously. Moreover. The government also suggests a number of simplifications in the rules and regulations regarding the public school. To re-think primary and lower secondary education.How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school 53 A collective task An improvement of the public school depends on participation from all stakeholders: Students. the government has decided to allocate DKK 1000 from 2014 to 2020 to increase the competence levels of teachers and other pedagogical staff. school principals. the money must be spent on strengthening the teacher education and social educator programmes and on teaching in the public school.000 per student. The majority of the money must be spent on increasing the use of digital tools in the public school. It will not be required of the independent residential schools (efterskoler) to introduce the long integrated school day. Of these. The government wants to ensure that subsidies for the independent schools are adjusted. the integrated school day will mean cost reductions in relation to leisure time and after school club facilities. This shift will free resources for improving the public school. For the years 2012 to 2015 DKK 500 million have been allocated to support the use of IT in the public school. We must work together to raise the standards. with effect from the school year 2014/5. This will allow the municipalities and schools more freedom. the government intends to continue the partnership for the public school. The local governments and the school principals must be given more responsibility and more flexibility regarding planning of the school day and prioritisation of teacher working hours. . The integrated school day means that students spend more time with their teachers. These figures put us in the league of OECD countries which spend most money on each student.

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uvm.dk ISBN (Printed version) 978-87-92985-24-8 ISBN (Electronic version) 978-87-92985-25-5 Layout e-Types & India Photos Stig Stasig Fotografi Print Rosendahls Schultz Grafisk a/s Web The publication is available at www.How to make a good school even better – an improvement of the standards in the Danish public school 2012/2013 : 8 Contact details for further information Danish Ministry of Children and Education Frederiksholms Kanal 21 1220 København K Denmark Phone: (+45)33 92 50 00 E-mail: uvm@uvm.dk/betterschool .