Fogelströmska gymnasiet is a public school for youngsters aged between 16 to 20 years old. Currently, the centre holds around 650 students. Within this group, there’s a 200 students group recently arrived to the country who are studying Swedish in a building attached to the school.
Apart from the rooms set aside for theory lessons, with or without computers, the centre has other spaces properly equipped to do practical workshops, such as the clothes designing workshop, building and metallurgy workshops.
In Sweden, most students that finish compulsory school (97%), keep studying to an upper level of secondary education. However, to have access to the offered national programmes of this level, they need to pass at least the following subjects in compulsory school: Swedish, Mathematics and English.
Fogelströmska gives the chance to study these subjects to those students who didn’t get the required marks to access upper levels of education. Furthermore, students can also choose subjects that they will keep studying along their educative career. All national programmes have the following core subjects: Swedish, English, Maths, Civics, Religion (Catholicism, Islamism, Buddhism, Hinduism), Natural Science, Sports and Health Education.
Most students in Fogelströmska are academic failure “victims”. Therefore, these students have educational disadvantages and are under social exclusion risk. A high percentage of the students have a foreign origin. In the school corridors several languages can be easily heard, such as Spanish, Arabic, Greek, Hungarian…
Fogelströmska gymnasiet’s methodology is using only individualised programmes: each student follows its own learning itinerary and pace.
From the academic year 2000/2001, this educational option has been established in every Swedish gymnasiet, as an extra educative option. However, Fogelströmska is the only educational institution that focus all education on this methodology.
Each student, counselled by the educative team, designs its own educative itinerary. The student decides besides the subjects to study, the pace to be followed and aspects to be emphasized.
Classes hold a maximum of 12 students, and ran by one or two teachers. Students work independently, at their own pace and working on their exercise books (targeted to strength deficits). The teacher’s role involves helping the students to solve the problems they might find when doing their tasks.
Lessons last approximately for 2 hours, with several 10 minute breaks.
Students have the chance to do more technological and practical activities in the different workshops provided in the school. The options provided are: building, clothes design, electronics, metallurgy, video…Attending these workshops, students can make their own product (for instance, clothes designing students make their own clothes). However, obtaining a product is not required in the school educative system. For example, building students built a wall to be destroyed subsequently.
Depending on individual interests and educational needs, students are divided in four teams, each one holding around 100 students. In each group there are several professionals, teachers, counsellors and social workers.
The educational team is made up of 80 professionals, there are labour counsellors, social representatives, nurses, a psychologist, office workers and 4 people in charge of leisure activities.
In order to give a training fitting the labour market needs and to help the students to decide which educational upper program to follow, students do work experience in enterprises twice per week, within the school timetable (from 9am to 3.15pm).
Fogelströmska gymnasiet has a department in charge of students counselling within the labour market field. The department assist students in contacting the enterprise, and following the student’s work experience, however it is very positive if the student makes the contact himself with his future working centre. Both enterprise and student sign a contract which is processed by the department. Student don’t get any payment for the work but employers must provide them meals.
A meeting between students and tutors is held every Wednesday (usually 16 students and 2 tutors) to discuss about everybody’s learning process and work experience.
Evaluation process is done together with students and tutors, evaluating the portafolios, where tasks done during the term are shown. Student’s assignments about their educational process are also reviewed.
However, exams are still the most important part of the evaluation. Both the several exams done during the course and specially the official exam. The results will be decisive on the options that post compulsory secondary school can offer to the students.