Network for principals leading schools with socioeconomic challenges

Principals are ultimately responsible for schools’ overall quality of education and results. There are increasing demands for principals to be able to lead, organize, and support school activities for equality and each student’s school progress. However, these demands risk stopping as hopes if they are not backed up with support that strengthens the principals’ professional practice.

Principals who work in schools with socioeconomic challenges need support in their work because the schools they lead often find it difficult to realize students’ right to quality education. For example, it can be difficult to establish good learning environments, security, and a peaceful study environment, and to recruit and retain qualified personnel.
The network of principals leading schools with socioeconomic challenges aims to support, strengthen, and learn about this specific target group of principals by collaborating with them.

They participate in the network

A first network has been formed in the Stockholm area. The network is funded by the Swedish National Agency for Education and will run first from 2022 to 2024. The network involves researchers from the Department of Education and Didactics, who are building the network together with school managers and principals from the City of Stockholm and Upplands Bro municipality. More networks may be formed in the Stockholm area and there are also networks in Gothenburg.

Purpose and expected outcomes of the network

The network aims to build support structures for principals in collaboration between authorities, higher education institutions and school principal organisations. In the network, principals will also be given the opportunity to exchange experiences and draw lessons. The network enables systematic learning about principals who lead schools with socioeconomic challenges. This will result in knowledge that can benefit the principals.

Principals participating in the network are expected to

  • Bolster the courage to lead their schools and strengthen their commitment to leadership.
  • Strengthen the ability to lead activities with support in relevant research.
  • Develop concrete strategies to lead their own school given its conditions.
  • Be able to create contexts for school leadership in their own school, in part by involving employees and in part in the network through exchange with colleagues.

The next meeting in the network takes place September 15-16 at Skepparholmen, Nacka.

Project leader and contact:

Niclas Rönnstrom. E-mail: