District Schooling Offices
Objective: to provide guidance and support to the families in the pre-enrolment and enrolment process
The enrolment process normally takes place in March (and it remains open for families applying for a school place out of the ordinary process). The District Schooling Offices work from February to September to inform families about the characteristics of the school supply in the city and about the regulations guiding the school place allocation process. These offices also provide information about schools’ projects and facilities and help families to carry out all the pre-enrolment and enrolment required procedures.
- District Offices aims at bringing the public administration closer to citizens and to improve the information and support that families receive regarding the schooling process (including the paperwork they need to fulfil).
- Limited resources prevent District Schooling offices to develop a more active role in orienting families in their school choices.
Communication and support to marketing strategies
Objective: Improving the schools’ attractiveness and their communication skills
The educational local authority provides communication and support to marketing strategies to all schools to improve their attractiveness, mainly in the Open-day events, but also echoing their social network activity or editing promotion materials. In addition, it fosters the coordination of the Open-days calendar in each catchment area to guarantee that families can attend to all the sessions.
- Many schools -particularly the most vulnerable ones- have little time to endeavour with communication and marketing strategies. By offering external support to these activities, the educational local authority may contribute to decrease the differences in promotion capacities among schools.
- By coordinating the open-days’ agenda of the different schools of each CA, the educational local authority contributes to build a higher sense of commonality among schools.
- If not framed under a common orientation, this support has the risk of increasing competition among schools to attract students. Indeed, an underlying contradiction exists between the promotion of the schools’ singularisation aimed at attracting students and the idea of equivalence in the supply and the promotion of their cooperation.
Multilingual information for families
Objective: providing easy access information to all families about the admission and enrolment process
The educational local authority produces and disseminates an information guide and several videos about the enrolment process. This material is available in several languages to ensure that information arrives to all families. It is also possible for families to subscribe to a newsletter and to a service that alerts by mail or SMS about relevant dates during the enrolment process. In addition, a telephone helpline is available to families to answer questions. This service is provided with simultaneous translation into 44 languages.
- Promoting different supports and platforms to widespread information in several languages about the schooling process may improve families’ ability to properly understand it
- Not all families are aware of these information sources and their ability to find it is not equally distributed. Therefore, most vulnerable families can face more difficulties to access to it
Making it easier to find a school – A search engine
Objective: ensuring equivalent information about all the schools
The website of the educational local authority allows families to look through a search engine for approved and transparent information about all the schools of the city (public and private prublicly funded schools). This information includes references to the pedagogical project, facilities and costs.
- Search engine allows users to navigate throughout the full school supply of the city and obtain comparable and transparent information about all schools.
- The ability to include truthful information about private schools’ fees is reduced.
District Informative sessions
Objective: providing easy access to information about educational resources at the district and the city levels
Families can attend to informative sessions organised in each district for those who are enrolling their children in the system for the first time. Information on schools and resources allocated in the district are provided to all families in order to show a general panoramic of the educational system. These sessions show de district school supply as a cohesive and non-competitive network of schools.
- Face-to-face informative sessions can be a useful space for families to ask for doubts and questions, as well as to have first-hand information about the characteristics of the schooling process.
- It is a good space to show public schools in the district as a cohesive and non-competitive network of schools
- The pandemic has boosted the production of audio-visual contents that will complement face-to-face information.
- The schooling process is a complex one and it is possible that some aspects may not be clear enough to all families if too much information is provided. It is crucial to prioritise which information is essential to provide to make this process efficient.
Objective: Provide standardized information on schools
Institutional information about schools in Oslo is mainly provided at a standardized level by the Municipality (Education Agency) through the Website: https://www.oslo.kommune.no/skole- og-utdanning/skoleoversikt-og-skoletilhorighet/skoler-i-oslo/#gref.
Some information is available in English and in other relevant languages (Somali, Polish, Urdu, Turkish…).
The website contains a section “Which school will your child attend”, where parents can find information on catchment areas and free school choice options (forms to fill in to ask to be registered in a different school than the local one). The parents of future 1st grade students, get an offer from the local school that the parents can accept/reject.
Additionally, the website provides the link to the database “Minosloskole”, which displays detailed information about all the public schools in Oslo. It contains: 1. Facts about the School – comprehensive overview of facts about the school and the school's resources. Statistics are presented for Oslo as a whole and at school level under the individual school's fact page. 2. Learning environment – results from the Student Survey; 3. Students results – results on national tests, final grades (end of school), exam grades and Oslo tests; 4. Special education needs and Second language training: the website gives also information of the percentage of students with special needs and second language training.
- It provides easy access to comprehensive and updated information on the school system in Oslo
- It provides homogeneous information on schools
- Despite the limited possibility of choice in Oslo, the municipality still finds it useful to publish results for all the schools in Oslo. Information on some sensitive aspects such as national test results, percentage of non-mother tongues students, percentage of students with special needs may be a possible driver of school segregation, since it can reinforce the pattern of residential segregation at city level.