Note by Committee Staff on Visit to Denmark:
Tuesday 6 to Thursday 8 June 2000
Members: Mr Barry Sheerman (Chairman)
Dr Evan Harris
Mr Nick St Aubyn
Mrs Rosemary Peacocke
Mr Liam Laurence Smyth (Clerk), Mr Robert Rees
Tuesday 6 June 2000
0. Briefing by HM Ambassadornot for publication.
1 Ministry of Education
2 Ministry of Social Affairs
3 Ballerup Early Years Teachers Training
4 Villa Blide Kindergarten in the woods
5 Working dinner hosted by Deputy Head of
Missionsee guest list
Wednesday 7 June 2000
6 Peder Lykke School
7 Galaxen integrated care facility
8 Royal Danish School of Educational Studies
9 Charlottebo after-school care centre
10 Working dinner hosted by First Secretary
(Political)see guest list
Thursday 8 June 2000
11 Br`ndby Municipality
12 HC Andersen language centre, Magebo
13 S'holtskolen pre-school class
14 Mid-Zealand Efterskole
TUESDAY 6 JUNE 2000
1. MINISTRY OF
Helle BeknesSpecial Adviser
1.1 Ms Beknes welcomed the Sub-committee
and described the structure and responsibilities of the Danish
Ministry of Education. She was in the department dealing with
primary and lower secondary education.
1.2 Although compulsory education did not
begin until the age of 7, 98 per cent of Danish children attended
non-compulsory pre-school classes. Up to the present time, there
had been insufficient political support for lowering the age from
which education was compulsory.
1.3 Pre-school classes had been given a
legal basis in 1963, and since 1996 municipalities had been obliged
to provide a pre-school class at each school. There were no guidelines
for pre-school classes, in which it was expected that children
would become accustomed to being in groups and to the routines
of school. The Minister could not lay down a required curriculum.
The 1,700 Folkeskole (primary and lower secondary schools) were
administered by 275 municipalities in a highly decentralised system.
Folkeskole were funded by a block grant from the State and by
1.4 The use in England of league tables
was often cited in Denmark as an undesirable model, but the publication
of school performance data remained a delicate subject under discussion.
1.5 Children were guaranteed a place at
their local school. They could attend another school if space
was available. About one in eight Danish children attended a "private"
school-where parental contributions made up 15 per cent of the
total budget, the rest being met by the State. The "private"
sector had so far run on a not-for-profit basis. Kindergartens
were publicly funded, but with parents paying a small fee per
child. The minimum number of pupils required to establish a school
could be as low as two dozen.
1.6 All pupils were expected to take exams
in the ninth or tenth grade before going to complete a further
three years of school education in a gymnasium, a technical school
or some other form of provision. There was no central inspection
of schools. Private schools could choose their own inspectors
or inspectors from the municipality to ensure that education in
Danish, English and Maths were up to standard. The class system
was less in evidence in Denmark than in the UKparents would
pay around DKK 600 (£55) a month to attend private schools
which ranged from the progressive to the traditional in their
1.7 Practitioners in pre-school (Reception)
classes had the same qualification as kindergarten teachers and
after-school play leaders. These "pedagogues" constituted
a profession separate from that of teachers, who would take children
from the first grade. Some attempts were being made to integrate
pre-school classes with the first grade curriculum, but there
was some resistance to this from both teachers and pedagogues.
1.8 Danish public opinion had been shocked
by Denmark's poor performance, particularly in relation to its
Nordic partners, in the 1991 international companion of literacy
(and, to a lesser extent, mathematics). In 1998, Danish schools
in cooperation with the Association of Danish Teachers and the
municipalities had entered upon the Folkeskole 2000 programme,
which emphasised that a good start provided the best foundation.
1.9 The main reasons for focussing on early
childhood from the point of view of the Ministry of Education
the Danish outcome of the IEA Literacy
the rising numbers of children using
school leisure time activities;
the trend to bringing municipal administrations
a concentration of disruptive pupils
in the first grades of formal school;
new knowledge of the learning process;
using economic resources in a more
1.10 The school day for younger children
lasted 4 hours. After-school leisure time activities were usually
provided but had had little connection to what children did during
school hours or previously in daycare facilities. The Ministry
of Education was concerned to improve coordination and development
between the stages of transition experienced by a Danish child
from home daycare to kindergarten, to pre-school, to leisure time
activities to Folkeskole.
1.11 Up until recently the prevailing view
had been that children should not learn to read before the first
grade, but it was becoming more common for small children to be
prepared for literacy earlier. Teachers and pedagogues were being
encouraged to work together in the first grade and in drawing
up common targets and aims for early daycare. The Ministry could
provide advice to municipalities on children's literacy outcomes,
but comparative performance data were not published.
1.12 Parents were involved as governors
on school boards, which had a parent governor majority with representation
from pupils and staff and the school principal as non-voting board
members. Parents in Denmark generally resisted any push to achieving
literacy earlier, believing that their children deserved a proper
childhood. Children generally walked to school, except in the
big towns. Leisure time activities were provided for a hour or
so before school and for up to six hours after school.
1.13 Compulsory subjects from the first
grade included Danish, Maths/Science, Religion, Physical Education,
Music and Arts, with History being compulsory from the third grade.
The aims were determined nationally for proficiency areas within
each subject. The local curriculum was determined by the municipalities,
though the Ministry could assist with the design of the curriculum.
1.14 Any special needs would be identified
in kindergarten from the age of three. It was common for speech
therapists to work in kindergartens. The lack of emphasis on formal
literacy made it unlikely specific problems such as dyslexia would
be noticed in kindergarten.
1.15 There were some night kindergartens
for children of shift workers, but typically both parents would
be out at full-time jobs during the day. The six year old child
would go to before school leisure activities, then to the pre-school
(reception class) than after-school leisure activities, before
spending a couple of hours at the end of the day at home between
the parents coming back from work and bedtime: The name given
by some childhood experts to this sometimes stressful part of
the day for tired adults and children was "the time of the
2. MINISTRY OF
Grete HansenDeputy Head of Department,
Family & Children Policy
2.1 The 14 counties in Denmark were responsible
for health and social services, secondary schools and physical
planning. The 275 municipalities were responsible for primary
schools and also for social services and physical planning. Within
this complex, decentralised structure there were four distinctive
family-friendly- daycare, parental leave, economic
support for families
consensual approachan (arguably) female-friendly
families and children18 per cent of total
social expenditure; relatively high proportion of single parents
(usually mothers) accounting for about one third of families with
labour marketa high participation by
women including mothers increased the need for childcare options
2.2 The 1998 Social Service Act offered
three levels of assistance, with increasing levels of compulsion,
to assist families (i) in general (ii) who wanted assistance in
(iii) who needed intervention to protect children. Daycare services
catering for educational, social development and caring needs
were at the same time a general service available to families
and part of a strategy for supporting and protecting children.
It had been regarded as somewhat provocative to make these objectives
explicit in the legislation.
2.3 Daycare facilities were required to
provide a seamless service including:
social and general skills, physical exercise,
exploration of surroundings, imagination and creativity, linguistic
development, cultural values, play and learn, participation and
responsibility, provision of care
2.4 Children were not expected to learn
to read in daycare centres, even if their parents wanted them
to. Children might play with letters and books but there was not
a programme for learning to read.
2.5 Danish as an additional language was
provided for children in special daycare facilities. Municipalities
were required to provide 15 hours a week of Danish language teaching
before the child entered school. Sometimes families chose not
to keep their children in institutions for the rest of the day.
Integrating children of immigrants and refugees was one of the
Ministry's major current concerns.
2.6 Emphasis was placed on learning outside
in the immediate surroundings as well as more extensively in the
countryside and woods.
2.7 Daycare institutions and family daycare
took a number of forms:
crechesix months to two years
nursery schoolthree to five years
after schoolsix to nine years
age integrated facilities
supervised family care (childminders)
one year pre school class (six years)
free choice (including nannies)
2.8 The proportions of children in some
form of daycare were:
three to five year olds 91 per cent
nought to three year olds 64 per cent
from six months to 17 years 55 per cent
2.9 Family relatives were rarely used to
provide day care except in an emergency until a "proper place"
could be found. One of the main political topics responding to
parental pressure was reducing the waiting lists for municipally
provided childcare places. Municipalities pressed the State for
increased funding; for example, to reduce discrimination against
children of unemployed people arising from the preference on waiting
lists given to working parents. With an overall unemployment rate
of five per cent, women's labour market participation rate at
80 per cent was one of the highest in the world.
2.10 Preference was not normally given to
siblings on waiting lists. Not all settings had the option of
taking up a place part-time. Parents had to contribute one third
of the cost of any daycare scheme, with means-tested assistance
available for lower income parents. Benefit payments were taxed
at a marginal rate of 30 per cent (compared to 50 per cent for
most employees). Unemployment benefit started at 90 per cent of
previous salary, up to DKK 2,000 a month. Paying around DKK 2,000
a month as the parental contribution to a full-time daycare place
was generally considered to be a fairly high payment. There was
considerable variation between municipalities in the standard
2.11 Parents complained about waiting lists.
There was general support for women who wanted to make a career
to make use of the parental leave system. It was generally expected
that from the age of six months a child would be in daycare to
allow both parents to work. As unemployment had fallen from its
higher levels, parental leave was becoming less popular. Parental
leave had been seen as a labour market policy to provide at least
temporary work opportunities for unemployed people.
2.12 Childminders were supervised rather
than qualified. "Free choice" described a new scheme
for a person to come to the parents' home, but without any guarantee
of quality. Financial assistance was available from the municipality.
[This provision had been added to the legislation at the same
time as removing the discrimination against unemployed parentssee
paragraph 2.9 above.]
2.13 Efforts were being made to increase
the relatively high proportion of men working with young children.
Pedagogues were paid a little less than teachers, but the time
taken to train as a pedagogue was comparable with that for teacher
2.14 Daycare was part of an overall strategy
of support for families which included cash benefits for birth
or adoption, parental leave, child allowances and advance payments
by the municipalities to the parent with care of any maintenance
owed by the absent parent.
3. BALLERUP SEMINARIUM
Anne-Mette DanielsenInternational Co-ordinator
3.1 Ms Danielsen welcomed the Sub-committee
to the Balleru Early Childhood Teachers' College. Over a sandwich
lunch, she outlined the principles of training early childhood
practitioners ("pedagogues") in the Danish system. The
training over 3.5 years with work placements totalling 64 weeks
was comparable to teacher training and pedagogues were accorded
a degree of esteem in Danish society.
3.2 Pedagogues worked closely with other
professionals such as social workers and speech therapists. Unlike
Sweden, however, Denmark had not united the professions of teachers
3.3 The Danish tradition of pedagogues was
concerned more with social skills than cognitive skills. The approach
owed more to Froebel than Montessori; and was founded by the nineteenth
century poet and philospher Pastor Grundtvig. This vision of building
the Danish nation combined linguistic revival and nationalism
with an emphasis on active participation in a civil education
to build democracy from the ground up. In a phrase, Grundtvig
way was about learning rather than being taught.
3.4 The aims and goals of the distinctively
Danish approach to early years education were based on cultural
values of democracy, equality and dialogue. Training pedagogues
emphasised a positive attitude to mental health, self esteem,
change and innovation and a coherent approach to the development
of the whole child. General skills included overall knowledge,
practical experience, an action-based approach, skills and experience
in co-operation and communication and skills in analysing, compiling
and monitoring. Personal skills included independence, creativity,
responsibility and open-mindedness.
3.5 Early years education was seen as a
help to parents. It was especially valuable for children for whom
Danish was an additional language to be in daycare even if their
parents were at home. The long hours spent by children in Danish
daycare sessions meant that closer relationships were built up
between staff and children then were usually the case in shorter
3.6 Pedagogues required a different range
of competences from teachers. Some experience of life after school
was preferred before applicants were accepted for training. The
pay of pedagogues compared reasonably well to other professions.
The ratio of trained to untrained staff varied depending on the
setting, but it was typically 2:1, with the untrained post a transitional
one for a trainee as a short-term placement.
3.7 About 11 per cent of pedagogues were
men. Ballerup's strength in sports helped to attract applications
from men who might later tend to specialise in after-school sports
activities for primary school children rather than daycare for
very young children.
A group of four student pedagogues performed
in costume a tribute to the Spice Girls' "Stop Right Now."
3.8 A fairly recent case of sexual abuse
of young children by a person in a position of trust had led to
some debate in Demark over the protection of children and the
role of men in early years education. Since that scandal, there
had been some insecurity felt by men working in early years education.
In general working with young children was a respected profession
in Denmark, and seen as a second best to teaching. It was possible
to over-emphasise the value of having men as role models for young
children, but perhaps women tended to discourage boisterous behaviour
and were more risk averse generally than men in looking after
3.9 Early years education in Denmark could
be seen as parenting on a grand scale, including taking over what
some could see as parents' roles in toilet training, table manners
and tying shoe laces. The length of a child's day in daycare meant
that children spent many sleeping and waking hours with pedagogues.
The Danish system emphasised democracy, equality, respect, tolerance,
compromise and sharing. These values were reinforced by example
and by discussion. The children were stimulated physically, socially
and intellectually but there was no attempt to teach academic
subjects. Numbers and the alphabet might come up in songs and
games. The Danish child was provided with experiences in the big
wide world to ensure that they had these experiences, even if
their parents were too poor or too busy to take them on outings.
The Danish child had no targets to reach in working towards being
a social animal by the time it started formal school. The child
should experience a start free from stress.
4. VILLA BLIDE
Ms Lilian Mogensen
Ms Jytte Skovby
Mr Thomas Okesen
4.1 The Sub-committee joined a group of
eight children (two girls, six boys, aged between four and six
years) and two adults (Ms Jytte Skouby and Mr Thomas Okesen) at
a rendezvous at the end of a suburban road (Fugle-havevej). The
Sub-committee walked with the group through the rain back along
a path through the wood to the Villa Blide kindergarten.
4.2 The children were expected to be outside
in all weather and rarely expressed a preference to stay indoors.
The children were well behaved and responsive to their visitors.
They sat down quietly for a mid-afternoon snack of fruit and bread.
4.3 Ms Lilian Mogensen discussed the kindergarten
in the woods with Members of the Sub-committee.
5. WORKING DINNER
Mrs Vita Bering Pruzan Head of Family Research
Unit, National Institute for Social Research (Socialforskningsinstituttet)
Mr Peter Starck Reuters
Mrs Carmen Stark
Mrs Henny Hammershoej President OMEP Danish
National Committee, Froebelseminariet, College of Educator Training
Mr Karsten Hammershoej
Mrs Jytte Juul Jensen Jydsk Paedagogseminarium
Mr Ole Langsted
Mr Jens Iversen Galaxen Daycare Centre
Mrs Jytte Iversen
Mr Lars Jacobsen Head of Section, EU Policies,
Ministry of Education
Wednesday 7 June 2000
6. PEDER LYKKE
Lotte GotrikHead of Section for Young
Gutte LarsenPedagogue, pre-school (Reception)
Jamie MasonPedagogue, pre-school (Reception)
6.1 Peder Lykke school was a well-maintained
single storey neighbourhood comprehensive school for about 750
children aged for six to 16 which had opened in the mid-Seventies.
The school year was 200 days. Very few school leavers left to
go directly into work. Some took an optional 10th grade, at the
school or elsewhere. About 30 per cent went on to a further three
years at high school (gymnasium) to prepare for university and
others went to colleges or technical schools. The maximum class
size was 28. There were four pre-school (Reception) classes with
about 25 children in each. The school did not have a specific
profile in any particular area. The building was laid out as a
number of "houses" linked to the main spine of the building.
Each "house" was a cluster of classrooms, leisure areas
and staff rooms for groups of grades: Pre-school/Reception and
Grades 1 and 2, Grades 3 to 6, and Grades 7 to 9 (and the optional
6.2 Children moved up the school together
as a group. It was very seldom that a child repeated a grade.
There was no streaming between classes in a grade nor was there
setting for particular subjects. The compulsory subjects in the
pre-school (Reception) class were Danish, physical education,
art, religion, language and maths (including nature and technology).
In addition to these academic subjects, there were also social/development
areas to be addressed, including traffic and road safety, vocational
guidance ("what do you want to be when you grow up?"),
and social education which addressed behavioural problems or other
special efforts required. An American system called Step by Step
was used to help children to understand other people's feelings.
In the community many children's parents had divorced, and the
children would have spent much of their time away from parents
in childcare. Increasingly there were behavioural problems with
pre-school children, and not just those from broken homes. This
new phenomenon was being addressed by special efforts to give
help in small groups. Where extra resources were required, for
example to help a child who used a wheelchair, an application
would be made to the school governors.
6.3 After Danish, English was the second
taught language, studied from the fourth grade. French or German
would also be studied, from the seventh grade. There were good
information and communication technology facilities in a dedicated
room in each "house". There was no OFSTED- style external
6.4 Teaching in pre-school (Reception) had
recently changed with Government encouragement from busy almost
all play to more integrated thematic learning preparing for literacy
and numeracy. It was a sensitive political question as to why
pre-school Reception classes were taught by pedagogues rather
than teachers. It was sometimes argued that it would be better
for children to start in the pre-school class with teachers who
could move with them up into the first and second grades. Teachers
were paid about 5 per cent more than pedagogues. Training for
pedagogues had become almost as long as the four years for teachers.
6.5 Although reading was not taught in the
pre-school (Reception) classes, there was good preparation for
numeracy and literacy. Although specific learning difficulties
such as dyslexia might not be picked up at an early stage. Social
education included making use of puppets and role-playing to deal
with any difficulties children had with aggression, bad language
and other problems. Pupils were being taught to be democratic.
There was no rewards system, nor were there punishments. The teacher
tried to co-operate with parents. A disruptive pupil might be
removed from the class to cool down. In some circumstances a child
might transfer to another school to try different surroundings,
but formal exclusions were extremely rare. Difficult children
might be sent for three or four months to camps in the countryside
before returning to school.
6.6 Personal aims were drawn up for each
child, including the highly able. Despite strong support from
the community in childcare and pre-school education, educational
outcomes in Denmark as in the UK were strongly influenced by a
child's economic background. It was up to the principal to monitor
class teachers who were required to have an annual written plan.
In practice, pupils were taught in three or four groups within
6.7 The Sub-committee saw a rehearsal demonstration
in two pre-school Reception classes of a Dutch method of Writing
Dance (Skrivedans, by Ragnhild Oussoren-Voors). A group of 17
children (11 girls, six boys) made hand and arm movements to music,
first while standing in a circle. Then some of the children used
different colours of chalk to make marks on the blackboard, according
to the musical cues for movement, which made pictures: a volcano
in the rain or an abstract flower pattern.
6.8 Part of the area in the "house"
for pre-school and grades one and two was a communal area for
after-school leisure activities.
7. GALAXEN INTEGRATED
Jens IversenHead of Facility
Winnie Larsen-JensenDeputy Major of Copenhagen
(Family and Labour Market)
Eric ChristiensenDirector, Copenhagen
Municipality (Family and Labour Market).
7.1 (See Fact Sheet)
7.2 The 21 staff (of whom three were men)
included people from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Poland and Bosnia.
Quite a few of the 80 children aged from one to six years had
Danish as an additional language.
7.3 Record books were kept for each child,
who could dictate captions and stories to go with drawings and
photographs. The storyline project encouraged children to write
their own fairytales which they dictated on to the computer screen.
The child's own fairytale with the illustrations was kept in large
storybooks available for others to use. Children enjoyed a sense
of achievement from seeing other staff and children reading their
stories. Children's stories had also been printed on T-shirts.
7.4 Another project was to give each child
a small lunchbox to collect memories of the summer. After the
holiday, each child was encouraged to open their box and to explain
the contents to their classmatesphotos, tickets, shells,
leaves and so on. In this way the child developed public speaking
7.5 The feedback received from the several
different pre-school (Reception) classes to which Galaxen nursery
children went was that Galaxen children were secure and confident.
7.6 The Sub-committee visited the rooms
for each age group, and also spoke to the Deputy Mayor and Director
from Copenhagen Municipality. Members of the Sub-committee were
also photographed and interviewed for a local newspaper.
8. ROYAL DANISH
Hans VejleskovProfessor and Head of Department
for Early Childhood Education
Stig BrostromSenior Lecturer, Department
for Early Childhood Education
Elizabeth HansenSenior Lecturer
Sven ThyssenDanish Institute for Educational
8.1 The Royal Danish School of Educational
Studies would be merging with other institutions in June 2000
to form the Danish Educational University. The Sub-committee discussed
current educational research over a sandwich lunch. The researchers
did not claim that Denmark had the best system in the world; they
described what they found.
8.2 As it was becoming more and more common
for both parents to be working, there was more interest in integrating
the time children spent with pedagogues (three to six years, after
school activities after the age of six), and teachers (school
from the age of six).
8.3 It was difficult to persuade leisure
time pedagogues that learning could be play. They were afraid
of being dominated by teachers and so losing the value of free
time activityor "stealing the young person's childhood."
8.4 Mr Thyssen said that recent research
on children separated from their parents at creche all day had
found that there were benefits for the child coming into contact
with other children. Other research had found that the attitude
of the working mother to being away from her children could have
a significant effect on the well-being of the child. For most
Danish pre-school children, creche or kindergarten was the usual
option, but parental leave and "free choice" could provide
an alternative. It would be interesting to research differences
in children's attachment patterns. It appeared to be the case
that children with a secure parental attachment performed better
in childcare settings outside the home than children with more
insecure parental attachment.
8.5 The concept of teaching was resisted
by pedagogues if it meant imparting knowledge, but they were more
open to the child and practitioner sharing an activity aimed at
a desired outcome. Children could deal with reading and writing
when it was appropriate for the individual child's development.
It was no longer forbidden for children to read before starting
school. There was a new willingness to combine literacy with play.
8.6 There was still too much difference
between the pre-school (Reception) class and first grade and between
kindergarten and the pre-school (Reception) class. More priority
had been given in recent years to improving liaison between pedagogues
in kindergarten and pre-school classes. It was becoming more common
to keep records of all individual children, and not just those
needing specific interventions such as speech therapy. There remained
strong resistance to testing and assessment which were seen as
running counter to Danish values of equality and democracy.
8.7 There was some concern that the lack
of more structured teaching in the early years tended to penalise
children from less academic backgrounds. Hans Vejleskov and Elizabeth
Hansen were working on devising a way of testing the quality of
children's writing. The poor performance of Danish children in
international comparative studies had created a more favourable
climate for testing in schools. A new OECD study of 15 year olds'
attainment would be carried out within a few months. The danger
of teaching to the test was fully recognised.
8.8 Only two or three pre-schools worked
with the American High/Scope method. Such rigid systems were not
successful with pedagogues in Denmark. For many years Danish educators
had been very sceptical to testing and evaluation and there had
been very few investigations of outcomes. Danish researchers had
preferred to concentrate on innovation and development work in
schools, rather than comparing children taught in different ways.
The great Danish educator Grundtvig had taken Great Britain as
his inspiration and Danish educators remained closer to the English
rather than the French model.
8.9 University graduates who went into teaching
generally did so at gymnasium level. Otherwise teachers and pedagogues
followed their separate routes through four years of training
as an alternative, not a follow-on, to a university degree in
an academic subject.
8.10 It was now becoming more acceptable
to discuss gender differences, whereas until recently only social
differences had been measured. A recent newspaper article had
stated that women now formed the majority of students in higher
Jannie ChristiansenDeputy Head
9.1 The Sub-committee visited one of three
after-school leisure time centres associated with a neighbourhood
comprehensive in Taastrup near Roskilde, about 40km from Copenhagen.
About half of the children lived in social housing, and many of
them came from immigrant families. The means-tested parental contribution
was DKK 640 (£60) a month.
9.2 The Sub-committee visited several rooms
in the centre and outside areas, including a sand pit, a netball
court and a kiln. Children could play computer games (Playstation)
for 30 minutes at a time, but TV programmes were watched only
on special occasions. The centre was open before school (about
40 children came for breakfast) and after school for about 80
children from noon to around 5pm. Some of the staff came from
ethnic minorities. Free choice of play was emphasised, with some
teaching of group games. The children would be taken on outings
and (in winter) to the local swimming pool.
10. WORKING DINNER
Mr Stig Lund International Secretary, Association
of Early Childhood Teachers (union)
Mr Thomas Damkjaer Petersen Chairman, Landsforeningen
Skole og Samfund (Parents' organisation)
Ms Lise Skanting Special Adviser (Education),
Danish Employer's Federation
Ms Clare MacCarthy Financial Times Correspondent
Ms Inge Skjoldager National Women's Council
Ms Sarah Harrison BBC Journalist
Thursday 8 June 2000
11. BRONDBY MUNICIPALITY
Eva RoedVice Mayor
Tove RasmussenChief Executive
Tove JorgensenDirector of Schools
11.1 Kjeld Rasmussen had been Mayor of Brondby
for 32 years and was one of the best known figures in Danish local
government. He had played a leading role in building up Brondby
Football Club to be one of the most famous clubs in European football.
He had visited the UK several times, often in connection with
one of Brondby's twin towns, Washington (Tyne and Wear).
11.2 Like Washington, Brondby was a post-era
New Town. Brondby had grown from 4,000 to 35,000 people over the
past half-century and thanks to its software industry it was among
the 10 most prosperous municipalities by national income. Social
housing had been built to a very high standard and had at one
time been too expensive for tenants not on benefit. A large number
of foreigners (200 Bosnian families, for example) had come to
Brondby. If present trends were to be continued, Danes would be
in a minority in Brondby by 2008. New rules had been put in place
to prevent over-crowding in flats and a new letting policy, combined
with the national annual turnover of leases, should reduce any
tendency to create an immigrant ghetto.
11.3 Foreign children had to learn Danish
before first grade of school. They were taught from the time when
they were small babies. The Hans Christian Andersen centre used
the famous Danish writer's fairytales to help the children learn
Danish and also something about the national culture. For example,
the children would go on outings to places mentioned in the stories.
11.4 Brondby had the highest school spending
in Denmark. Language teaching was also provided for adult foreigners
to help prepare them for the labour market. There had been a debate
over special kinds of meat for immigrants, but that was now behind
them. The view of the municipal authorities was not racist, but
they wanted the foreigners to get to know Danish culture.
11.5 In addition to its famous football
club, Brondby had also been the national cricket champions for
the past 19 years. The Municipality had a golf course (only 9
holes, because of objections from environmentalists). The Mayor
presented Members of the Sub-committee with the English version
of his guide to the royal palaces of Amalienborg in Copenhagen.
12. HC ANDERSEN
Eva RoedDeputy Mayor
Tove JorgensenDirector of Schools
Jens Evald JorgensenHead of Centre
12.1 The Sub-committee visited the Sprogcenter
(language centre) designed to help foreign children in the early
years to learn Danish. Several parents were present in the large
playground with sandpit. Some children were performing a puppet
show version of a Hans Christian Andersen story.
12.2 There were cultural differences between
Danish and Muslim families' expectations of children. Danish children's
autonomy increased as they grew older, but in Muslim families
children became more aware of their responsibilities as they entered
adolescence. Small children learned to play in Danish and also
acquired a sense of what kinds of behaviour were appropriate in
the family setting and in kindergarten respectively. Parents various
reasons for coming to Denmark usually boiled down to a desire
to give their children a better life.
Lene Krogh Larsen
13.1 The Sub-committee visited a pre-school
(Reception) class and observed children in their normal activities.
They were working on a circus project, and several children were
designing programmes and copying letters from printed originals.
The school was working on greater integration of teachers and
pedagogues for the younger children.
Niels J'rgen HansenPrincipal
14.1 The Efterskole was a distinctively
Danish institution which formed part of the Grundtvig philosophy
of education as enlightenment for life. More than half of 10th
grade students chose to spend a year in one of the 254 residential
Efterskoles, which had an average of 87 students taking a year
between finishing Folkeskole and going on to the next stage of
their education: gymnasium, technical school, college. The purpose
was to meet other young people in fellowship. The lessons were
similar to State Schools. The 9th and 10th grade, and the pupils
took the same final public examinations. Different Efterskole
exemplified different values or specialismsMid-Zealand
had a distinctively Chritian ethos with morning assembly, grace
before and after meals and optional church attendance on Sundays.
Many children went home at weekends.
14.2 Not all the teenagers came from broken
homes, but some Efterskoles specialised in particular problems.
Parents who could afford it were required to pay a contribution
of between DKK 1300 and DKK 2000 (£120 to £180) per
month. Class sizes were generally small, from 15 to 18. The Sub-committee
divided into three groups to tour the school, accompanied by a
boy and girl rather than a member of staff. In addition to classroom
and 2 person bedrooms, the school had excellent facilities for
IT, art, music and metalwork, in addition to a small working farm.
52 The expenditure ceiling authorised by the Liaison
Committee was £14,641. The estimated total outturn cost of
the visit was £6,715. Back