Journal of Educational Change

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 137–163 | Cite as

Principals’ views on changes in the provision of support for learning and schooling in Finland after educational reform

  • Jonna PulkkinenEmail author
  • Eija Räikkönen
  • Raija Pirttimaa
  • Markku Jahnukainen


Recently, the large-scale reforms of special education have been carried out in many countries. This study focuses on the latest Finnish reform of special education in compulsory education. As principals lead educational reforms in schools, their role in the implementation of reform is significant. The study explores principals’ views on the changes in support arrangements after the educational reform. We used latent class analysis to identify the subgroups of principals who share similar views. In addition, we examined the relationship between the subgroups and individual, school, and municipal level factors using multinomial logistic regression analysis. Four subgroups were identified: improved pedagogical support (19% of principals), stability of support (54%), increased administrative support (14%), and weakened support (13%). Work experience as a principal, school size, schools’ resources for special education, and region differentiated these subgroups from one another. Despite nationwide reform, the support arrangements and their changes differed among schools in the opinion of principals. We discuss the implications for the planning and implementation of the educational reforms.


Academic support services Compulsory education Educational change Principals Reform Special education 



This work was supported by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Finnish Institute for Educational ResearchUniversity of JyväskyläUniversity of JyväskyläFinland
  2. 2.Faculty of Education and PsychologyUniversity of JyväskyläUniversity of JyväskyläFinland
  3. 3.Department of EducationUniversity of JyväskyläUniversity of JyväskyläFinland
  4. 4.Faculty of Educational SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiUniversity of HelsinkiFinland

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