Danish boarding school teachers created ‘unsafe’ learning environment

Individual teachers at elite boarding school Herlufsholm created an unsafe learning space for students, the authors of a report have found.

Danish boarding school teachers created ‘unsafe’ learning environment
Herlufsholm boarding school has been under scrutiny following reports of a bullying and abusive culture. File photo: Asger Ladefoged/Ritzau Scanpix

A report conducted by consultancy firm Nordic Learning, seen by broadcaster TV2, concluded that teachers had failed to provide a safe space for students in some instances, TV2 writes.

Lessons are described to contain “intimidating and humiliating communication, where students can be made to feel stupid if they, for example, do not correctly answer a question,” the report states.

It also states that “some of the teachers relate negatively to students” according to TV2.

The report was ordered by Herlufsholm itself in November 2021, and was originally scheduled to be submitted in June.

The school planned to read the report before publishing it, but has not yet done so, news wire Ritzau writes.

Herlufsholm has been the subject of extensive public criticism and scrutiny following a documentary by broadcaster TV2 in May which revealed a culture of bullying and abuse at the elite school.

The documentary is focused on relations between students, rather than between students and teachers.

The children of Crown Prince Frederik, the heir to the Danish throne, and Crown Princess Mary were withdrawn from Herlufsholm in the summer and have now started at different schools.

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Denmark to reduce school class sizes for small children

The Danish parliament has voted in favour of reducing the maximum class size for the youngest age groups at elementary schools.

Denmark to reduce school class sizes for small children

New classes in grades “0” to 2 (aged 6-8 years) at Denmark’s elementary schools (folkeskoler) will be limited to a maximum of 26 children from next year.

The current limit is 28 students.

The lower limit has been brought in partly to help children with special needs, Minister for Children and Education Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil told broadcaster DR.

“This will naturally help all children and it will naturally also benefit all children with special needs in particular,” Rosenkrantz-Theil said.

“Those who find it difficult to be included in large parts of elementary school” would benefit most from the change, she said.

Despite the new limit having been adopted by parliament, a maximum of 26 children in a class is not completely guaranteed.

That is because special circumstances can allow exemptions to the rule to be applied, permitting classes of up to – but no more than – 28 children.

The rule change takes effect at the beginning of the next school year.

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