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Norway - Brundalen Upper Secondary School


Kari Anne NordgÄrd -
Odd Harald Dahl -
Guri Ragna Stokka -
Tor Aas -
Cathrine Tronshart -
Per Steinar Sneeggen -

About Brundalen Upper Secondary School

Brundalen Upper Secondary School is located in the outskirts of Trondheim city. It is a big school with a total of 1300 students. The majority of the students are between 16 to18 years of age. In addition, Brundalen has the responsibility of the education at Trondheim Prison, the Follow up-base, and the school also provides courses to adult learners through what is called Ressurssenteret (The Resource Centre).

At Brundalen we have several different educational courses, both vocational and college-preparatory courses. In vocational studies the school offers various courses of mechanical engineering, building and construction, electrical trades, health and social care, media and design and handicraft. College preparatory courses come in two different types; general studies and general studies with an art major. The students who attend vocational courses, go to school for two years before going into apprenticeship. Those attending college-preparatory studies are in school for three years before continuing their education at universities or colleges.

In addition to the ordinary classes, Brundalen has some students with special needs. We have different groups of students who require alternative classes. It spans from students with multi handicaps to students with behavioural challenges and those in between. So the student group at Brundalen is a diverse and colourful group of young people, with many different needs and interests.

Brundalen was appointed demonstration school for the 2005-2007 period. This means that the school has a special responsibility when it comes to having visitors from other schools, providing information about the school’s development areas and working constantly with developing the areas that are the focus of the school. Brundalen has many areas of development, some of them are: educational use of ICT, focus on public health, active students and student democracy. When it comes to educational development, the school is amongst other things known for widespread use of ICT, integration of all students in the education and international work. Being a demonstration school means that the work done at the school is noticed by our government and there are some money grants that the school will use to better the conditions for the students. The student canteen has been redecorated and now the work has begun with creating a new and bigger school library.

About the school at Trondheim prison and the Follow up-base

Brundalen Upper Secondary School has the responsibility for the education at Trondheim Prison and at the Follow up-base. The motto for the school, both in the prison and at the Follow up-base is “Room for everyone – an eye for the individual”. This is an important goal for our daily work with the students.

The school inside Trondheim Prison offers both college preparatory courses and some vocational courses in mechanical engineering, building and construction trades, and design and handicraft. At the school they are most known for having used student business as a part of the learning process. The students are involved in every step of the process of building a business. They have to come up with a business plan, make a product, do advertising, manage the business and close the business at the end of the school year. The first student business was called “Most Wanted” and they produced silver jewellery. This was very successful and both teachers and students learned a lot from this project. The student business idea is now a part of the work at the school and every year a new business is started by the students. Some of the teachers have attended a course at Høgskolen i Akershus (The college of Akershus county) where they learned more about this method.

The Follow up-base is a second chance school where the student body is very diverse when it comes to background and needs. The students are either on community service, previously convicted or in a half-way house. We also have students who have been convicted to drug rehab and the school can be a part of their rehabilitation programme. It is an open school where students can come to refresh their knowledge about a subject, take exams and get diplomas. We cooperate closely with the prison, the probation centre and different drug rehabilitation centres. At the Follow up-base we offer education fit to the student’s needs and goals. The school has the common subjects in vocational studies, such as Norwegian, mathematics, science studies and social studies, and when there's a need the students can get education in a vocational subject. We also have college-preparatory courses and basic computer courses for those who want that. We have a workshop where the students can do handicraft and in the fall of 2007 a student business was also started at the Follow up-base. The student business is called “Glassbasen” (The glass base) where they make products of glass, for example candle holders, bowls and glass jewellery. The student business sells its products directly to customers or at a shop at the premises of Brundalen upper secondary school.

Since the school inside the prison and at the Follow up-base are branches of Brundalen Upper Secondary School, most of the teachers have their post divided between Brundalen and the prison or the Follow up-base. This means that the teachers are a part of a big organisation and they have colleagues with whom to discuss challenges within their subjects. Since the teachers work with both youths and adults, the challenges are never the same from day to day, and there are different ways of thinking when it comes to teaching the two different groups. It is therefore important to have a good work environment both within the prison and Follow up-base and at Brundalen Upper Secondary School.