Contrary to what is often presumed in international public discussion, the Finnish comprehensive education has become increasingly segregated in recent decades, especially in urban areas.

The main aim of the project Local Educational Ethos: a study on well-performing comprehensive schools in disadvantaged neighbourhoods (LEE) is to focus on how local schools in disadvantaged neighbourhoods are making a difference. LEE aims to determine how schools can successfully tackle problems of segregation and alleviate the effects of local disadvantage so as to create equal opportunities for all pupils.

We understand school ethos as a dynamic concept operating on different levels. It brings together national and local level policies, schools and neighbourhoods, and social relationships between different actors.

This project is positioned at the crossroads of educational and social sciences, as well as urban studies. The empirical context is in the Helsinki metropolitan area. In order to grasp the complexity of the phenomenon, a mixed-methods approach will be applied.

The empirical material consists of

  • documents from the local authorities
  • school-specific quantitative data
  • ethnographic observation and interview data in schools and the surrounding neighbourhoods

The results of this study will have both economic and, especially, social significance on the individual, local, and societal levels.