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Physical Education teachers perform miracles at special school


At Höghammargymnasiet, physical education is all about the joy of movement and the school collaborates closely with University of Gävle.


Höghammargymnasiet in Bollnäs is over 100 years old; it has always been a primary and secondary special school. Today, it is the only Riksgymnasium ( a secondary scool awarded special status that admits pupils from the whole of Sweden) in athletics for people with intellectual disabilities.

For many years, Höghammargymnasiet has collaborated with the study programme in sport science at University of Gävle, and each year students visit the school when they take the course “Adapted Physical Activity.”

Emilia Holkedahl is in the last stages of the programme in sport science and has spent a few weeks at Höghammargymnasiet to watch, learn and teach lessons in physical education.

"The most fun I've had"

Emilia Holkedahl

Emilia Holkedahl

“This was probably the most fun I've had during my entire time as a student. To not just just read about it, but to actually work with the pupils has given me a deep understanding for the important benefits of allowing everyone to practice,” Emilia says.

“I appreciate this approach. It is not the individual who should have to adapt. Instead, the coach should adapt to the individual.”

Everything can be adapted

Emilia explains that all games can be adapted without ruining the game itself. The net can be lowered in badminton, or you could use a balloon instead of a ball to slow down the game. In football, a lighter ball can be used if someone lacks the strength


“It is not about creating a new game, because they still want to feel that they are playing badminton. Rather, it is about adapting the game badminton to them.”

Emilia stresses the importance of daring to try new things, especially in groups that may appear to be especially vulnerable, like newly arrived immigrants or people with various disabilities.

“You may be overly protective about them, thinking that they are too vulnerable to handle mistakes you might make. Experienced PE teachers here encourage us to talk to the individuals in the group, as they are the experts on how they want to do things. We should let our guard down and stop imagining that we are the experts.”

"I've never regretted my choice, this is great"

Anders Isaksson has been a PE teacher since 1987. He became a teacher to pursue what he thinks is important: to teach and, in the end, to promote public health.

Anders Isaksson

Anders Isaksson

“Most people need some form of support to engage in regular physical activity. But to enable as many people as possible to experience the joy of physical activity, it needs to be adapted,” Anders Isaksson says.

“That is what public health is all about, and that is what is important. I've never regretted my choice, this is great.”

Anders believes that meeting and collaborating with the University's study programme and research in the field is incredibly important to pupils and staff at Höghammar.

“Our contribution is to promote public health, especially to those who need support," Anders Isaksson says

Sven Blomqvist

Sven Blomqvist

Sven Blomqvist, senior lecturer, and active researcher in sport science at University of Gävle, is impressed by how well the PE teachers at Höghammar adapt each activity to the pupils’ needs and abilities.

“I am passionate about adaption. Adaptions like these give many more people in society the opportunity to be physically active and to achieve better health. Our students gain such skills and when they evaluate the study programme, visiting Höghammars is very highly rated,” Sven Blomqvist says


Sven Blomqvist, senior lecturer in sport science at University of Gävle
Phone: 070-341 95 01
E-mail: sven.blomqvist@hig.se

Emilia Holkedahl, student study programme in sprot science
Phone: 072-727 01 93

Anders Isaksson, physical education teacher at Höghammar
Phone: 070-353 91 42

Text: Douglas Öhrbom
Phone Höghammar: Lucas Lund

Published by: Douglas Öhrbom Page responsible: Anders Munck Updated: 2021-12-06
Högskolan i Gävle
Box 801 76 GÄVLE
026-64 85 00 (växel)