This article explores the reintroduction of national school inspections in Sweden in 2003 with reference to the problems they were intended to resolve, by applying an approach used in order to uncover representations of policy problems to official policy texts and by drawing on theories of governance. The problem was represented as a need for additional state control in order to uphold equivalence and quality in education. It is concluded that state steering by an extensive inspection scheme means that the reins have been tightened, in line with the theoretical state-centric approach to governance, and that values of educational quality and equivalence are being re-embedded in a regime of external scrutiny and control.

Keywords: School inspection, Sweden, problem representation, governance