Bridging Service for the schools of Bydel Grünerløkka

With 62,500 inhabitants, Grünerløkka is Oslo's most populated district. It also has some of the highest social contrasts in the city. The district and The Norwegian Education Agency are experiencing a high drop-out rate between middle school and upper secondary school. But how can this complex issue be addressed? By building out services and offerings that can support at-risk youth.

Grünerløkka worked with Designit to make this happen. Through research, we found that the critical period going from middle to upper secondary school is where there is a missing element between the district and schools, and as such, a lot of drop-outs happen. Without completed upper secondary education, entering the job market can be more difficult, which can further cause people to fall between the cracks later in life. It also leads to 30 million NOK annually in social-economic costs.

The reasons for dropping out are many, they're complex, and there's no single root cause to point at and solve. The project's goal was to systematise and build on the existing services and offerings for young people at risk of dropping out, with a result that supports them towards graduating.

We worked with Bydel Grünerløkka to design initiatives aiding young people in this vulnerable phase using comprehensive visualisation, insights, collaborative creation, and user testing. The process helped us see the broader picture of this complex problem and strategise on more robust design solutions. Some key findings were the lack of a mandate to follow up with students in this period and the lack of collaborative structures between public institutions for the shift to occur. This became a key focus for the design work.

The Bridging Service is an offering at Grünerløkka's middle schools, where a bridging guide works closely with at-risk young people, parents and other relevant actors, such as teachers and advisors, to ensure they have all the necessary support to move to upper secondary school. They have a flexible role that goes beyond the school and are mandated to follow up with the at-risk youth from when they start their final grade. The offering’s aim is completion of the final grade of middle school, a safe transition and a good start in upper secondary school.

‘One of the major challenges the school has had is following up with young people after they leave tenth grade. The bridging guides are of great help to those young people who need follow-up after they have started upper secondary school. These are often young people who are difficult to reach, difficult to make agreements with and difficult to follow up with, and the school doesn't have the capacity to help that these young people need. The legislation states that the school must follow up, but in reality, they don't have the capacity to do that. Here, the bridging guides relieve a lot of the burden.’

School leader and advisor

Philip Sacro, one of the bridging guides. Photo: Willy Nikkers / DOGA

Young people tell us, "It's as if you've read my mind with this". The service meets real user needs and will ensure better collaboration between the district and schools to reduce drop-outs. From the fall of 2021, a pilot has been run at Sofienberg School to iterate around the solution and estimate its effect. We are proud to say that in the first year of its release, 100% of bridging service students successfully moved from middle secondary to upper secondary with the help of Grünerløkka's new service.

‘In summary, (the Bridging Service) is very, very good! It's a much more comprehensive way of working with the transition to upper secondary school. Great relief for the advisers as more people can follow up, especially about career guidance. There is a great need for that from when school starts until the application deadline of 1 March. The bridging guides relieve and help in career guidance and provide additional guidance in educational choices. This is worth its weight in gold.’

School leader and advisor

Want to learn more about how you gain a holistic view of your challenges or hear more about this project? Get in touch.



Bydel Grünnerløkka



Project team

Raoul Koreman

Dr. Pardis Shafafi

Get in touch

Kaja Misvær Kistorp

Director of Service Design,

[email protected]