HAUSKA TAVATA (Pleased to meet you)
Photograph of Year 9 and 10 pupils with Ms Pilvi Savolainen, Ms Milla Honkanen, Mr Paavo Juutilainen, Mr Jouni Kuisma and Headteacher, Ms Murthar
Stewards Academy hosted a visit by teachers from Helsinki this week following a fact finding visit there organised by the Association of Secondary Headteachers in Essex (ASHE). The education system in Finland is recognised as achieving very good results as measured by international tests (the PISA tests) and the visits were designed to help teachers in both countries to exchange ideas and learn from each other. Finland has no Inspection system, no league tables of schools and no external examinations or tests until the age of 18. Teachers are universally trusted, very well trained (with their university degrees paid for by the state) and classes are generally between 15-24 in size. Finnish teachers were particularly impressed by the resources, facilities and the support staff structure we have – far more than they have in their own school system.
As well as a chance to learn about the UK education system, curriculum and assessment, the Finnish teachers visited classrooms and spoke to staff and students. Milla Honkanen, an English teacher from Puistola School, said that she was struck by the excellent relationships between students and staff, the politeness and good behaviour of students and the pride they had for their school. Jouni Kuisma, a Maths and Computer Science teacher, said he was envious of the ICT resources we have and the technical support available. English, Maths and Science teachers will now be exchanging resources and ideas about teaching and learning as a main objective of the visit is to develop cooperative learning between teachers in the two countries. The Finnish teachers will be returning in the autumn term, this time with a group of students as the plan is to set up a student exchange. The Finnish Embassy has been very supportive of the Essex initiative and we are very grateful to Phil Bell, Professional Officer for ASHE, who set it up and organised it. We now look forward to hosting the student exchange next year.