The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Enhancing professionalism in education since 1965

Finnish schools partnership to learn from Scotland

18 June 2018

A partnership between schools in Finland and Scotland has been announced after Finnish educationalists said they were keen to learn from successes in Scottish schools.

There will be seven schools from Espoo in Finland linked with seven schools in East Lothian and the plan is for teachers and children from these areas to have the opportunity to collaborate and share best practice.

Espoo is the second largest city in Finland and its schools have recently introduced Finland’s new national curriculum to school children in its municipal area. Educationalists have been impressed with Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland and want a partnership so they can learn more, as well as share ideas and examples of high quality teaching and learning.

The visit was brokered by the General Teaching Council for Scotland whose Chief Executive, Kenneth Muir is an expert on the Finnish education system.

“We are delighted to have been able to bring together schools in Scotland to partner with schools in Espoo”, said Mr Muir.

“Espoo schools are part of the highest performing education area in Finland. Usually the world looks to Finland for educational excellence but here is an example of Finland looking to Scotland. I think this confirms the high quality that exists in many Scottish schools and proves that we need to offer more positivity about our education system and the opportunities afforded children and young people here.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “It is extremely welcome that the excellence within our schools in Scotland is being acknowledged by such a high performing and respected nation like Finland.
 
“I am especially pleased to hear of their interest in Curriculum for Excellence and the work currently going on to improve the life chances of all our children and young people.
 
“I am sure this will be a useful and informative experience for all the schools involved and I look forward to finding out more about how the project is progressing.”

Eeva-Kaisa Ikonen, Superintendent of Education and Cultural Services from Espoo said:

“Finnish schools are currently implementing new curricula with an emphasis on the school as a learning community and sustainable, collaborative learning. We have been impressed with the Scottish school improvement and professional learning programmes as well as the practices for implementing the Curriculum of Excellence. Espoo greets our new partnership with East Lothian schools and looks forward to shared learning experiences on these and other mutually significant themes.”

Fiona Robertson, Head of Education at East Lothian Council, said:

“We are very proud of our schools in East Lothian and I’m delighted that our staff will have this fantastic opportunity to share expertise and collaborate with their counterparts from Espoo. The fact that we have the opportunity to be involved in this partnership is a reflection of the quality of our schools, our hard work and determination of all in East Lothian to secure the best outcomes from our children and young people. I look forward to hearing about the experience of rolling out Finland’s new national curriculum and exploring the parallels between our education systems.”

Councillor Shamin Akhtar, Cabinet Spokesperson for Education and Children’s Services at East Lothian Council, said:

“This is a great chance to demonstrate the excellence of East Lothian’s schools. There’s great work taking place in our primary and secondary schools which we should be rightly proud of. It’s also a unique opportunity for school staff and children to hear from others, share ideas and make new connections.”

The schools involved in the visit and partnership are Cockenzie Primary; Pinkie St. Peters Primary and Nursery; Dunbar Primary; Elphinstone Primary; North Berwick High School, Musselburgh Grammar; and Dunbar Grammar.