What Principals can learn from Finnish education? And vice versa

We are happy to share a great summary by one of the Principal Study Tour in Finland participants, Principal Shanthan Naidu from Orakei School. He attended our program in Tampere in April together with other 18 experts from New Zealand and Australia.

“I have recently returned from a principal leadership tour in Finland! 🇫🇮

Embracing their back-to-basics approach with a renewed emphasis on the science of teaching and learning was truly enlightening. Entry-level educators hold Master’s degrees. 🎓 The profession is held in high regard, fostering a culture of trust and high autonomy among teachers and principals alike. Schools were well designed, no shoes allowed indoors, a warm meal provided everyday for all students, each school equipped with a commercial kitchen and cafe space, a community hub set up in schools, flexible timetables, school finishes at 1:30 pm for junior classes, no national testing & no competition between schools, promoting a belief in quality education for all. The curriculum is not politicised and governments do not influence or dictate changes to the national curriculum. Watching students having morning tea outside in temperatures of – 4 degree’s was interesting to watch.

While I can’t encapsulate the entire experience, witnessing play-based learning in a Forest school amidst the snow and woods was unforgettable. And the city library? It redefined community engagement with its innovative design and multifunctional spaces. The city library was extraordinary, the thinking behind the design was to have the library designed as a community living room, playstation rooms for families to book, 3D printers available for hire, screen printing tools, music studios for hire and of course a cafe as the central hub to all activity.

Principalship in Finland is revered as the top profession, a standard we can aspire to in NZ. It was great connecting with school leaders from Australia and NZ while touring and visiting schools and universities in Finland. It provided the basis for deep and through provoking discussions during our afternoon sessions at Tampere University. Here are a few pics from the experience. Attending my first ice hockey game was also memorable experience, with the NZ/Aus contingent adopting Tampere as our adopted ice hockey team.

🚀Our NZ education system has much to offer, and Finnish educators could gain valuable insights from visiting our schools, exploring teacher practices, mentoring programs, and observing how cultural diversity is celebrated.”

Thank you very much for this valuable summary! Click here if you are interested in reading more about our pre-scheduled Principal Study Tour in Finland. Or do you prefer travelling in a group? Check out the great selection by Tours for Teachers!