Tuesday, 30 September 2008

I visited a brilliant Post-16 institution this morning...

I went to Makelanrinne Upper Secondary School for Sports. It's an upper secondary school with 820 students, around 600 of them young sports men and women. We were guided to the school by two of its talented students; Pihla Nikkarinen and Hannu Hastbacka. Pihla is a basketball player and Hannu is a footballer at this exceptional school where they combine their high level sports programme with their studies. Competition for places is fierce and the non-sport students are highly academic.

The students at this school choose the length of their studies, the length of their school day, the subjects they study to matriculation examination, their teachers and their schoolmates. A student programme runs for between two and four years with five eight week blocks of study every year. Students must study a minimum of 75 courses, with between 47 - 51 compulsory courses, and matriculate in four separate examinations at the end of their chosen courses in each of their chosen subjects. The compulsory elements are Finnish, another two languages, mathematics, history, religion and ethics with basic programmes in biology, geography, physics, chemistry, philosophy, psychology, social studies, art, music, health education, physical education and study counselling for all young people. The focus is on their studies, their training, sleeping and eating and managing their spare time within a framework of support and a culture of student responsibility.

I have seen the future. I saw it in Stockholm and now I have seen it in Helsinki... real Post - 16 excellence. It is amazing to see what these Post-16 institutions are like and the standards achieved by these young people in both their sports and their studies.

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