A couple of pennies that dropped for me this week about the differences between the Swedish and British school systems.
Firstly, while contributing to the AmDram thread I realised that the “School play” is a particularly Anglo-Saxon phenomenon. Locust’s classmates in Vasastaden never got the chance to see her as Lady MacBeth, Edda Gabler or Miss Jean Brodie as there is no teaching of drama in Swedish schools. And no Drama Clubs either. That is taken care of by an outside organisation such as Kulturama, an organisation do a marvellous job teaching music, dance, art.
Next, there are no school sports teams. Once again, this is done by sports clubs, where volunteer coaches do sterling work. So young players are loyal to their club not their school. (On one occasion alone, I played rugby for my school: they must have been really desperate for players. I was Walter the Softy pitched against 15 Dennis the Menaces from Wembley. Never again! I went back to languidly reading Baudelaire.)
Finally, there are no assemblies at any point in the school week. This used to be the starting point of every school day for me. The headmaster would always give a short speech, often railing against the barbarians, the “shabby minority” who were bringing the school’s name into disrepute.
The only moment when the principal addresses the entire school in Sweden is on the first and last day of the school year. The end of term at Björkhagen School is quite an emotional event. Lots of flowers, white student hats and white dresses. And the teachers doing a rousing version of Alice Cooper’s School’s Out.
A friend of mine works for an English School. Not only do they teach everything in English, there is also a house system, strict discipline and a far more formal atmosphere. It’s all first names in the Swedish school system, there it is titles: Mr Johnson, Mrs May, Mr Farage etc. All this really appeals to parents who think Swedish schools have gone to the dogs.
My question to you is: what ought to be on the curriculum in the modern school?
Which new areas of knowledge are not getting the attention the attention they deserve?
Which older subjects should be vigorously protected? If it is not graded, or is not “useful” then a subject is in the danger zone these days.
I leave you with a song by They Might be Giants, They certainly know about blending education and entertainment.