‘Students aren’t bad, school is’ – Courtney Aljaradat


Did you know that the school system we use today in the UK has been this way since children were expected to help on farms? This is why the summer holidays exist. Methods of teaching are extremely out of date which makes children not perform as well at school. Everyone learns differently and at different paces however schools teach everyone in the same way and are deemed to be low achievers just because they struggle to learn in the way they are expected to. SEND students also get little support as the school system is structured in a way to only help a certain group of children which also leads to many children feeling overwhelmed or struggling in a school environment as UK schools appear to go for a ‘one size fits all approach’ which clearly won’t work as not every child is the same.

UK schools also lack in teaching creative subjects and mainly focus on the main subjects such as maths, English and science. This leads to a lack of creative subjects being taught such as drama, art, music and so on, which many students may exceed in more than they do with the core subjects. Students who are better at creative subjects are at risk of getting low self-esteem due to the schools making them feel like they don’t do well, just because they may struggle at academic subjects but be amazing at creative subjects. However this isn’t exactly the schools fault for looking down on students talents outside of the core subjects: there’s a thing called “Progress 8” which measures how well a school is performing and is based only on a few core subjects. So, it’s understandable that schools neglect creative subjects in favour of English, Maths and Sciences.

I was amazing at drama but I struggled with core subjects. Luckily, I did well in English. However, I struggled with maths so the teachers pushed and pushed me to get a passing grade. This lead me to feel stress and anxiety in class and at home, which made my mental wellbeing worse. My excellent grades in drama were never praised by the school, and even my peers told me that subjects like drama are easy and anyone can pass them.

In contrast, the Finnish education system has gained a positive reputation for being the best in the world. One of the reasons why is because they don’t have any formal tests until the age of 18, unlike in the UK where students are tested as young as 7. On top of that students in Finland start school at the age of 7 which is different to the UK where children start at 4. This gives more time for younger students to spend time outside of school with their family and learn about the world instead of being stuck in a classroom where many young children struggle. Finnish schools are also more relaxed, with students getting more break times for children to relax.

Overall, the UK school system needs to take into consideration the mental wellbeing of students. It is clear with the poor mental health of children in this country something needs to be done and the Finnish school system has been proven to be effective.