School has finished at last! Broken up, as we used to say in Australia! Now the kids are on holidays. Yesterday was the skolavslutning (school closure) for Viktoriaskolan. These days we have tow avslutnings, the first early for Isak and the second a few hours later for Hanna and Samuel. We farewelled the year 9 kids who move on to gymnasium next year (senior high school). The younger kids performed various song and dance numbers. The weather was good and it felt like summer.
The school scene is changing in Örebro, indeed in Sweden in general. Our local kommunal (state) school in Brickebacken is closing for years 7, 8 and 9. So students in those years will need to move elsewhere. Samuel and Hanna will get two new students from Brickebackenskola. The majority, presumably, will move to Almbyskola, which is a few kilometres away.
But there is also a new school being built at the bottom of our hill. We walk, cycle or drive past it almost every day. It is going up on some vacant land next to Brickebergskyrka (where the skolavslutnings for both Viktoriaskolan and Brickebackensskola were held yesterday). The new school is a so called “friskola” and is part of a chain of new schools in Sweden called Kuskapsskolor – “knowledge schools”. Seems an odd name for a school. What else, apart from knowledge, are schools supposed to impart?
Perhaps that is a silly question. Education is about a lot more than academic knowledge. It is about growing up, about learning to relate to others, about taking on responsibility and becoming a responsible citizen. Kunskapsskolan is very focussed on knowledge, and particularly on individual learning. They are unashamedly aiming to become schools with the highest marks in Sweden, a rather provocative aim in a country where standing above the crowd is not generally encouraged.
These three are our local schools: Brickebackenskolan – which recently was voted by its students as being the most safe and secure in Örebro, Kunskapsskolan – whose ambition is to be the most successful academically in Örebro, and Viktoriaskolan – whose name means victory, and where our children have been very happy for the last four years.