Miss Samani, Miss Shek and Mr Hickman visited our partner school, Skolen ved Nordens Plads, in Denmark from 27th November – 1st December. The school is situated just a short distance outside of the capital city of Copenhagen. It is a special school which has 175 pupils: 40 pupils have some form of mental disability, 95 are on the Autistic spectrum and 30 have emotional / social needs. They have 125 members of staff to support these 175 pupils.
The school is very well equipped and has excellent facilities to support pupils’ learning. The school is open for pupils from 7.00am until 5.00pm, currently the children are taught for about 22 hours and activities are arranged for the extra time, though the amount of teaching hours will increase in September. The high taxes in Denmark pay for all this, the basic tax rate is more than 40%.
At the moment the education system in Denmark is facing a time of new reforms which include controversial changes to teachers’ conditions, radical changes in the curriculum as well as extended school hours for pupils. We were given the opportunity to learn about their education system, particularly the range of staff, which include trained pedagogs, ( a cross between a teacher and a social worker), who are used to provide extra support for pupils and teachers.
We were lucky to visit Copenhagen at this time of the year as the festive season was in full swing. We visited the famous Tivoli Christmas market, which was decorated beautifully and had a truly magical feel. Of course, you cannot go to Compenhagen and not visit the famous Little Mermaid!
It was very interesting to compare our education system to the Danish one and it was another good opportunity to meet up with our European partners from the other schools. We are all very much looking forward to our next trip, which will be to Barcelona in May.