Picture the scene; I am wearing a corset top, a faux leather miniskirt, fishnets and platform shoes.   

No fear, I haven’t changed careers to writing smut, as the above details what I basically wore to school on a daily basis from ages thirteen to seventeen.

The Finnish school system is frequently featured in the media, with the most recent being the BBC coverage asking why Finland outshines the UK despite the fact that we have fewer classes and less schoolwork.

Let’s make this clear: I’m by no means an education expert but these notions are often brought up without asking anyone who has actually been educated in the Finnish system.

I think the reason why we outshine the UK is that I was allowed to come to school looking like a cast member of a Tim Burton film.

I have spoken to British students from around the country; girls who have had their nails checked every Monday for nail polish, the many different rules as to how to have your hair, with some schools more lax and some very strict.


The thought that a teacher would’ve had anything to say as to how the students looked is simply unheard of in Finland; the only occasion I remember a teacher ever getting involved into the way I dressed was when one of the many chains in my trousers got stuck in a bench and she yanked me out.

Maybe I am just biased, but I feel like this time used for nail polish checks could be better utilised, for example making sure that every kid in the classroom knows how to read and write.

Despite my appearance, I was a good kid and that’s all my teachers ever cared about; such things as nail polish or calling the teacher sir or miss didn’t matter.

And of course, the core reason why I believe in my heart of hearts that Finnish education is deemed as one of the best in the world is because Finland doesn’t have private schools (or public as you Brits call them).

We could rest assured that the school down the road taught the exact same things we learnt; whether your dad was the prime minister or on the dole you would be sitting in the same classroom.

There we were, the miniskirts, the leather trousers, tube tops and hoodies, and as far as I know, we all turned out ok.