Finland is often referred to as the country with the most alternative and free (as in freedom) education system in Europe with the highest scores for language, mathematics and science in the tri-annual international PISA tests for 15-year-old school students (an OECD program). Without the whole circus of national tests, extra funding for the 'best' school or competition between (private) schools, they know how to get there.
Schools in Finland do not have the mission to produce the best pupils, but are more concerned with how pupils and schools can work together to create the best educational opportunities for everyone. In Finland, education is collaborative and inclusive.
Even though it appears that the results of Finland have declined somewhat, there are elements of their system that may be very useful in the event of re-designing education for the 21st century, as strongly suggested by Sir Ken Robinson in his "Do schools kill creativity?"