Being one of the best places to live in Europe, there’s a lot you can do and learn as a resident in Finland, even if you are moving to the country with your family.
There are a lot of educational options available for you from public comprehensive schools to private comprehensive schools receiving public funding, international colleges, and language or culture-based institutions.
The Finnish academic system is world-renowned and open to everybody. So, there’s no need to be alarmed or concerned with quality education even if you are moving with a toddler or children below the 18.
In this guide, we will reveal some of the most iconic public and private schools in Finland. By the end of this guide, you should have no problem finding and enrolling your child into an institution that provides excellent academic training.
School system in the country
The Finnish academic system is popular for its equal education system and high quality of teaching and learning program.
Equity and equality in the educational system are promoted by ensuring everyone has equal access to high-quality government-accredited schools found across the state.
The best thing about the Finnish academic system is that education is free of charge, even in higher institutions.
Children in primary and secondary levels can also get a single hot meal for free. If your child has a special diet, you can inform his teacher beforehand.
The Finnish academic structure is flexible and can suit any student’s needs.
The Finnish National Board of Education [FNBE] is an agency under the Ministry of Education, charged with the responsibility of developing and maintaining educational facilities in Finland.
It also controls other fundamental academic activities like the early childhood education and care program (ECEC), pre-primary, basic education, morning and afternoon curriculum for schoolchildren, upper secondary education, and adult education.
FNBE also ensures that teachers are highly educated, talented, and professional in their field. Teachers in basic and upper secondary educational levels must have a Masters’ Degree either in their main teaching subject or Education science.
Best schools in Finland
There are more than 100 public comprehensive schools in Finland. Some institutions like Maunula Primary School and Kulosaari Comprehensive School offer bilingual education.
In comprehensive schools, children study many compulsory subjects but can be allowed to choose optional subjects in the final grades of primary or secondary school.
While public schools are great, international and private schools are probably the best options for expats living in the country. International schools are found in large and mid-sized Finnish cities and provide state-of-the-art education using international standards and curriculum.
The English language is the primary language of instruction at most international schools, but some international schools in the country still operate using French, German, Spanish, or Russian.
Now that you know some of the key features of a private and public school, here are some of the best schools in Finland.
1. Ressu Comprehensive School
Ressu Comprehensive School is a public school located in Helsinki. It is an accredited International Baccalaureate (IB) world-system school and uses the Finnish national core curriculum and the International Baccalaureate Organization curriculum.
What makes this institution an excellent choice is the fact that it is bilingual: English and Finnish. The English language is intended for international students and students that are subject to aptitude tests.
2. The International School of Helsinki (ISH)
The International School of Helsinki is another superb institution that offers a high-quality education for students and pupils between the age of 4 and 19.
ISH values each student’s unique qualities, skills, and talents. Its qualified teachers help in developing each student through individualized learning.
The International School of Helsinki also has a program is based on the IB system of education and uses the English language as the primary language of instruction and communication.
3. The European School of Helsinki (ESH)
The European School of Helsinki (ESH) is an academic institution accredited to the European Schools’ network. It is a state-supported college that provides quality education in three languages: English, Finnish and French.
According to their official website, the mission of the European School of Helsinki is to “offer diverse and high-quality education” to students from “different linguistic and cultural backgrounds.”
Starting school in Finland
Enrolling your child into a Finnish school is very simple and straightforward.
Since children must be enrolled by their parents, your municipality would send you a compulsory education notice (oppivelvollisuusilmoitus) at the beginning of each year [usually in January].
This notice has a list of schools (lähikoulu) close to your home and recommended for your child.
If there’s any school you like, you can begin the enrolment process by applying online or visiting your preferred college for more information and a detailed enrollment process directly from the school staff.