Basic education in English

Basic education in English means studying (almost) entirely in English. In all schools, you have to study some Finnish language and literature, and those studies are conducted in Finnish. You can study Finnish as a mother tongue or as a second or foreign language, depending on your skills in the language. Prior Finnish skills are not required, with the exception of eight-graders and ninth-graders, who should have basic command of spoken Finnish when applying.

In basic education in English, about 80 per cent of the instruction is in English and 20 per cent in Finnish.

Who is it for?

English-language education is a good option for you if you want to study entirely in English, have studied in English before, or are perhaps planning to stay in Helsinki only for a while. Your English skills should be of native or near-native level, and you need to pass a language test that measures your English skills. English-language education has a limited availability of places, and sometimes there are more eligible applicants than free places. If your desired school does not have availability, we encourage you to consider other options introduced in this guide.

When applying to eighth or ninth grade, you should also have some basic skills in spoken Finnish. The Finnish national core curriculum requires you to complete some studies of Finnish language and literature, and meeting this requirement in basic education in English is simply not possible in such a short time with no prior language skills.

Bear in mind that options for English-medium education in Finland after basic education are still quite limited. We therefore strongly recommend that you actively develop your Finnish skills to ensure that you are able to continue your education smoothly. For children with at least some skills in Finnish, bilingual education might even be a better option in this regard.

How to apply?

There are three paths to enrol in English-language education. These three paths are:

  1. Main admission for future first-graders (in January) and future seventh-graders (in December)
  2. Continuous admission for applicants who move to Helsinki in the middle of basic education, open all year round.
  3. For future first-graders: supplementary admission round for free places (Application period May–July, language test in early August).

    If you miss the application period or do not meet the admission criteria, we usually recommend you a place in a preparatory education class, or advise you to contact private schools offering English-language education. Please note that in the admission to municipal schools in Helsinki, we are obliged to give priority to Helsinki residents.

List of schools offering basic education in English: