Bilingual education

In bilingual education, 25–50 per cent of the teaching is in the target language, and the rest is in Finnish. Bilingual education is a great choice if you want to achieve strong skills in the target language, but also want to make sure that you develop full Finnish-language proficiency, which will give you more choices when planning your studies after basic education. Studying in two languages has many benefits; for example, it develops your problem-solving skills, creative thinking and adaptability.

What is bilingual education like?

In bilingual education, the languages of instruction are Finnish (the school’s primary language of instruction) and a second language (Chinese, English, Estonian, North Sami, Russian or Spanish). Each school specifies the amount of the second language instruction in its curriculum. The goals and content of teaching in bilingual education are the same as in regular basic education.

How to apply?

Bilingual education has a limited availability of places, and you need to pass a language test to be accepted. The language test measures your skills in the target language and in Finnish, and your readiness for bilingual education. When applying to first grade, it is enough to know either Finnish or the target language, but for upper grades, you should be appropriately proficient in both languages.

There are three paths to enrol in bilingual education. These three paths are:

  1. Main admission for future first-graders (in January) and future seventh-graders (in December)
  2. Additional admission for all applicants if all free places have not been filled during the main admissions. (Application period May–July, language tests in early August).
  3. Continuous admission for applicants who move to Helsinki in the middle of basic education, open all year round.

Please note that in the admission to municipal schools in Helsinki, we are obliged to give priority to Helsinki residents. 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.

The Finnish-North Sami bilingual education programme is open for all applicants, and does not have a language test.

List of schools offering bilingual education according to different languages:




Finnish-North Sami



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Bilingual education