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Education Department >  Comprehensive education > 
 Comprehensive education

All children living in Finland are subject to compulsory education. As a general rule, compulsory education starts in the year when a child becomes seven years of age. Children usually complete their compulsory education at comprehensive school, unless they receive instruction in some other way. It is also possible to grant a child permission to start school one year earlier or later than normal. Compulsory education also applies to those children of immigrant origin, who are permanently resident in Finland.

Comprehensive schools provide basic education (primary and lower secondary levels) and their tasks include both teaching and a broader educational role. Their objective is to provide each pupil with the opportunity for diverse growth and learning and for development of healthy self-esteem. All comprehensive schools provide good basic skills and knowledge and sufficient all-round learning.

Free basic education     
Basic education and learning materials are provided free of charge at all schools maintained by the City, at private contracting schools and at state-owned schools. Private specialised schools may charge enrolment and tuition fees.

The capital’s diversified educational and teaching provision includes:

  • Education services for Finnish- and Swedish-speaking people
  • 5 foreign-language schools
  • Plenty of strong focus on different subjects, such as mathematics and natural sciences, languages and arts and practical subjects
  • 9 upper secondary schools with special educational tasks
  • Multicultural instruction including 40 different native languages
  • Well-organised special education with ample resources at both comprehensive schools and upper secondary schools
  • Good school psychologists’ and school welfare officers’ services at comprehensive schools
  • Learning outcomes above the national average.


Values of teaching


Pupil assessment and curricula


Contact information for schools


Education in foreign languages

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City of Helsinki - Education Department