Bilingual education

Pupils can enrol to bilingual education from Grade 1 in primary school or from Grade 7 in lower secondary school. A pupil who is moving to Helsinki and has previously participated in bilingual education in another city can apply via the continuous admission route. The city offers bilingual education in Chinese, English, Estonian, North Sami, Russian, Spanish and Swedish. Learn more about the admission criteria and different ways to apply below.

What is bilingual education like?

The City of Helsinki offers bilingual basic education in English, Swedish, Spanish, Chinese, Northern Sámi, Russian and Estonian. One of these languages are used as the teaching language in addition to Finnish. About 25–50% of teaching is provided in the target language and the rest in Finnish. Each school determines in its curriculum how much teaching is given in another language. Bilingual basic education is offered at certain Finnish-language schools.

Bilingual education develops the pupil’s skills of hearing and reading comprehension, writing and oral expression. It also promotes general interest and readiness for language studies. As in basic education in general, bilingual basic education develops the pupil’s skills in all subjects based on their age level.

Applying to bilingual education

Application period in January

Application period to bilingual education is open when all future first-graders enrol to school in Helsinki.

See instructions on continuous admission below in section 'Finnish–English: Continuous admission for grades 1–9, open all year round'.

You can enrol your child electronically through the Asti online service(Link leads to external service). You can also enrol your child by visiting the school of your first priority on 24 January 2024 from 8.00–10.00. 

Only Helsinki-based first-graders born in 2017 can enrol using the Asti service. If you cannot enrol via Asti, please use this separate electronic form(Link leads to external service).

Children can apply for five different schools/programmes. The options are processed in the order indicated by the guardian, so that options with an entrance exam are processed first, followed by the rest. If the child is admitted to their first choice, they will not be offered a place in other programmes/schools. After the application period all choices are binding, and if the child is admitted to a programme/school, the guardian is obliged to accept the place for them. 

The decisions on pupil admission will be sent to homes via the Asti online service and post on 8 March 2024.

Admission criteria for applicants in bilingual education starting in grade 1

  • Applicant to grade 1 in bilingual Finnish–English education: readiness to study in a bilingual environment. The applicant demonstrates this in a language test, which measures the applicant’s general linguistic skills and abilities. The applicant decides whether they want to take the test in Finnish or in English.
  • Other language combinations: age-appropriate skills in both languages of instruction
  • Applicant to grade 1 does not need to know how to read or write.

Language test

For more information about the language test, please visit the website of the school you are interested in.

Applicant for grade 1 does not need to know how to read or write. The language test measures the child's linguistic skills in general, and there is no need to prepare for it in advance. 

If the child is in Grade 6 in a municipal school

The application period for the school year 2024–2025 has ended. See instructions on continuous admission below in section 'Finnish–English: Continuous admission for grades 1–9, open all year round'.

The decisions on pupil admission will be posted to homes on 22 March 2024.

Applicants in other cities and abroad: use the paper application

If your child is not enrolled in a municipal school in Helsinki, apply to bilingual education starting in grade 7 by submitting the paper application. 

You can apply up to five different schools or programmes. You can use the same application form to apply to fully English-language education and to weighted-curriculum classes.

The application period for the school year 2024–2025 has ended.

PDF application form for English-language education

The application form will be uploaded here closer to the application period.

Other school options for bilingual Finnish–English education in Grades 7–9

In addition to the municipal schools offering English-language classes, the following lower secondary schools organise basic education as bilingual Finnish-English education for grades 7–9:

Register your child for bilingual Finnish-Swedish education when enrolling to school in January. Read more about enrolling to school.

There is no language test for Finnish-Swedish teaching. If there are more registered students than places, the students will be chosen at random.

If a pupil moves to Helsinki in the middle of basic education and has previously studied in bilingual Finnish–English education elsewhere in Finland, the pupil can apply for bilingual Finnish–English education if the following criteria are met:

Admission criteria for applicants in bilingual education

  • The pupil lives in Helsinki. You can submit an application before moving to Helsinki, but in order to get a school place, the pupil's address must be in Helsinki according to the Finnish population information system.
  • The pupil has received bilingual (Finnish-English) education provided elsewhere in Finland in accordance with the Basic Education Act. 
    Please note: We ask all applicants to provide certificates of previous studies in bilingual education, and if necessary, we contact the school in question to confirm the information. Studying the target language as one of the school subjects does not meet the admission criteria.
  • Based on the language test, the pupil has sufficient language skills and competence to participate in instuction both in Finnish and in English.

How to apply for bilingual Finnish–English education via continuous admission

  1. Fill in the online application form.

    Fill in the online application form below. Attach the most recent certificate or statement from the pupil’s bilingual basic education studies.

    We will request all applicants to present certificates of previous studies in bilingual basic education. If necessary, we will check with the pupil's former school to verify the information. Studying the target languages as one subject is not sufficient to meet the criteria.

    Electronic application form: Continuous admission for bilingual education.(Link leads to external service)

    If you cannot fill in the electronic form, fill in the PDF form and submit it to the Education Division:

    PDF application form, bilingual Finnish–English education, continuous admission

  2. Wait for the school to contact you to invite you for the language test.

    The education coordinator will contact you within two weeks after you have filled in the application form. During school holidays, such as during June and July, the contacting period may be longer. The education coordinator will give you instructions for taking the language test. If the criteria above are met, the child will be invited to a language test for testing your child's language skills.

  3. Take the child to the language test.

    The school will contact you to agree on a language test and place. Please note that the schools do not hold the testing events during summer holidays in June and July.

  4. Wait for the results and the admission decision.

    The decisions on pupil admission are made based on the language test results as soon after the test as possible. If your child is admitted, the school will contact you to tell you when school starts. You must accept the school place at your first convenience. We wish you all success on your school journey!

Application period 13 May–28 July 2024

An additional supplementary application round can be arranged for bilingual basic education only if the teaching groups have free places. The supplementary application round will be held during the spring and summer so that the accepted pupils can start school in a new class in August 2024.

Applicant must always take a language test to apply for bilingual basic education. You can also use the same form to apply for free places in English-language basic education. If you apply to multiple schools, list the schools in the order of preference. Schools with the same language programme use the same language test and the results of your child can be taken into consideration in the pupil admissions of all these schools.

If you are interested in studying in bilingual Finnish-North Sámi education, please contact the Pasila comprehensive school principal directly. There are free places available at all grade levels 1-7.

Helsinki-based applicants given priority

If you are an applicant living in Helsinki, you can apply through the supplementary application for the 1st and 7th grade only if you have moved to Helsinki after January 2024. Applicants living outside Helsinki can also apply, but Helsinki residents are given priority in the pupil admission. However, applicants living outside Helsinki can’t participate in the supplementary admission round if they have already applied for a place earlier in autumn 2023 or spring 2024.

The applicant must have an address in Helsinki when the school starts. If the pupil later moves out of Helsinki, they can continue at the school in Helsinki until the end of the school term. After that, they can continue only if the school has free places.

Apply with an electronic application form

Apply by using an electronic form. The form opens on Monday 13 May at 12.00 and closes in the evening at 12.00 on Sunday 28 July 2024. Using the electronic form requires a valid email address. All guardians of the applicant must agree on sending the application, but the electronic identification via email is required from one guardian only.

Link to the electronic application form.(Link leads to external service)

No Wilma username and password are needed for filling in the application form, but you need to have a valid email address. 

Start by writing your email address in the address field and click “Send verification”. Then, go to your inbox, open the email that you received and click on the link in the message, and you can proceed to fill in the application form. 

After submitting the form you will receive a confirmation email to confirm that we have received your application. However, the confirmation email does not include a detailed description of the options that you chose.

If you have problems with filling in the form, check the following things:

  • If you have previously logged in on Wilma using an existing username and password, log out.
  • Clear your browsing history.
  • Change the language of Wilma to match the language of the application form.
  • If none of the above works, try again later.
  • If necessary, contact eduguidance@hel.f(Link opens default mail program)

Language tests for bilingual Finnish-English education on Thursday 1 August 2024

The language test for bilingual Finnish-English education will be held on Thursday 1 August 2024 at Malmi Comprehensive School (Kesälä unit). We will email all applicants further instructions regarding the language test.

For Grade 1, you can choose whether you take the language test in Finnish or English. Please specify in the application form which language your child will take the test in.

For other grades, you will be tested in both languages.

Language tests for other bilingual education options on Thursday 1 August 

Each school providing bilingual education holds a language test for the free places on Thursday 1 August at the following locations:

  • Finnish-Spanish at Käpylä Comprehensive School
  • Finnish-Chinese at Meilahti Primary School
  • Finnish-Estonian at Latokartano Comprehensive School
  • Finnish-Russian at Myllypuro Comprehensive School

If you are applying for Grade 1 in bilingual Finnish-Estonian or Finnish-Chinese education, you can choose which language you want to take the test in. Please specify your choice in the application form.

We will email all applicants further instructions regarding the language test.

Free places in bilingual education in 2024–2025

If the number of places is 0, you can still apply. It is possible that places will become available before August.
If there is a dash (-) in the box, the programme is not available at all for this grade.




1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Kulosaari Primary School 1 5 0 1 1 0 - - -
Laajasalo Comprehensive School 1 2 0 1 0 0 4 4 -
Malmi Comprehensive School 2 1 3 4 0 0 10 9 -
Töölö Primary School 2 3 7 4 0 0 - - -
Vesala Comprehensive School 4 0 4 6 4 0 5 6 0
Finnish-English, free places on Grades 1 to 9


  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Käpylä Comprehensive School,


0 0 0 10 2 0 2 0 0

Latokartano Comprehensive School,


14 14 13 7 - 9 9 - -

Myllypuro Comprehensive School,


0 5 5 5 5 5 - - -

Meilahti Primary School,


17 9 11 12 15 14 - - -

Meilahti Lower Secondary School,


- - - - - -      
Other language pairs,  free places on Grades 1 to 9

Admission decisions

The schools will send out the admission decisions to guardians by email.

Further information and enquiries about supplementary admission

English-language and Bilingual Services

If you have questions about the supplementary admission or applying, get in touch with Eduguidance: opens default mail program)
+358 9 310 38998(Link starts a phone call)

Which schools offer bilingual education?

Grades  1–6

Grades 7–9 

Grades 1–5

Grade 1 as of the academic year 2024–2025