English-language basic education

Basic education provided in English starts either in Grade 1 of primary school or in Grade 7 of lower secondary school and must always be separately applied for via a language test. A pupil who has participated in full-time English-language basic education abroad or in another city can also apply for other grades through the continuous admission route if there is room in the class. Learn more about the different ways of applying below.

What is English-language basic education like?

The language of instruction in English-language basic education is English. The only exception is the subject of Finnish language and literature, which will be taught in Finnish. Applicants for grades 1 to 7 must have native or near-native proficiency in English, but prior skills in Finnish are not required. English-language basic education is offered  at certain Finnish-language schools.

Applicants for grades 8–9 are also required to have spoken Finnish language skills, equalling the A1 level in spoken interaction in accordance with the European framework. See the Council of Europe's Common European Framework of Reference for Languages Self-assessment grid(Link leads to external service).

The objectives and key contents of learning are the same for both English-language basic education and Finnish-speaking basic education. The English-language basic education in Ressu Comprehensive School follows the International Baccalaureate (IB) frame of reference.

English-language basic education is available in two of the city's Finnish-language comprehensive schools: Ressu Comprehensive School and Maunula Primary School, and in a few private schools that have their own application procedures. It is not available in the City's Swedish-language schools.

How to apply for English-language basic education?

Basic education provided in English starts either in Grade 1 of primary school or in Grade 7 of lower secondary school, and must always be separately applied for through a language test. A pupil who has participated in full-time English-language education abroad or in another city can also apply for other classes through the continuous admission route, if there is room in the class. Learn more about the different application methods below.

Application period in January

Please note that the application period for Grade 1 in English-language basic education ended on 28 January 2024. See instructions for continuous admission below in section 'Continuous admission for grades 1–9, open 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 posted to homes on 8 March 2024.

Entry requirements for English-language basic education in Grade 1

  • The applicant has a native-level or near native-level proficiency in English.
  • A child applying for the 1st grade does not need to be able to read or write.

Language test

Please visit the website of the school you're interested in for more information about the language test.

A child applying for the 1st grade does not need to be able to read or write when they take part in the language test. The language test assesses the child's language skills, and it is not necessary to prepare for it in advance.

Application period in November-December

The application period for English-language basic education for Grade 7 has ended. See instructions on continuous admission below in section 'Continuous admission for grades 1–9, open year-round'.

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

If child is in Grade 6 in a municipal school

Pupils who are in grade 6 at a municipal school of the City of Helsinki and will start their 7th grade in August of the following year may apply for a place in basic education in an English-language class by filling in the language test form in Wilma during the application period. The same Wilma form also allows you to apply for bilingual education and the different options of weighted-curriculum instruction.

Applicants from other municipalities: apply with a separate form

If you are an applicant living outside Helsinki or if your child is not registered as a pupil of Helsinki’s municipal school, you can apply for a place in English-language basic education in 7th grade using a separate form.

You can apply to five different schools or instruction forms. In other words, you can also apply for bilingual and weighted-curriculum education with the same form.

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

Language tests

The invitation to the language test will be sent to the pupil’s home address as a letter.

Other school options for English-language in grades 7–9

English-language basic education is also offered in these lower secondary schools:

These schools are private schools that are not included in the application process of the schools run by Helsinki. If you are interested in applying for these schools, please contact the school secretary or principal directly to ask about available places.

Only pupils who move to Helsinki during their basic education and have previously studied in English-language basic education in Finland or abroad can be admitted to an English-language class. A child will take the language test according to their birth year.

Admission criteria

  • Native or near-native English proficiency. The pupil should have sufficient language skills to participate in English-language instruction based on the language test result.
  • The pupil is moving to or has moved to Helsinki during their basic education in Helsinki. The application may be sent before moving to Helsinki, but receiving a school place requires that the pupil’s home address is registered to be in Helsinki in the national Population Information System by the language test date.
  • Within the last 12 months, the pupil has studied abroad in English-language instruction which is similar to Finnish basic education based on the Basic Education Act, or in other English-language basic education following the Basic Education Act elsewhere in Finland. 
    • Please note: We will ask all applicants to provide certificates of their previous English-language basic education (all or majority of teaching was given in English). If necessary, we will check with the pupil's former school to verify the information. Studying the English language as one subject is not sufficient to meet the criteria.
  • Applicants for grades 8–9 are also required to have spoken Finnish language skills, equalling the A1 level in spoken interaction in accordance with the European framework. See the Coucil of Europe's Common European Framework of Reference for Languages Self-assessment grid(Link leads to external service).

How to apply for English-language basic education in the middle of a year

  1. Fill in the online application form

    Fill in the online application form below. Please attach the most recent certificate or statement of the English-language basic education to your application form.

    We will ask all applicants to provide certificates of their previous English-language basic education (all or almost all teaching was given in English). If necessary, we will check with the pupil's former school 

    Online application form: Continuous admission to English-language basic education(Link leads to external service)

    If you cannot apply with the online form, fill in the PDF form below, print it out and sign it before posting it and the attachments to the Education Division, following the instructions given in the form. 

    PDF form, continuous admission to English-language basic education

  2. Wait for a contact and invite 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 part in the language test. If the criteria above are met, you will be invited to a language test for testing your language skills.

  3. Take the child to the language test

    Schools hold test days once a month. The tests are held either at Ressu Comprehensive School or Maunula Primary School. The school will contact you closer to the test date to give you more detailed information about the test date and time. Please note that schools do not hold test dates during summer holidays in June or July.

    Language test dates 2024, continuous admission to English-language basic education:

    • Thursday 5 September
    • Thursday 3 October
    • Thursday 7 November
    • Thursday 5 December
  4. Wait for the language test results and admission decision

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

This application procedure is only intended for people applying for English-language basic education in Grade 1 which starts on 8 August 2024. For other grades, apply through continuous admission (see section Continuous admission for grades 1–9).

Appication period 13 May–28 July 2024

The supplementary admission round for English-language education is only for vacancies in grade 1. A supplementary application round can be arranged for English-language basic education only if the teaching groups have free places after the main admission in January. If there are no places available during the application period, you can still send an application, because more places may become available during the summer. If there are vacancies in the school and age group of your choosing, the school will send you an invitation for language testing.

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 English-language basic education. You can also use the same form to apply for free places in bilingual 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.

Helsinki residents given priority in supplementary admission

If you are an applicant living in Helsinki, you can apply through the supplementary application for the 1st 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.fi(Link opens default mail program)

Language test on Friday 2 August

The language test for basic education in English will be held on Friday 2 August at Maunula Primary School.  We will email all applicants further instructions regarding the language test.

Free places for basic education in English

Basic education in English, 1st Grade Number of places
Ressu Comprehensive School 2
Maunula Primary School 11

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:
eduguidance@hel.fi (Link opens default mail program)
+358 9 310 38998(Link starts a phone call)

Which schools offer English-language basic education?

English-language basic education is offered in the schools listed below. Learn more about the schools and the English-language basic education they provide by visiting the schools’ websites: