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.
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
The application period for English-language basic education for first graders is open only in January, when other future first graders also enrol in basic education. The schools usually hold the language tests right after the application period, in early February. The more detailed schedule and the application form will be published on this website during the autumn term preceding the application period.
Instructions for applicants
In order to be admitted, the child must pass the language test. New first graders must apply for English-language basic education using an electronic registration form or a paper form during the application period.
The link to the electronic application form will be posted on this page when the application period starts.
If you do not have Finnish online banking credentials or you are otherwise unable to apply electronically, please fill in the registration form as a PDF file. Print it out and submit it to the school listed as your first preference by the end of the application period. The link to the PDF application form will be posted on this page when the application period starts.
If a child is applying for English-language, bilingual or weighted-curriculum education, the guardian does not need to sign in to the Asti online system for any actions.
You can use the same form to apply for weighted-curriculum education in music and for the various bilingual education options. The child can apply for five different schools and weighted-curriculum options at a time. The options should be entered in the form in the order of preference. When selecting pupils, the applicant’s preferred choices are processed in the order stated by the guardian. This means that if the child is accepted in their first preferred option, no place will be offered to the child from the other schools or subjects. After the application period, the choices are binding. If the child is accepted into the teaching, the guardian commits to accepting the offered place.
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 tests are held soon after the application period has ended, usually in early February. The language test dates are published towards the end of the previous year.
The school will send an invitation to the language test to a child meeting the application criteria by post or by email.
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 is usually in November and December. The dates will be specified on this page during the autumn term.
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.
Language tests for all applicants will be held after the application period.
The schedule and key dates for the application process will be specified during the autumn term preceding the application period. If your child is starting grade 7 in August 2024, the application period will be at the end of 2023.
Applicants from other municipalities: apply with a paper 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 paper form.
The paper form will be published on this page in PDF format when the application period starts. It can only be submitted during the application period.
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.
All applicants who have submitted their application form during the application period will be invited to a language test, which is usually held soon after the application period has ended. 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:
Kulosaari Secondary School (Link leads to external service) (also bilingual Finnish-English basic education available)
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.
- 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 lives 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.
- 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
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
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.
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.
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 2023, continuous admission to English-language basic education:
- Thursday 5 October
- Thursday 2 November
- Thursday 7 December
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!
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: