Support services for learning 

Each pupil will receive the support they need to study and learn. There are various forms of support available. Our goal is that as many pupils as possible can receive support at their local school.

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Support services for learning and schoolwork may include:      

  • diverse and varied exercises  
  • remedial teaching  
  • studying in flexible teaching groups  
  • special needs instruction  
  • various aid devices and assistants.  

Multiple forms of support can be offered at the same time to complement each other. We assess the learning, schoolwork and required support forms of children and young people individually, in cooperation with each pupil’s guardians. The suitable forms of support are always chosen based on personal needs.

What is the three-level support system?

Support for learning and schoolwork is divided into general, intensified and special support. This is called the three-level support system.

General support promotes the learning and wellbeing of all pupils. It is aimed at all pupils who need support occasionally. A pupil can receive general support as soon as their need for support arises.     

A common form of general support is remedial teaching. It is aimed at pupils who are temporarily behind in their studies or otherwise require short-term support for their studies. All pupils in a school are entitled to remedial teaching whenever needed. 

Intensified support is provided for pupils who needs regular support or several types of support simultaneously in their schoolwork. Intensified support is provided based on a pedagogical evaluation. A pupil receiving such support will study according to an individual learning plan.

A pupil may receive special support if the need for support is significant and long-term, or the schoolwork on some subjects needs to be individualised. Special support requires a multi-professional assessment that includes a pedagogical assessment and expert statements as required. The school will arrange a hearing for the pupil and their guardians before the decision on special support is made.  

The need for special support is re-assessed regularly. The decision on special support is temporary, and it will be re-assessed at the end of the second grade and during the sixth grade, before moving to seventh grade. In addition to this, the need for special support should be re-assessed whenever the pupil’s needs for support change.    

An individual educational plan (IEP) will be made for the pupil. The plan will describe the support measures for the pupil’s learning and schoolwork. Special support is organised in the pupil's own local school in connection to other instruction, in a special needs class or in a special needs school.

Support at your own school or in a special needs class?

In Helsinki, our goal is that as many pupils as possible can receive support at their local school. This is called the inclusive school principle. Generally, the instruction is planned so that it is suitable for everyone, and the required support is brought to the pupil.     

If the pupil’s local school does not have suitable special needs instruction available, the pupil can attend a special needs class; see more information below.

Special needs classes are groups of 6–10 pupils. The teacher is a special needs class teacher, and the class usually has one or more school assistants. In a special needs class, the pupils can all be in the same grade, or the class can have pupils who are in different grades. 

We organise instruction for special needs classes in various parts of Helsinki.   Special needs classes are located in schools in the districts where the children with special needs live. This way, as many pupils as possible can study at their local school.  

If the local school does not have suitable special needs classroom instruction available, we will provide instruction for the pupil in another school. Suitable school place will be considered on a pupil-by-pupil basis in cooperation with the guardian and the multidisciplinary team. 

Where can I receive more information about the support services for learning?

If you have questions about your child’s learning or schoolwork, please contact your child’s teacher or school principal first.  

When necessary, you may also contact the special planning officer for your area; see the contact information below. 

Finnish-language schools

Check  which major district your child's school is in: Regional division of Finnish-language comprehensive schools

Special planning officers: 

Southern major district (Area 1) and Central major district (Area 3):
Ville Palkeinen, tel. 09 310 71926

South-eastern major district (Area 6) and Vuosaari (Area 7):
Tiina Kaasinen, tel. 09 310 71827

North-eastern major district (Area 5):
Anni Nurmilahti, tel. 09 310 80197

Northern major district (Area 4) and Western major district (Area 2):
Anne Mehtonen, tel. 09 310 71853

Eastern major district (Area 7):
Anna-Maria Hotari, tel. 09 310 83038

Swedish-language schools 

Pedagogigal specialist
Agneta Eklund, tel 09 310 84031

Email addresses are in the format opens default mail program).

The special planning officers are responsible for planning and developing the support for learning and schoolwork while cooperating with the teaching staff of schools. The special planning officers attend the shared discussions on support for learning and are involved in planning the support services for individual pupils together with the school staff, guardians and networks. They also prepare decisions for special support. 

Aid devices and assistant services

All pupils must have the opportunity to study and learn. Pupils are entitled to receive aid devices, interpretation and assistant services that they need to attend school, free of charge. We work with the child’s guardians to assess the need and use of services and aid devices.  

Your child’s teacher or the school principal can provide more information on requesting support services or aid devices.

Hospital school

A comprehensive school pupil who is a patient in a hospital is entitled to hospital school instruction. In Helsinki,  Finnish-language hospital school instruction is provided by the Sophie Mannerheim Comprehensive School, and Swedish-language hospital school instruction by Zacharias Topeliusskolan School.   

The decision on starting hospital school will be made by the hospital care staff, guardians and the hospital school staff.