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General information on basic education

In addition to Finnish and Swedish, basic education is provided in English, French and German. It is also possible to complete grades 1-6 following a Montessori pedagogical educational programme, or in private Rudolf Steiner school and Tampere Christian school.

All instruction given is based on core curricula. It is up to the teacher to choose the methods of instruction and studying on the basis of the core curriculum. The school facilities and classrooms, as well as the number of pupils in the class, have an impact on the planning and arrangements of instruction. Large classes can be divided into two smaller teaching groups, and it is possible to have the help of a school assistant.

A lesson is not always 45 minutes long and there is not always a change of subject after a break. The teacher ensures that each subject is taught for a sufficient number of hours during a school year.

Instruction, books and other learning materials, tools and work materials are free of charge in comprehensive school. The pupils are offered a lunch free of charge on each school day.

The following subjects are included in the comprehensive school curriculum: mother tongue and literature, mathematics, a foreign language, the second national language, religion or ethics, social studies, music, visual arts, crafts, physical education, home economics and guidance counselling.

In grades 1-4 there is also instruction in the environment and nature studies. This subject is divided into biology and geography in grade 5. Physics and chemistry are taught from grade 5, and health education starts in grade 7. Schools also offer optional subjects that are decided either by the school itself or the municipality.

The foreign languages that are offered in Finnish-language comprehensive schools are as follows: English, Swedish, French, German, Spanish, Latin and Russian. The first foreign language starts predominantly from grade 3. A second language, which is optional, can be chosen, starting from grade 4.

Pupils who are not members of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church are instructed in ethics instead of religion.

Starting from grade 3, it is possible to study music or the visual arts with a special emphasis in the curriculum. Pupils for these music and visual arts classes are selected by using aptitude tests.

Many of the comprehensive schools offer various focus areas in their curricula in grades 7-9. Optional focus areas are offered, among others, in physical education, communication, information and communication technology (ICT), mathematics, creative expression, and crafts.

Core Curricula

The national core curriculum is the most important document for school work. It forms the basis for all instruction and educational work as well as the development and evaluation of the school.

The core curriculum supports the teachers in their planning work, instruction and evaluation. It is also a source of information, for instance, for the parents or guardians as well as the decision-makers of the municipality.

The core curriculum is both an administrative and pedagogical document: it is drawn up to define what and how instruction is given and how the work is done. There are separate curricula for pre-school education, basic education, and general upper secondary education.

After 9th grade

A joint application system for upper secondary studies is used for admittance to upper secondary schools and vocational institutions.

More information about the joint application procedure:

See also

Information and communication technology is used in teaching and learning. Read more: