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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Organisational variations and alternative structures in single-structure education


5.Single-structure primary and lower secondary education

5.4Organisational variations and alternative structures in single-structure education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Home education

Basic education is compulsory in Finland, but school attendance is not, so guardians may arrange instruction for their children at home. In such cases, the task of the municipality of residence is to supervise the progress of the pupil. The number of children of compulsory school age studying at home is marginal. 

Education for pupils in need of special support

There are special education schools for pupils with hearing, visual or motor impairment. Basic education is also provided for children of compulsory school age in hospitals. The municipality where the hospital is situated is responsible for arranging the instruction. 

Reform schools organise education for pupils with the most difficult life situations and most challenging symptoms. Besides education and guidance, the activities may include for example family work and substance abuse work. Also mental health services can be offered. There are reform schools maintained by the state and by private organisations or foundations. 

Additional instruction

Education providers may provide those who have completed the basic education syllabus with additional instruction with a scope of 1 100 hours. This '10th grade' is voluntary for the pupils and the local authorities decide whether the grade is organised. It allows the pupils to refine their further study plans and improve their grades.

Education for adults

Those no longer subject to compulsory education may receive basic education at general upper secondary schools for adults, folk high schools and adult education centres.

Schools based on a particular philosophical or pedagogical system

These include, for example, Steiner schools and Christian schools. They are required to use the same admissions standards and the same national core curriculum as public schools, and to provide the same services. 


Schools providing basic education include teacher training schools operating in connection with the teacher education units of universities. 

The French-Finnish School, the Finnish-Russian School and the European School of Helsinki are maintained by the state.