Enrollment in 1st grade
Compulsory education begins the year a child has his or her seventh birthday. Children born in 2008 start school attendance at the beginning of the 2015 fall term, and their basic education will last for nine years. A notification of compulsory education, as well as school-enrollment instructions, will be mailed to a new student's home address when the matter becomes topical.
You can enroll your child in first grade either through the online Wilma system or by going to any school in Vantaa that arranges 1st-grade instruction. Identifiers to the Wilma system will be mailed to your home address in December together with the compulsory-education notification. If you want to enroll on the spot, remember to bring the Enrollment in Basic School form (sent to your home) to the school.
When a child has been enrolled in school, the district manager designates a school for him or her. This school is called the student's local school, even though it is not always the school geographically closest to the student's home. A guardian can make a request that siblings be admitted to the same school, by filling in the appropriate section of the enrollment form. In addition, a guardian can make a request that friends be admitted into the same class. You can express the above-mentioned wishes in the Esko data transfer form that is filled in the preschool-education place together with the guardians.
Applying for secondary school
A student can apply for a secondary school if he or she is not satisfied with the school designated for him or her. Deliver the application for a secondary school to the school where you want your child to study. The principal of the school in question makes the decision on admission based on city-wide joint principles. Priority is given to children living in Vantaa. Available places will first be given to students with medical or other special reasons, and next to students who want a place at the same school where their siblings are. The rest of the places will be given to other applicants. If there are more applicants than available study places, the students will be chosen by drawing of lots.
A secondary school is not the local school stipulated by legislation, and therefore the students are not usually entitled to school-transport subsidies. Nevertheless, it is possible to get a free-of-charge student-travel card for a secondary school, as well.
If you are applying for a secondary school, you can also apply for schools located in Espoo, Helsinki and Kauniainen. In this case, however, please consider that the student is not necessarily entitled to all support services and the guardians will be responsible for the school-travel costs.
Postponing the beginning of school attendance
Normally, children start school the year they turn seven. The city can, however, permit a child to start school earlier or later. If a child is not estimated to be ready to start school the year he/she turns seven, psychologists will make an assessment of his/her school readiness. For more information on the school-readiness assessment, contact the child's preschool, Consultant Special Teachers, or psychologists.
On the other hand, a child can start school already at the age of six, provided that he/she has sufficient facilities for school attendance. If you want to find out whether your child can start school a year earlier than usual, you shall acquire and pay for all the required psychological examinations. It is also worth your while to fill in the preschool education application.
Extended Compulsory Education
If a child—due to disability or sickness—cannot achieve the goals set for basic education in nine years, it is possible to extend the child's compulsory education. Extended compulsory education begins at age six, in which case the child is entitled to free-of-charge preschool education at age five. Compulsory education will not, however, be extended in the middle or at the end. For more information about extended compulsory education, contact your child's day care place or district coordinators. The district manager will make a decision on beginning school one year earlier or one year later than usual.