English Transition Class

Kuusi alakouluikäistä oppilasta ulkovälinetelineellä välitunnilla.

In autumn 2023, Kuopio will organise an English group in basic education. The English Transition Class is intended as early-stage teaching for those children and young people, whose families are temporarily moving to Kuopio from outside Finland.

Each English Transition Class pupil will have their own, personal study plan. The pupils attend the class for about a year, depending on their own needs. The class will have pupils of various ages. The English Transition Class is an initial stage in studies in Finland. The pupils are integrated into bilingual teaching in different subjects according to their progress. Integration is implemented following the pupil’s development and strengths.

As a rule, the language of instruction is English. The goal in school subjects is to progress towards the goals required by the Finnish curriculum, taking into account the pupil’s age level and starting point. The teacher can test the pupil’s English skills in the beginning. The language test ensures that the pupil is able to study theoretical subjects in English. If the pupil’s language skills are poor, they are provided with intensive instruction in English.

Instruction uses English-language teaching materials in accordance with the Finnish curriculum. Finnish curricula are extensive, varied, and of high-quality for all subjects. A curriculum determines what a pupil should learn in different grades. Progress in instruction is assessed using formative methods. Formative assessment means continuous teacher feedback on the pupil’s progress. The pupils participate in Finnish-language instruction in practical and art subjects. This supports their interaction with Finnish-speaking children and young people.

If a pupil’s school journey exceeds five kilometres, they are entitled to free school transport. Pupils in pre-primary education and grades 1 and 2 are entitled to free transport if the distance from their homes to school is longer than three kilometres. The pupils have access to regular pupil welfare services available in the Finnish school system, such as psychologist and school welfare officer services, school health care, and free school meals.

The Finnish school system and legislation strongly support the rights of the child. Finnish schools emphasise individual support for the child in learning and well-being. This is why it is important to receive instruction in a local language, so that children and young people can develop together with their age group. The Finnish school system also takes responsibility for ensuring that children and young people can cope in a changed learning environment according to their own resources.

Attending bilingual teaching as the goal

The objective of the English Transition Class is to achieve level A1.2. Finnish language proficiency as described in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. This means minimum level language skills that allow the pupil to manage in their living environment and be able to communicate with the children and young people in their own age group. Finnish basic education includes an obligation to look after the well-being of children and young people. Without minimum level skills in a local language, this will not be possible. Without skills in a local language, children or young people can be left outside their age group and their everyday environment.

The English Transition Class provides individual support for pupils so that they can transition to bilingual instruction. After participating in the English Transition Class, the pupil transitions to a bilingual class according to their age level. Bilingual instruction uses both English and Finnish and observes the curriculum for basic education. Bilingual teaching is organised in Rajala School (grades 1–6) and Hatsala Classical School (grades 7–9).

Enrolment in English Transition Class

Only children and young people moving from abroad can participate in English Transition Class. The class is not intended for native Finnish children. Contact the school to enrol on the English Transition Class.

Schools providing English Transition Class instruction

Rajala school (grades 1–6)
Sammakkolammentie 14
70200 Kuopio
Principal Saila Tirkkonen: +358 44 718 4351
Vice-principal Eveliina Suanto: +358 44 718 1888

Hatsala classical school (grades 7–9)
Opistotie 5
70200 Kuopio
Principal Heikki Pulkkinen: +358 44 718 4501
Vice-principal Jenni Kettunen: +358 44 718 4502