The English-speaking classes are intended for the children of foreign families, or for the children, who have resided for longer periods abroad and who have begun their education in English. The purpose of the English-speaking education is to help the children to maintain their language skills acquired abroad and also to enable the children of international families, temporarily in Finland, to study in English.
In Jyväskylä the English-speaking classes are located in Kortepohja Elementary School and Viitaniemi Middle School. Grades one to six are taught in Kortepohja and grades seven to nine are taught in Viitaniemi. Students for the English-speaking classes come mainly from Jyväskylä, but they can be accepted from other municipalities as well if the municipality covers the costs of schooling.
The teaching of subjects and assessment of student work follow the Jyväskylä municipality curriculum. However, English speaking classes have their own distribution of hours: for example, students study less Finnish and more English compared to peers. Students in the English-speaking classes are given social and educational services according to the Finnish social security system.
The main language of instruction is English: the theoretical subjects are taught in English, but the key concepts are learned both in Finnish and in English. Finnish as a mother tongue –instruction and the instruction of other foreign languages are given through Finnish. Mainly in practical subjects, such as handicrafts or physical education, pupils might be integrated into the Finnish speaking classes. The overall goal of the studies is the student's fluent language proficiency both in English and in Finnish.
The teachers are either native speakers of English or Finns fluent in English. Currently, there are not enough children to allow for teaching in groups for every age level and, therefore, students study in mixed-age groups: combined classes of 1-2, 3-4 and 5-6. The child will be placed to the year group according to his/ her year of birth.
The students who apply for the English-speaking classes should have an age appropriate proficiency in English and proficiency in Finnish. The students who don't speak Finnish, will first attend the preparatory instruction organized by the City of Jyväskylä.
Before accepting the child to the English speaking classes the level of English and Finnish will be tested. The students need to be on the level A2 according to the European Language Framework (see the attached file). Students go through an interview both in Finnish and in English. The purpose of the interview is to get a picture of the student's oral skills and the student's comprehension of both of the languages. In addition, students applying to the first grade, do a task in English where they are asked to draw according to the instructions.
More information about Applying to the first grade in 2021.
Students applying to the second and sixth grade are interviewed and, in addition, the students do an age appropriate reading comprehension test in English and Finnish. Students' writing skills are also tested.
The students who don't have appropriate Finnish skills, will first attend the preparatory instruction organized by the City of Jyväskylä and afterwards they can re-apply for the English classes.
Students who stay in Finland less than 18 months and don't speak Finnish can join the English-speaking classes. In this case, the students are not taught Finnish at school. This option is mainly for the families which for some reason stay in Finland for a short period of time. Students staying longer, go through the normal language testing procedures in English and Finnish.