Pupil and student welfare
Pupils in pre-primary, primary and lower secondary school as well as students in upper secondary school have the right to pupil and student welfare services (also known as student welfare).
It consists of student welfare and student welfare services as specified in the education provider's curriculum. These include the services of psychologists and school social workers as well as pupil and student healthcare services.
In pre-primary education, the healthcare services are part of pupil welfare as organised under the Health Care Act, provided in the form of age group-specific children’s clinic services.
Pupil and student welfare is primarily preventive student welfare that supports the school community as a whole. In the school community, this means an institutional culture that includes collaborative activities and cooperation between the school and home as well as measures that promote safety.
Students are also entitled to individualised student welfare, which aims to help the student learn, be healthy, experience wellbeing and a sense of inclusion and to prevent problems from arising. The purpose is also to ensure that high-quality student welfare services are available and that students have access to early support.
Student welfare is implemented and managed as one operational entity and as systematic multi-professional cooperation between teaching staff, health and social services, students and their parents and guardians as well as any other actors deemed necessary.
Organising student welfare
Education providers are responsible for ensuring that student welfare is provided as specified in the curriculum. It must be a collaborative effort between different actors in such a way that it forms a functional and systematic entity. The education providers must supply information to the students and their parents and guardians on student welfare and, when necessary, guide students to seek help from student welfare services.
The wishes and opinions of students must be taken into consideration when adopting any measures and decisions involving them, bearing in mind the student's age, level of development and other personal capabilities. Based on the provisions in law, minors may forbid their parents or guardians from taking part in matters involving student welfare, and may also forbid student welfare authorities from supplying confidential information related to them to the student's parents or guardians. Parents and guardians are not entitled to forbid a minor from using student welfare services.
The municipality in which the school is located is responsible for organising the services of a psychologist and school social worker in their area, regardless of the municipality the student resides in. Students who are minors are entitled to receive, free of charge, such student welfare services as are deemed necessary for being able to attend instruction and education.
Guidance and supervision
Decisions on cooperation between the home and school, the key principles for student welfare, and the objectives for student welfare related to education are made within the scope of the national core curriculum (or other provisions in the Basic Education Act or in the Act on General Upper Secondary Education).
The education providers evaluate the implementation and impact of student welfare and carry out in-house supervision of overall student welfare in cooperation with the authorities in municipal education administration and health and social services administration.
The National Institute for Health and Welfare is responsible for the coordination and development of national student welfare services in cooperation with the Finnish National Agency for Education. The Regional State Administrative Agencies oversee that the education providers organise student welfare in accordance with the curriculum.
Anne-Marie Brisson, Senior Ministerial Adviser
Ministry of Education and Culture, Varhaiskasvatuksen, perusopetuksen ja vapaan sivistystyön osasto ( VAPOS ), Strategic Steering Division Telephone:0295330079
Kirsi Lamberg, Senior Specialist, Legal Affairs
Ministry of Education and Culture, Varhaiskasvatuksen, perusopetuksen ja vapaan sivistystyön osasto ( VAPOS ), Strategic Steering Division Telephone:0295330397