The Finnish education system starts at the age of seven for pupils and is compulsory for the next nine years until pupils reach the age of sixteen. Homeschooling in Finland is allowed but is very rare unlike other places around the world. There are very few private schools in Finland and for one to be initiated; permission has to be granted from the council of state who will make a decision based on political reasons.
Grading is carried out in primary schools in Finland but doesn't seem to be as strict as some other countries, grading is normally carried out on a verbal rather than test basis and parents will receive a report normally twice a year.
There are free school lunches for both primary and secondary pupils and pupils can also expect to receive free health care. In some schools, pupils will also receive free teaching materials and funding for school trips.
Secondary schools are spilt normally with the intention of teaching younger children and those getting ready to leave and go on to higher education. For Finnish pupils, Swedish is a mandatory school subject and likewise Finnish is mandatory for Swedish pupils. The value of Finland's society is held in high regard and results of Finnish pupils and records of achievement are generally high, this in part is attributed to the high society values held in Finland.
Numerous foreign languages, environmental studies, religion, ethics, social sciences, history, maths and various sciences are just some of the languages taught in Finnish schools and the Finnish population strongly promotes English as one of the most important languages and if you visit Finland, you will encounter the majority of the population as fluent in the English language.
The principle of the Finnish education system is that everyone has access to learning in all areas and this attitude that all people are capable of learning new things at different stages of life, is a principle they abide by. The last three years of schooling as well as being subject based, also includes preparing young adults and teaching them the skills they will require to live and adapt in society.
English children can attend specialist English schools in Finland but they will be required to learn and study Finnish compulsory. Other schools will take English students with the aim of teaching them according to Finnish education system and again, students will be required to speak and learn Finnish. Children entering the Finnish school system seem to absorb the Finnish language easily and are soon speaking it comfortably.