Way to School and School Transportation
Contents of this page:
Summary of the principles of school transportation
- A pupil's way to school is compensated when the way to the local school is over 5 kilometers or if the way to school is dangerous according to the Koululiitu method. A guardian does not have to make a school transportation application, but the principal of the school will make a decision on school transportation benefit automatically.
- The way to school means the travel from the pupil's permanent home address registered in the Finnish Population Information System to school. A transportation benefit is only admitted to the address registered in the Finnish Population Information System.
- The way to school is calculated from the home gate to the school gate, along the shortest, pedestrian-friendly and publicly-accessed road.
- School transportation is primarily organized by utilizing public transport and service transport, and only secondarily by arranging separate bus or taxi transport. Transportation is not necessarily provided for the entire way to school. This means that part of the way to school might consist of independent travel by the pupil.
- A way to school of more than 5 kilometres to a school other than the local school will also be compensated when the pupil studies such a language as their A1 language that is taught in another school than their local school.
- A way to school can also be compensated due to, for example, the way to school being dangerous or due to factors related to the child's health. The guardian must apply for discretionary transport benefit with a separate application each school year.
The way to school is not reimbursed
- When a pupil, at the request of a guardian, receives a school place in a school other than their local school (so-called secondary school), the pupil studies in a special emphasis class or at Oulu International School. Pupils of special emphasis classes and OIS can, however, be annually admitted a Waltti card on the basis of the income of the adults in their household.
- When the pupil changes their municipality of residence in the middle of comprehensive school but continues their studies at a City of Oulu comprehensive school.
More information is provided by principals of schools.
Below are described the City of Oulu's principles of school transportation (Education and Culture Committee 19 December 2023 § 153).
The City of Oulu School Transportation Principles
Free-of-charge school transportation without application
A pupil can receive free-of-charge school transportation to their local school when
- the way to school exceeds 5 kilometers (PoL 32§)
- the way to school or part of it is dangerous according to the Koululiitu method
A pupil can receive free-of-charge school transportation to an out-of-catchment school when
- the way to school exceeds 5 kilometers and the way to school even to the local school would exceed 5 kilometers (not including pupils on special emphasis classes and at Oulu International School)
- a pupil, who would be entitled to free-of-charge transportation in a local school admitted by the organizer of the education, enrolls through secondary admission to an out-of-catchment school locating closer to their home and the way to the out-of-catchment school exceeds 5 kilometers
- a pupil studies their A1 language at another school than their local school and the way to that school exceeds 5 kilometers due to arranging teaching, or fits the criteria for discretionary school transport benefit
- a pupil in grades 4-9 studies their A2 language at another school than their local school and the way to that school exceeds 5 kilometers due to arranging teaching, or fits the criteria for discretionary school transport benefit.
Applying for a discretionary school transport benefit
If a child's way to school is under 5 kilometers, the guardian has the possibility to apply for free-of-charge school transportation in case they perceive the way to school too difficult, straining or dangerous for the child.
Apply for a discretionary school transport benefit by 15 May
If you are applying for a discretionary school transport for your child, the application must be submitted by mid-May. Fill in an electronic application in the Wilma system. Please note that discretionary school transport does not need to be applied for when the child's distance to school is more than 5 km.
You can submit an application for your child under the heading "Hakemukset ja päätökset" ("Applications and decisions") > "Tee uusi hakemus" ("Make a new application"). If necessary, you may include electronic attachments to the application. The application function is only available in the browser version of Wilma. You cannot file an application with the mobile app.
The principal at the local school reviews the reasoning stated in the application, makes an opinion and the regional manager is in charge of making the decision on the benefit. If necessary, an expert opinion can also be provided by someone else (doctor, psychologist, occupational therapist or social worker). Expert opinion does not require the city to organize transportation but it can be used as an expert advice in decision-making.
The application must indicate the time period for which the transport is necessary. It can also include a suggestion for the transportation method (e.g. the pupil needs taxi transport due to reduced mobility).
Discretionary school transport benefit is applied for one school year at the time. It can also be granted for indefinitely (for example, due to permanent reduced mobility). Transportation can also be organized for part of the year (for example, for the winter months 1.11-31.3).
You can apply for the benefit also after the main application period 15 May, but it is not guaranteed that a decision on the benefit will be made before the start of the school year. Applications submitted before the deadline are processed in time before the beginning of the school year.
Waltti card based on the income
Pupils on special subject emphasis classes or at Oulu International School do not receive free-of-charge school transportation. These pupils can, however, be admitted annually a Waltti card based on the income of the adults living in the same address. The income limit is the upper limit for low income (view the chart below)
|1 adult, 1 child
|1 adult, 2 children
|1 adult, 3 children
|1 adult, 4 children
|2 adults, 1 child
|2 adults, 2 children
|2 adults, 3 children
|2 adults, 4 children
Chart: Limits for low income in different households. Source: Tilastokeskus 2021
Temporary transportation only by doctor's certificate
Temporary transportation due to an illness or an accident is organized only by a doctor's certificate. The certificate must state the need of transportation and the time period. Principals are in charge of deciding on temporary transportation. Organizing transportation can take one or two school days.
Accompanying benefit for guardians
An alternative for free-of-charge school transportation is an accompanying benefit granted for transporting or accompanying a pupil to school.
Accompanying benefit and school transportation substitute each other. Accompanying benefit is only granted for pupils who are entitled to school transportation benefit.
Accompanying benefit can be granted for the whole school year, school term or for winter months. Benefits for shorter periods of time are not granted. The guardian is in charge of school transportation during the entire time period the benefit covers.
The amount of the benefit is equal to the amount of the Kela's kilometer allowance for using a private car in force at the time.
Regional managers are in charge of decisions regarding the benefit.
How to apply for an accompanying benefit
You must apply for an accompanying benefit before the time period you wish to receive the benefit for begins. You can apply for the benefit with the application for a discretionary school transport benefit.
You can apply for the accompanying benefit by filling an electronic form in Wilma system. You can make an application for your child under the headline "Hakemukset ja päätökset" ("Applications and decisions") > Tee uusi hakemus ("Create a new application"). If needed, you can attach electronic attachments to the application. The application function is only available in the browser version of Wilma. You cannot make an application in the mobile app.
Guide for traffic safety and rules regarding the way to school
The City of Oulu's principles and practices concerning school transportation and matters related to traffic safety and education on way to school are presented in the guide called Koulumatkojen pelisäännöt ja liikenneturvallisuus (attached below in Finnish). Frequently asked questions and their responses are presented at the end of the guide.
With good collaboration between the schools, transporters and pupils' guardians we can promote the children's safety and good transportation experiences on the way to preschool and school.