Oulun kansainvälinen koulu – Oulu International School

OIS offers education mainly in English for children aged 7-15 who benefit from our international programmes and have sufficient language skills to learn through English. Teaching at OIS is based on the local curriculum for basic education and the ideology of the IB (International Baccalaureate; MYP and PYP), as well as the sections of the Basic Education Act which define education in foreign languages in Finland.

ESL (English as a second language) teaching will be given to students of grades 1-4 in response to needs that arise. We also offer support to those Finnish students who come to our school with an A1 English background. Afternoon care is available in the school facility for students of grades 1 and 2.

The optional foreign languages of either German, French or Spanish may be learned from grades 5 to 9. Finnish is taught as a mother tongue and as a second language. Other mother tongue classes are organised by the City as the need arises. Families are informed about these classes through Wilma


Applicants are expected to be able to follow the tuition and express themselves in all the curriculum subjects in English. Guardians who are considering sending their children to our school are advised to fill out an application form, available on our website, and possibly make an appointment with the Principal, Student Counsellor or the IB Coordinators. This visit will provide an overview of the school’s programme and facilities, and an opportunity to have any questions answered. 

In general, admission is open to all students who can profit from a challenging, international, English language education. Formal application to OIS takes place at the same time as to the other schools in Oulu, i.e. in January and the language proficiency assessment aka entrance test is in February. The application form is available at the school’s website https://www.ouka.fi/oulu/oulu-international-school/how-to-apply-to-ois

Students from Oulu or Oulu region apply in January only. Applicants may take the entrance test once per year only. When registering their child to the 1st grade at OIS, guardians should at the same time also register them at their nearest primary school. Residents of municipalities outside Oulu should confirm with their own education
authority that the home municipality is willing and able to pay the child’s education in Oulu. 

Students who have moved to Oulu during the summer are tested in August. If the applicant is other than Finnish citizen, a copy of passport and residence permit in Oulu should be attached to the application. For under-aged children applying from abroad, we require details of the legal guardian in Oulu as the home address of the child and the guardian should be the same. We do accept applications sent at other times due to unforeseen circumstances (eg. a move from abroad) and we do conduct single entrance tests to those applicants who do not have Finnish skills. However, if the child moving to Oulu in the middle of the academic year knows Finnish, they should go to their local Finnish-speaking school. 

An applicant who does not know Finnish and does not pass the OIS entrance test goes to a Finnish-speaking immigrant class. For more information about immigrant classes, go to https://www.ouka.fi/oulu/koulutus-ja-opiskelu/maahanmuuttajien-opetus. 


OIS is open to all students, including those from municipalities outside Oulu (provided that the home municipality is willing to pay for the education), who can profit from our challenging, international programmes and are capable of learning through English. Students applying to our school from Oulu and surrounding municipalities come to a language proficiency assessment in February. Students applying should have English skills already when applying. Applicants from abroad are generally evaluated in August.

The online application form, available from the school's website https://www.ouka.fi/oulu/oulu-international-school/how-to-apply-to-ois, should be filled by the end of January. Only those students whose applications are completely filled out can be admitted to the language proficiency assessment. Applicants from abroad are required to present a copy of their residence permit, a copy of their passport and report cards from their previous school. The grade-level placement of the admitted students is decided by the school's administration, based on the law for Basic Education.

Language Proficiency Assessment

Language proficiency assessments aka entrance tests are arranged twice a year, in mid-February for students applying from within Finland and in early August for students who have moved to Oulu during the summer. Applicants may take the entrance test once per year only. If the applicant is ill on the test day, please submit a doctor's statement to arrange a retest. 

Our Admissions Team uses established tests appropriate to each grade level to assess the applicants’ language skills in English (and Finnish), and for gr 1 students their pre-reading skills. In order to be admitted, the applicant must achieve the minimum score for each section and the minimum total score of the test. Finnish skills will also be tested or evaluated in all grade levels. As of spring 2021, Finnish children living in Finland need to pass the Finnish test in order to be accepted to OIS. 

Students who pass the test are admitted in the order of their total English score. Eligibility is based on space availability. The students who were not admitted in February but obtained the minimum confirmed score in the entrance test will be kept on a waiting list in ranking order for one academic year. Complains related to the language proficiency test should be directed to the regional government (aluehallintovirasto) https://avi.fi/en/frontpage

OIS follows the Finnish educational system in placing students in the appropriate grade level according to their age and the result of the language proficiency assessment. The age of grade 1 students is seven in the school starting year. If guardians would like their child to be admitted earlier, the child must take a psychological test. Since this test is not conducted by our School Psychologist, guardians are advised to contact a privately practising psychologist. 

Newly admitted students will either be directly integrated into mainstream teaching or supported in class by a Special Education Teacher or a school assistant. If necessary, they will receive ESL (English as a Second Language) tutorial lessons. Students whose first language is not Finnish study Finnish as a Second Language (S2). In some circumstances the school reserves the right to conduct a new language test on an admitted student within two years from the test date.