School Health Care

School healthcare services are provided free of charge for all comprehensive school pupils.

  • School nurses work together with the pupils’ parents and carers. They focus on promoting the pupils’ health and wellbeing as well as supporting their learning. They offer support to children with chronic medical conditions, disabilities and other special educational needs. If your child falls ill during the school day, the nurses are on hand to provide assistance and contact the parents.
  • School doctors provide preventative care and to screen pupils for diseases and other medical conditions. If required, the school doctor can refer pupils for further investigations and treatment.

School health care services do no include general medical care in the form of diagnostics, treatment or follow up. These services you will obtain at your own health centre.

 

Contact information and appointment booking

School nurses have drop-in appointments that are available to pupils without an appointment. To find out when the drop-in sessions take place at your school, contact your dedicated school nurse.

If you wish to make an appointment with the school nurse or school doctor, please contact the school nurse by telephone, e-mail or via the Wilma system.

 

Health check-ups and dental care

Dental care

Year 1, 3, 5 and 8 pupils will will be invited to a dental check. You can book an appointment after you have received the invitation letter.

Further information: espoo.fi/dentalcare

Health check-ups

Annual health checks are carried out in primary and lower secondary schools. The checks are designed to monitor the pupils’ growth, development and general well-being. A school doctor will participate in a thorough medical examination, which is conducted on all new pupils, 5th graders and 8th graders. The pupils’ parents and guardians are invited to attend these checks to allow the staff to develop a more accurate understanding of the whole family and identify any support needs. New pupils' preliminary information forms should preferably be filled using the MySchoolhealth service.  Other pupils are given the forms at school to be completed at home, although forms can also be downloaded from this page and from THL web page (in Finnish).

In addition to the annual health checks, additional checks, prompted by the pupils’ individual needs, can also be carried out.

New starts and pupils graduating from primary school will be invited to attend a health check in the summer before they start at the new school. The school nurse from your child’s new school will give more information when needed. 

Medical examinations

The investigations carried out in conjunction with the standard health checks vary between year groups. Standard checks include height and weight monitoring. If necessary, height and weight monitoring can be carried out more frequently and the school doctor consulted.

Hearing

An audiometer will be used to evaluate hearing acuity to 20dB at the start of Year 1 and at the start of lower secondary school. If a child repeatedly fails to pass the test, they will be referred to a specialist doctor.

Vision

All pupils will have their vision monitored for near- and far-sightedness at the start of school. If a pupil at any point feels that their vision has become impaired, additional eye checks can be carried out on request. If required, the school health service can refer pupils for a free eye check with an optician. Children under the age of 8 will be referred to an ophthalmologist.

Checks to detect colour-blindness will be carried out in lower secondary school. An abnormal result does not automatically necessitate further investigations. However, if the pupil intends to pursue a profession where good or normal colour vision or trichromacy is required, further investigations at a later stage are a good idea.

Posture

We carry out posture checks in conjunction with the standard health checks. In the event that we identify any abnormalities, the pupil will be invited back for more frequent checks in line with a separate protocol. If required, pupils can be referred to the school doctor, who will assess the need for further investigation.

Pupils experiencing back pain will be asked to visit their own doctor or the school nurse. Pupils are also encouraged to take exercise that allows the entire body to work symmetrically, with a particular focus on core strength. Advice will also be given on stretches to alleviate tightness in the hamstring area. Referrals to physiotherapy are available but subject to certain criteria.

Laboratory tests

The school nurse or doctor can refer pupils for laboratory tests, if required. If your child is referred for further investigation, we will notify you.

Vaccinations

The school healthcare team is responsible for administering vaccinations in line with the national immunisation programme, including tetanus, polio, measles, mumps and rubella.

Pupils who have been diagnosed with an underlying medical condition, such as asthma, are entitled to receive the influenza vaccine through the school health service. To make an appointment for this, please contact your school nurse.

If a pupil requires a vaccination for foreign travel, please contact your own health centre. Vaccinations for hepatitis and tick-borne encephalitis that are not available through the public healthcare system can still be administered by the nurse at school. You will need to make an appointment, however.

City of Espoo staff will not be able to administer vaccinations that are not part of the Finnish national immunisation programme and that are not available to purchase in Finland.

Young person’s health certificate

A Finnish young person’s health certificate confirms that you are in a good state of health and it is useful if you are applying for a driver’s license, further study or a job. The certificate is issued to all Year 8 pupils in conjunction with the health check and to further education students in their second year of study.

The certificate is valid for five years from the date of issue. Depending on your health, the validity period can also be shorter. The date of expiry is recorded at the bottom of the certificate by your doctor. The certificate can be used until the date of expiry, provided that there have been no changes to your health.

Please look after the certificate, as the school health care team will not be able to issue a replacement. You will also not be able to make an appointment to obtain a new certificate. The certificates are not available from your local health centre. There is a charge for certificates issued by private doctors.

Illnesses and accidents at school

If your child becomes unwell before school, you should not send them in. If they need to see a doctor, you should make an appointment at your own local health centre. You should also seek help at your local health centre for any accidents that occur outside of school hours.

Illness during school hours

If a child falls ill during the school day, their teacher or teaching assistant will contact their parent or guardian and ask them to collect the child, if necessary. With their parent or guardian’s permission, lower secondary school pupils can make their own way home without having to see the school nurse.

Teachers can also refer pupils to see the school nurse, who will contact the parent or guardian if necessary. When children become unwell at school, parents are responsible for taking them home, including the cost.

Accidents at school

The school nurse, along with other school staff, is responsible for administering first aid. If your child has an accident during school hours, they can be seen by the nurse, if they are in attendance. The nurse will administer first aid, assess the situation, make a note of what has happened and, if required, advise the pupil to attend their own health centre. The school nurse will also contact the pupil’s parents or guardian. If first aid is required, as the parent or guardian, you are responsible for ensuring that your child receives the appropriate further treatment. All acute medical issues will be managed at the health centre.

An accident report must always be submitted to the school secretary following an accident. A description of the events must be included in the accident report and should be drawn up by a teacher or parent/guardian in consultation with the pupil.

All pupils attending school in Espoo have accident insurance in place that offers cover for public sector healthcare fees (poliklinikkamaksu).

Information and guidance on the management of chronic and underlying conditions

It is advisable to notify the school nurse if your child has a chronic underlying medical condition or if they are on medication. After your child starts school, your child’s condition will continue to be managed by their regular health care team. However, if your child becomes acutely unwell, for example if they are diabetic and develop hypoglycaemia, they can be seen by the school nurse.

All pupils must carry their own medication and they are expected to administer it themselves, aided by a teaching assistant. The school cannot accept responsibility for storing medication.

Physical education

If a pupil is unable to participate in PE lessons or only able to take part in certain activities due to a medical condition or disability, their parent or guardian should notify the PE teacher. The school nurse can issue an exemption certificate in acute situations only.

Special dietary requirements

Espoo schools and further education colleges cater for special dietary requirements upon clear medical grounds. The school health service cannot provide a letter confirming the need for a special diet and you must obtain it from your own doctor. You are not required to provide a new doctor’s letter every year, provided that the pupil or student’s dietary requirements and their school/college have not changed.

However, we do ask that you notify the school kitchen of your requirements at the start of the new school year to ensure that we can cater for your child’s needs.

A doctor’s letter is NOT required for

  • lactose free or low-lactose diets
  • vegetarian diets, or;
  • religious diets.

You will find a Notification of a Special Diet on Espoo Catering website

Pupil welfare

The term pupil welfare (opiskeluhuolto) is used to describe services designed to foster the pupils’ physical, mental and social wellbeing. Our key role is create a healthy and safe learning environment and to promote the wellbeing of the entire school community.

Pupil welfare concerns all staff within the school and work in this area is carried out in collaboration with the pupils’ parents and guardians. The primary objective is the prevention and early recognition of barriers to learning and other issues. The pupil welfare service is free and confidential.

Every Espoo school has in place a pupil welfare team. In addition to the school nurse, the team comprises the head teacher, psychologist, educational welfare officer (kuraattori), special educational needs teacher, guidance counsellor and teacher representatives. The team may also include pupil and parent representatives, the school doctor and other stakeholders.

The individualised pupil welfare service

The individualised pupil welfare service comprises health, psychology, welfare and individualised multi-disciplinary services.

A stand-alone team of experts can be called together to assess the support needs of individual pupils. The exact make up of the group is determined on a case-by-case basis and depends on the issues under consideration. Issues relating to a single individual can only be discussed by a team of this kind, provided that the student and, where relevant, their parent, guardian or legal representative, has given their consent.

Learning support

School nurses will attend learning support groups as required. Nurses can be invited to attend when their professional input is required to assess the student’s learning and other needs.

Health guidance

Nutrition

School nurses are on hand to provide nutritional information and guidance to pupils and their families. If it is felt that a pupil requires additional support in this area, the nurse can provide a referral to a dietitian.

The pupil or a family member can then book an appointment with the dietitian according to the instructions provided by the nurse. We recommend that pupils are accompanied to the appointments by a parent or guardian. All appointments are free of charge.

It is recommended that children and young people enjoy five meals at regular intervals each day, i.e. breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner and an evening snack. A balanced diet is important for your health and wellbeing. It is advisable to consume around 400-500g of vegetables each day and around 800ml of dairy, some of which can be in the form of cheese. If there is a lack of calcium in the diet, calcium supplements can be given. It is a good idea to have fish twice a week and to vary the type of fish you eat. It is recommended that under-18s take a Vitamin D supplement of 7.5–10µg per day around the year.

Sleep

School children need 9–10 hours of sleep each night. In the evening, it is a good idea to spend some time winding down and getting ready for sleep. Insufficient or broken sleep can impair your memory and learning, both at school and during leisure activity. You are also more susceptible to accidents when tired as your concentration is affected.

Exercise

School children should be physically active every day for around two hours. Some of this can come from ordinary everyday activity, such as walking to school. Exercise benefits your breathing and circulation, helps with weight control and reduces your risk of falling ill. Exercise can prevent many diseases and is also an effective tool in the management of many medical conditions.

Exercise improves your memory and concentration and makes it easier to fall asleep. It also improves the quality of your sleep. This means that exercise can help you to learn new things and leaves you feeling more energised at school and at after school activities. It is also a great way to boost your mood and self-esteem. Often activities involving exercise are also an opportunity to meet new people and learn social skills.

Drugs and alcohol

Illegal drugs and alcohol are detrimental to children’s growth and development. It is against the law for under-18s to buy or consume alcohol or other intoxicants.