An extensive survey reveals that parents want more information about schools today – their wish results in a magazine and social media campaign

Published: 25.8.2021 9.02
School rules -magazine.
Photo: Tarmo Ylhävuori

Last spring, a survey on school communication was organised for the parents/guardians of children and young people in pre-primary and basic education in the six largest Finnish cities. According to the survey, parents wish to receive more information about what it is like to study in today’s comprehensive schools.

Parents in Espoo hoped to learn more about, among other things, the curriculum, studying digital skills and transversal competences. These wishes have been taken into account in the School Rules! magazine, which is coming out in August, and in the Nothing Unusual social media campaign.

Plenty to read about comprehensive schools in Finland

School Rules! (Peruskoulu on parasta) is a 56-page magazine for pupils and their parents. The printed magazine will be distributed to 5th and 7th grade pupils in August. Others can read the digital version of the magazine online (non-accessible)(extrernal link).

The magazine’s articles were written and photos taken in Espoo, Helsinki, Vantaa, Tampere, Turku and Oulu. Thanks to this, it offers an extensive cross-section of what it is like to study in comprehensive school today. Pupils, school staff and other experts can make their voices heard in the magazine.

The articles made in Espoo feature, for example, the horse-assisted education at Kaitaan koulu school, the flexible basic education class at Karakallion koulu school and the new Monikko school centre.

The articles in the magazine are mainly in Finnish and Swedish, but it also seeks to take into account pupils with an immigrant background and their parents. The magazine features double-page spreads in English, Russian, Estonian, Arabic and Somali.

A social media campaign about ordinary school days

On 25 August, the City of Espoo will launch the Nothing Unusual (Ihan perus) campaign on its social media channels.

The campaign’s name refers to a common reply given by pupils when asked about their school day: “nothing unusual”. In the minds of parents, an ordinary school day can mean something similar to what they had in their youth. The campaign aims to bring people up to date on what comprehensive school is like today.

The campaign includes videos, columns and animations. The columns are written by class teacher Joona-Hermanni Mäkinen, diversity consultant and activist Fatima Verwijnen and futurist Perttu Pölönen. Content will be published every week until mid-November.

The School Rules! magazine and Nothing Unusual campaign are part of the “Building the future together – school rules!” project. A joint effort by the cities of Espoo, Helsinki, Vantaa, Tampere, Turku and Oulu, the project aims to improve parents’ and decision-makers’ understanding of modern basic education. The project is funded by the Finnish National Agency for Education and is part of the #Paraskoulu 2.0 programme.

In February and March this year, the project carried out an electronic survey to determine what the parents of children and young people in pre-primary and basic education think about communication in comprehensive schools. The survey was distributed through the social media channels of the project municipalities, the Wilma service and the Finnish Parents’ League. The survey was available in Finnish, Swedish and English. It was completed by a total of 1,092 parents/guardians, 401 of whom were Espoo residents.

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