Pupil and student welfare services

Pupil and student welfare services are activities in schools and educational institutions that promote, maintain and engender preconditions for pupils’ and students’ effective learning, mental and physical health, as well as social wellbeing.
Pupil and student welfare services at the Viikki Teacher Training School

The goal of pupil and student welfare services is to promote and maintain pupils’ and students' effective learning, good mental and physical health, as well as social wellbeing. The goal is to plan, implement, develop and assess welfare services that comprehensively promote wellbeing. Pupil and student welfare services constitute a central part of the educational mission of schools, taking into account the priority of pupils’ and students’ interests. Pupils and students have the right to receive, free of charge, welfare services needed for attendance in teaching.

In accordance with the Student Welfare Act (1287/2013), pupil and student welfare services are primarily implemented as preventive services that support the entire school community. In addition, pupils and students have a statutory right to individual pupil and student welfare services. Pupil and student welfare services are guided by confidentiality, respectful attitudes towards pupils, students and their guardians, as well as support for their participation.

At the Viikki Teacher Training School of the University of Helsinki, pupil and student welfare services are implemented in accordance with the institution’s plan for the services. An inclusive preventive student welfare services group convenes at approximately three-week intervals and strives to contribute to the development of welfare-related matters in the general upper secondary school. An inclusive preventive pupil welfare services group for the lower secondary school convenes approximately at two-week intervals and strives to focus on the development and support of pupil welfare services. An inclusive preventive pupil welfare services group for the primary school convenes several times during the school year.

The implementation of pupil and student welfare services is monitored and supervised by the steering group for pupil and student welfare services of the University of Helsinki’s teacher training schools, which collaborates with the City of Helsinki student welfare services cooperation forum.

Every two years in the spring, the school conducts the national School Health Promotion study of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. In addition to relevant long-term nationwide monitoring data on the welfare of pupils and students, the study provides more school-specific information that can be used to support pupils’ and students’ wellbeing. The survey will not be conducted in the school year 2021–2022, but the school will monitor the matter through its own surveys.


The Viikki Teacher Training School of the University of Helsinki provides part-time special needs education alongside other education at all support levels (general support, intensified support and special support). Part-time special needs education is aimed at improving pupils’ learning potential and preventing the exacerbation of problems associated with different areas of learning. Part-time special needs education is provided, for example, to pupils who have difficulties related to language or mathematical skills, learning difficulties in individual subjects, or difficulties related to study skills, attention, cognitive control, social skills or school attendance in general. Part-time special needs teachers are also responsible for preventing and treating pupils’ reading and writing difficulties. Teaching is provided under flexible arrangements as simultaneous teaching, in small groups or individually, and it is based on collaboration with the class teacher or subject teacher. Pupils can also apply for part-time special needs education at their own initiative by first discussing the matter with their class teacher, subject teacher, special needs teacher or form teacher.

Consultation is also part of the job description of special needs teachers. Special needs teachers support class teachers and form teachers in drawing up and updating pedagogical documents. Special needs teachers contribute to the processing of pedagogical documents related to support for learning in multiprofessional cooperation with teachers as well as pupil and student welfare professionals. As part of their teaching duties, special needs teachers carry out development measures related to support for learning.


Special needs education in general upper secondary school primarily constitutes pedagogical support targeted at learning to learn. Special needs education also supports students with dyslexia and other language difficulties. Special needs education in general upper secondary school does not involve teaching or remedial teaching in the subjects included in the curriculum. Remedial teaching and additional instruction can be provided by the relevant subject teachers.

Students pursuing the qualifications of special needs teacher complete their teaching practice under the supervision of part-time special needs teachers. Students pursuing the qualifications of class teacher or subject teacher are also offered the chance to familiarise themselves with the part-time special needs education provided by our school, for example, in the context of the Koulu yhteisönä (‘School as a community’) seminar.

The school social worker strives to safeguard the social preconditions of pupils’ school attendance as well as promote their growth, development and functional capacity. The school social worker is an integral element of the school welfare group. The social worker is contacted if pupils have problems with school attendance or in relationships with friends, or if they have problems in the family.

In addition to working with clients, the school social worker collaborates with pupils’ parents, teachers, other school staff as well as external parties and authorities. All collaboration is founded on confidentiality

The school psychologist works to promote pupils’ school attendance and wellbeing. The methods offered by the school psychologist to pupils, parents and school staff include psychological evaluation, negotiation and guidance services.

The focus areas of the work include inclusive efforts promoting wellbeing, individual discussions with pupils, negotiations with guardians and individual examinations of pupils. When necessary, the school psychologist collaborates with teachers and other staff as well as directs pupils to other services.

At the Viikki Teacher Training School of the University of Helsinki, school and student health services are provided by the healthcare and social welfare services of the City of Helsinki. The purpose of school and student health services is to support the healthy growth and development of children and adolescents. This is realised through health checks and personal guidance.

An accident insurance policy taken out by the University of Helsinki covers accidents that take place in the school, at events organised in the context of the school curriculum as well as during travel directly from home to school or in the opposite direction. In the case of accidents, pupils are provided with first aid at the school and, when necessary, transported to a health centre or an outpatient clinic of the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) for examination and treatment. Care associated with school-related accidents at health centres and HUS outpatient clinics is free of charge to pupils.

Accidents occurring outside the school context are the responsibility of public health centres and private healthcare providers. In addition, hospital care is not part of school health service.

Dental care for the pupils of the University of Helsinki’s Viikki Teacher Training School is provided by the Pihlajamäki Dental Clinic. On-call appointments for dental care can be made by calling (09) 310 51400. Pupils are invited to dental examinations according to individual care plans.

In the school year 2021–2022, guidance counselling is marked by two major changes: the introduction of operating models for a new age limit for both compulsory education and intensified guidance counselling in comprehensive school, as well as the introduction of a new curriculum for the new general upper secondary school students. Both changes will significantly affect the job description of guidance counsellors. In fact, new methods for counselling will be sought during the year in both basic and general upper secondary education. Detailed descriptions of these changes can be read in the guidance counselling plans for comprehensive school and general upper secondary school, available on the school website.

Guidance counselling will continue to be implemented as lessons at all grades, as personal counselling and, when necessary, as small group counselling. In comprehensive school, the lessons are centred on the ninth grade, at which point visits are conducted and visitors received relevant to various issues of education and employment. Work experience periods are organised as part of guidance counselling, in November for ninth-graders and in May for eighth-graders. Pupils are guided to independently find an employer to complete their period of work experience in order for them to simultaneously learn important career skills. However, the guidance counsellor will help in finding a suitable option, when necessary. 

In basic education, personal guidance is focused on pupils nearing the end of basic education to help steer them to further studies. The goal is for all ninth-graders to apply in the joint application procedure for meaningful and realistic options. In the case of the final grade of basic education in particular, guidance counsellors also closely collaborate with pupils’ guardians. 

The guidance counselling provided in general upper secondary school includes two compulsory courses that are distributed so that the lessons are spread over every school year in general upper secondary education. The lesson themes include studying in general upper secondary school, study opportunities, the matriculation examination as well as options for further studies in Finland and abroad. In addition to the lessons, students attend sessions focused on further studies – this autumn most likely over a remote connection. Over the course of the lessons, students draw up a personal study plan as well as a plan for the matriculation examination and another for further studies, to be further elaborated in personal guidance counselling discussions held during general upper secondary education. In fact, students have the opportunity to receive personal guidance throughout general upper secondary education.