The education units of reform school provide instruction to pupils while taking into account the pupils’ individual support needs. At the schools, teaching is organised in classes at the school premises and as institutional teaching provided in small groups at special care units. Pupils progress in their studies in grade-independent studies (VSOP). After obtaining the final certificate, the pupils have an opportunity to improve their grades in voluntary additional basic education. If necessary, upper secondary studies are organised in cooperation with different educational institutions. Learning is planned in cooperation with the pupil, guardians and a multiprofessional team.
The schools value the safety of the learning environment. All adults working at the schools ensure safety at a physical and mental level as well as in terms of a pedagogical sense of safety. Pupils are supported to make use of their own strengths and resources. Practising the situations that the pupils struggle with enable the pupils to identify ways of coping with them.
According to the results of the School Health Promotion Study (2019), students at a reform school experience a greater sense of participation and opportunities for influencing their own school attendance compared to other upper-level comprehensive school pupils in Finland. The pupils also feel that they are treated with caring and fairness.
Each individual is unique and every one of us has a need to be encountered, heard and respected. When pupils are seen and heard, they will find it easier to become members of the school community safely, find their personal strengths and resources, and strengthen their learning skills. The aim of the school is to help pupils become part of the school community and to promote making progress in studies. The start of studies has been designed to be clear and calm. The adults at the school are interested in taking a moment to listen to the pupils’ stories and thoughts about their future school attendance. Education plays a significant role in preventing exclusion, which is why the school invests in individual support and studying arrangements.
Basic education has the task of educating and teaching. Reform schools believe that all children have individual strengths on which they can build their studying and lives. Identifying and using personal strengths helps young people build up their self-image and identities. The teaching and guidance integrated to the daily life at the school focuses on positive education and teaching. Supporting growth and development as a person and in education, and into ethically responsible membership in society plays a key role.
Learning wellbeing skills is important. At the core of the education and teaching provided at the schools lies practising personality skills and socio-emotional skills, and learning them alongside school subjects. The language of personality skills is an essential part of strengthening the pupils’ skills and making these visible. Personality skills such as curiosity, perseverance and self-regulation are strengths that support learning. Positive learning experiences strengthen and feed positive development.
Basic education provided in reform schools forms a rehabilitative whole together with the care and upbringing provided at the reform school. In this task, the schools contribute to meeting the national service needs for basic education for young people with demanding special needs. The task of the reform schools is to prevent marginalisation and to provide individual and good basic education for children and young people with even the most difficult life situations. The aim is to stimulate the joy and motivation of learning through positive learning experiences. Individual guidance and support for learning enable versatile development of competence. Education provided in reform schools has the task of enabling pupils to complete their compulsory education and providing young people with the best possible capabilities for succeeding in their further studies.
Education provided in reform schools occurs in a cooperation network that includes both the pupil’s guardians and the reform school’s education and care staff as well as social workers in charge of the child’s affairs and other potential stakeholders. The forms and structures of cooperation are agreed separately for each young person. The used communication methods can include phone calls, emails and participation in joint meetings. We work together in a spirit of the principles of dialogue, which places importance on making everyone’s voices heard.