FINLAND Lapua Upper Secondary School

  • Lapua Upper Secondary School (Senior High School) is situated in Ostrobothnia, Western Finland. The enrolment is about 260 students. The staff consists of 21 teachers, a headmaster and 11 other members of staff, including a full-time student counsellor.

    The school provides general education aiming at preparing students for further education, especially universities and universities of applied sciences (polytechnics). In order to graduate students have to pass a minimum of 75 courses and the national exam known as the Matriculation Examination.

    The subjects studied are Finnish language and literature, mathematics (basic and advanced syllabus), physics, chemistry, biology, geography, history, social studies, psychology, philosophy, religion, ethics, English, Swedish (advanced and intermediate syllabus), German, French, Spanish, PE, arts, music, ICT and home economy. Most of the subjects include both compulsory and optional courses. In addition to the courses provided by Lapua upper secondary, students can attend courses provided by Opinlakeus network. These courses are taught via videoconference and/or online.

    Matriculation Examination is a nationwide examination organized by the Finnish Matriculation Examination Board each spring and autumn. To pass the examination a student has to pass a test at least in four subjects. Mother tongue is compulsory for everyone. When a student has passed the matriculation examination and the required upper secondary courses, they are allowed to wear a white cap which signifies the achievement. Students receive their white caps in the graduation ceremony.

    The academic year starts in early August and ends in early June and it’s divided into 5 periods. Each period ends with an exam week. There are three longer breaks during the academic year: autumn break, Christmas break and winter break.

    Lapua Upper Secondary has an active student board. The members are elected by the students. The student board organizes activities for the students and is also responsible for the school cafeteria.

    There are a couple of nationwide traditions in Finnish Upper Secondary school which are naturally celebrated also in Lapua Upper Secondary.

    “Penkkarit” is an event celebrated in the final spring of the upper secondary studies as the final day at school. In Lapua Upper Secondary students wear fancy dresses, organize a show called “Abikabaree” and finish their special day by climbing onto the back of a lorry and riding around the town throwing sweets at people.

    “Vanhojen päivä” is the day when second-year students celebrate becoming the seniors of the school, the third-year students having left the school the day before. Before the celebration the second-year students in Lapua Secondary take a course called Vanhat tanssit which consists of dance instruction and general manners instruction. The students dress up for the day which usually starts with a concert held at the school and is followed by several dance performances. After the ball, the students attend a lunch with the members of the staff.