Student Welfare Services
The Finnish Parliament legislated a new law on student welfare services that took effect from 1.8.2014 onward. The goal of the law is to enhance the well-being of the school environment and also to ensure support in learning, health and well-being. Working towards better well-being concerns all school employees regardless of their title.
Previously schools in Vantaa had student support services groups (OHR), where communal and student-specific matters were dealt with. Now schools no longer have the student support services group, however, they are replaced by the community welfare team (YHR) which deals with the general well-being of the school environment. A multidisciplinary team can be gathered for matters regarding individual students and planning their support measures.
The new community and welfare group consists of the principal, special education teacher, guidance counselor (for junior high), school social worker, school psychologist and school nurse. If needed, arrangements for student representatives and guardians to attend can be made. Schools in Vantaa have already worked to promote the well-being in schools. This work continues and important topics are e.g. increasing students’ participation in school affairs, co-operation between homes and school and collaboration with various outside parties.
It’s in the spirit of this new law that the students’ affairs are handled in even stronger co-operation between the student, guardians and the school staff. Students’ wishes and opinions are taken into consideration more.
Should the student or guardians wish, other authorities outside school may also attend the meetings. If a teacher (or other staff member) has a concern about a student, he/she will first discuss the matter with the child and the guardians. Depending on the matter, the multidisciplinary team can include e.g. class teacher, special education teacher, guidance counselor (junior high), school social worker, school psychologist and/or school nurse.
Students continue to have access to the school social worker’s, school psychologist’s and the school nurse’s services. The new law aims to facilitate and speed up organizing the first meeting. In the meeting the students can discuss their matters confidentially one-on-one. According to the new law, students are entitled use these student welfare services without guardians’ consent.
Should you have any questions concerning the student welfare services or the changes the new law brings, please contact the members of the school community and welfare group.