Starting school

Every child who is by age subject to compulsory school attendance is guaranteed a place at the school nearest to them by the local government of the child’s place of residence. When a school is designated for a child, the proximity of the child’s address as per the Population Register to the school, whether other children of the same family study at the same school, and, if possible, the parents’ wishes are taken into account. Contact your rural municipality’s or city’s education official to find out which school has been designated as your child’s school of residence.

A school is obligated to accept all children that have been designated to that school as their school of residence without admission tests when these children start year one at school. If free places are available, the parents of a child may choose another school for the child.

The parents of children who start year one at school in Tallinn can submit applications via the eKool environment or deliver printed application (doc, 39 kB, in Estonian) to the Tallinn Education Department (Estonia pst 5a, III floor).

The parents of children who start year one at school in Pärnu can submit applications via the ARNO online environment (in Estonian).

The parents of children who start year one at school in Tartu can also submit applications via the ARNO online environment.

In the event that a child does not start school at their school of residence, the parent of that child must notify the local government thereof.

Admission tests

Some schools wish to offer students who are more talented a school programme that is suited to their skills and interests, and therefore assemble classes on a city- or state-wide basis. These schools choose their students from a range of candidates, and they may carry out admission tests for that purpose.

Starting school at a younger age

In the event that a parent wishes for their child who is younger than the starting age of compulsory school attendance to be enrolled at a school, the parent must request that the school readiness of the child be assessed by the child’s kindergarten or the counselling committee of the county or city. The kindergarten or commission shall provide a recommendation for enrolment at school. The parent must then notify the local government of the child’s wish to enrol at a school before 1 May. The child will then be allocated a place at their school of residence for the coming autumn.

The parent of a child shall submit the following for the child’s admission to the first grade:

  • a formal application as set in the admission terms of the school;
  • an officially approved statement of an identity document of the child;
  • an officially approved statement of the parent’s own identity document;
  • an officially approved statement of the child’s health records, if such exist;
  • the kindergarten’s or counselling committee’s recommendation on the child’s school readiness, if this exists.

School-starting benefit

Several Estonian local governments pay a benefit when a child starts year one at school. Contact the city or rural municipality government.

In Tallinn, the school-starting benefit of children can be applied for via the self-service environment (in Estonian) for applying for universal benefits in Tallinn.

In Pärnu the school-starting benefit of children can be applied for via the ARNO online environment.

In Tartu the school allowance for children who start attending grade 1, 2 or 3 can be applied for via the ARNO. More information about allowance can you find at the homepage of Tartu.

Last amended: 07-06-2016 00:00 | Compiled by: Ministry of Education and Research