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Basic education

There are altogether 30 general education schools in Tartu that provide both basic as well as general secondary education. 21 of those schools are municipal schools, 6 are private schools and 3 are state-maintained schools.

Department of Education

+372 736 1423

Raekoja plats 12, 51004 Tartu


Basic education

General information

Basic schools in Tartu are schools of residence, where students can acquire education on an equally good level thanks to the partnership of school bodies, parents and communities surrounding the schools.

The city of Tartu is legally obliged to provide study places to 7-17-year old children who are residents of Tartu to enable them to acquire compulsory basic education; also to persons aged 17 or older who have not yet acquired basic education.

Tartu will ensure a study place for all children who become subject to compulsory school attendance in their school of residence. The basic school of residence of a child is determined by the department of education, using ARNO (www.arno.ee) – the system for management of education services. School selection is dependent on the length of the school route and the capacity of particular school buildings. The process starts by extracting data concerning the place of residence of children from the Estonian population register as of 10 March. The basic school of a child’s residence will be made public in the ARNO system on 15 March.

Schools will accept applications through the ARNO system as of 15 March. You can also submit a paper application to the school.

If parents wish to change the basic school of residence their child has been assigned to because, for example, the other child in the family is attending another school or because the family has moved elsewhere, they can submit an appropriate application to the department of education using the ARNO system.

Schools start accepting applications from parents whose child is not a resident of Tartu on 1 May.

Parents also have the right to apply for a study place in basic schools, private schools or state-maintained schools with citywide admission. Admissions to basic schools with a citywide admission policy generally take place in February and applications can be submitted until 10 March.

Graduation from basic school requires that students in grade 9 complete examinations with harmonised questions and assignments. For more information on final examinations in basic school visit: http://www.innove.ee/en/general-education/final-examinations/basic

You can find the list of basic schools here (in Estonian).

Photo by Heikki Leis
Photo by Heikki Leis

School allowance

School allowance is a type of benefit designed for children who start attending grade 1, 2 or 3 in Tartu provided that they live in Tartu and that at least one of their parents also lives in Tartu. The school allowance in Tartu is €50.

In order to qualify for the allowance, you must submit the same application as when determining the child’s basic school of residence to the city government using the ARNO system. Log into ARNO using your ID card, mobile ID or bank links in order to submit the application.

Applications can be submitted between 1 and 15 September and the relevant allowance will be transferred to the applicant’s bank account by 1 October. Applications can also be submitted to the school’s office.

Foreign languages

The Tartu City Government poses no limitations on which foreign languages can be taught in basic schools. Every school must use their curriculum to describe which foreign languages students attending that school can choose from (as foreign language A and B). Said curriculum should be prepared in cooperation with different interested parties (incl. parents). Schools are not required to (but have the option to do so by a decision of the head of school) open a study group for teaching a foreign language if the number of interested students is fewer than 14. Students attending a basic school in Tartu can continue their foreign language studied in any secondary school in Tartu. Students continue learning the same languages in secondary school as they did in basic school.

To help students get by more easily (when changing schools or continuing their education) we recommend that students focus on English as foreign language A or choose it as their second preference (foreign language B).

Last changed 07.12.2020