Basic education is the mandatory minimum education requirement in Estonia. It covers grades 1-9. Basic education can be obtained in specific primary schools (that teach up to grade 6 only), basic schools (that teach up to grade 9), and upper secondary schools which offer the basic education curricula together with the upper secondary education.
The school year begins on September 1 and ends usually at the beginning of June. School holidays for most schools are in autumn (one week), during Christmas (usually two weeks) and in spring (one week).
Schools in Estonia are generally divided into two: public and private schools. Public schools are free and most of them accept children into the first grade based on their catchment area. (The local government provides a place for all eligible children at one of their municipal schools.)
Applications for entering the first grade can be submitted either via the e-school website or on paper to your local government. To fall into a catchment area, you must register the place of residence of your child in Estonia.
Where to study?
There are several municipal schools in Tallinn that primarily teach in a foreign language, including those set up in collaboration with other national governments, such as the Kadrioru German School (high emphasis on German) and the Finnish College (classes in Finnish). There is also a French Lyceum offering basic and secondary education.
Most schools in Estonia teach in either Estonian or Russian. Many of the Russian schools also have an immersion program for the Estonian language. Education in English is available mainly in private schools: International School of Estonia (IB), Tallinn European School (EB), International School in Tartu (IB), and the Estonian Business School (a highschool). Pay in mind that private schools have a tuition fee and a right to set specific admission conditions.
The Tallinn European School teaches in English and in a variety of other languages, including German, French, Spanish, Italian, Finnish and Estonian. The school maintains places for the children of the employees of the European institutions and agencies.