Information in the menus below was updated in August 2021. To contribute information that may be of interest to others in your country, please contact your country’s hosts: Katarina Alanko ( or Johanna Sergejeff (  

  • People, groups, and organizations

    Not for profit

    • Promoting school engagement and preventing school attendance problems are the priorities in the Engaging School Community Work (SKY) -program plan which has been launched by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The essential goal of the program is to produce a national model for tackling SAP. The main focus is on preventive actions at school level. The national model will be prepared on the basis of local pilots and developmental assessment. More info here.
    • A National Theme Group for School Refusal started operation in October 2018. The focus of the group is to arrange annual meetings and seminars around the subject and to gather information about good practices in Finland and also abroad. The Theme Group is one of the functions of the VIP Network which is a national programme aimed at improving methods for students who need intensive multi-professional care and rehabilitation. The VIP Network is part of the current joint development work under the Finnish National Board of Education (NA) and the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture. To find out more about the Theme Group please contact Johanna Sergejeff. For information about the VIP network please click on this link.  
    • Under the National VIP Theme Group a network for researchers has been established in Finland, currently connecting researchers from Jyväskylä University, Helsinki University, Åbo Akademi, Valteri, and Helsinki-Uusimaa health care district. Please contact Johanna Sergejeff or Katarina Alanko
    • Researchers at Åbo Akademi University (Psychology) have started a validation study of three instruments: ISAP, SRAS-R, and SNACK. Data will be collected in Finland and in Sweden. Estimated project time is 2019-2023. Contact Katarina Alanko or see
    • An Erasmus KA2 project with four Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland) is on its way (2020-2022). It is called Problematic School Absence: Improving Systems and Tools. For more information contact Johanna Sergejeff.  
  • Current and upcoming activities and achievements
    • 2021 December 8: One day seminar on helping school refusing children, with methods from Hemmasittarprogrammet. In Finnish and Engslih.
      More information here. 
    • 2021 November 10: The 2nd Nordic Conference on School Absenteeism. More information here. 
    • 2021 October 4: One day webinar on helping school refusing children, with methods from Hemmasittarprogrammet. In Swedish.
    • 2021 August 26: A Kick off webinar on Engaging School Community Work (SKY) –program. More information here.
  • Past activities and achievements
    • 2021 February 11: The Ministry of Culture and Education in Finland is starting to develop a model to ensure prevention, early support and timely intervention for students with school attendance problems. For more information (in Finnish), click here.
    • 2021 January 14: The starting seminar of the School absenteeism project at Åbo Akademi. Invited guests and the researcher team presented insights into why we need validated methods to measure school non-attendance. Information at
    • 2020 September 15: A seminar in Tampere on school refusal, which is hosted by the Theme Group of the VIP Network. Click here to see more information.
    • 2020 in the Fall: one-day workshops introducing the Swedish Hemmasittarprogrammet will be organized in Turku (October 22) and Helsinki (November 3). An option to participate online is provided. Information is available at
    • 2020 March 25: A seminar in Helsinki on school refusal was postponed; it will be held in 2020 September 15 in Tampere.
    • 2020 January 30: A one-day workshop introducing the Swedish Hemmasittarprogrammet was held in Helsinki.
    • 2019 November 26: MindMe, a conference about school non-attendance in Jyväskylä, was organized by Pesäpuu ry and Valteri. 
    • 2019 April: Valteri Centre for Learning and Consulting and the Finnish National Board of Education are organizing a national congress on school support titled ‘Does School Belong to Everybody?’
    • 2019 March 28: An event in Helsinki for networking and sharing good practises; several communities were granted by the Board of Education to develop approaches to school attendance problems. For more information contact:
    • 2019 March 27: A seminar in Helsinki on school refusal, which is hosted by the Theme Group of the VIP Network. For more information contact Johanna Sergejeff
    • 2018 November: A series of seminars under the heading “Superpowers of the Mind” toured Finland. These seminars focused on student mental health and ways to support children in challenging situations. It served as in-service training for multi-professional members of school personnel. The seminars were organized through a project with Valteri coordination and more information can be obtained from Johanna Sergejeff
    • 2018 October: The Helsinki capital area for LAPE (National Programme to Address Child and Family Services) hosted a seminar titled “Back to School”. Dr Anne Marie Albano from Columbia University in New York (USA) gave a lecture on “When Children Refuse School”. For more information contact Leena Männistö
    • 2018 September: Valteri and Åbo Akademi University, Finland, hosted a meeting around the Hemmasittare project (a project for youth not attending school) which is from Sweden. The intervention model was introduced and its possible adaptation to Finland was discussed. For more information contact Katarina Alanko
  • Helpful links and other resources
    • The Back2School intervention is being piloted in municipalities in southwest of Finland. Åbo Akademi is conducting a feasibility study on the implementation and effectiveness of the program. Contact: ÅA: Katarina Alanko, Project in municipalities:
    • Kotoa kouluun is a project by child welfare organizations in Turku, in which family work to primary school children and families with school attendance problems is provided. Website: Contact: Monica Essén
    • A national screening on school attendance problems was done in Finland and the data was gathered from schools during winter 2020. The report will be out in May 2020. For more information contact Sami Määttä.  
    • Publication of the translated book about the Hemmasittarprogrammet called Kohti koulua, Hemmasittare-malli kouluakäymättömien tukena, is now available via this link
    • Publication of a book concerning school attendance problems (by Valteri, ed., called Takaisin kouluun, koulua kouluakäymättömille, is now available via this link.  
    • A small guide about school refusal, in Finnish, is available via this link. It is also available in Swedish and English
    • The Finnish translation of the adapted School Refusal Assessment Scale – Revised (SRAS-R) is available via For more information contact Marjaana Karjalainen
    • The Inventory of School Attendance Problems (ISAP) by Dr. Martin Knollmann has been translated into Finnish. The ISAP assesses both the quality and the function of a broad spectrum of school attendance problems. It is now available here
    • The SNACK instrument (School Non-Attendance ChecKlist; Heyne et al., 2019) has been translated into Finnish and is available at
    • The Swedish translations of SRAS-R, ISAP and SNACK are available at
    • There is an ongoing study on Tuuve online teaching method for students with severe school attendance problems, in collaboration between the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, and the University of Stavanger, Norway. For more information contact Tuomo Virtanen
    • Research project on validation of ISAP, SRAS-R, and SNACK, contact Katarina Alanko (Finnish data) and Johan Strömbeck (Swedish data). 
    • A dissertation handling individual and contextual factors related to school non-attendance is on it’s way by Jenni Pelkonen (PhD student in University of Jyväskylä and guidance counsellor in a lower secondary school), contact Jenni Pelkonen.
    • Research utilizing national dataset of 8th and 9th graders and secondary school students school absences and correlates (“School health promotion study”), as well as national data on school and community level (Tea-viisare), contact Katarina Alanko.  
    • Research on 'Experiences of school absenteeism: Stories by children and youth, parents and professionals', a qualitative research project; contact Katarina Alanko or visit
    • “Heidekenin tiedekummit” is a project in Southwestern Finland (Varsinais-Suomi) combining social work with evidence-based practice. Local scientists have been invited to form a support group around social work organizations. The first theme of the project is to develop working practices around early identification and intervention for school attendance problems. For more information, contact Katarina Alanko or Miia Hänninen. 

Disclaimer: INSA’s Mission encourages us to disseminate as much readily available information as possible, without judgement. The sharing of this information should not be seen as an endorsement by INSA. People, groups, and organisations are separated into ‘for profit’ (fees are charged for services) and ‘not for profit’ (including charities, who may charge no fees or nominal fees for services). Please access and use this information with proper judgement.

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