The German Public Education System

The German school system may seem quite different from the one in the country you are coming from. At first it may seem confusing but soon you will understand how it works. Children are required to start school at the age of six. They attend elementary school from grades 1 to 4 and usually have the same teacher for these 4 years. During their last year in grade 4, their teachers will decide which type of school they should go to. Children who achieve good marks, are self-confident and are very interactive at school will probably be referred to the Gymnasium. Gymnasium, which is similar to Grammar school, continues to either grade 12 or grade 13, depending on which State you live in. Children who receive their Gymnasium diploma have the qualification to continue on to University.

Children with good grades but be a little shy to speak in class may be referred to Realschule, which is from grades 5 until 10. At the end of this type of schooling, the pupil would most likely continue to do a three year job apprenticeship or, if their marks are good enough, try to get the qualifications for going to a University by changing schools and continuing up to grade 12/13.

Children who need to work at a slower pace may be referred to the Hauptschule, which offers all of the same subjects but is more vocational oriented than the other types of schools. Once the pupil has completed this type of schooling, he or she will continue to do a 3 year job apprenticeship or, if their marks are good enough, try to change to a different school to continue their education.

The Gesamtschule is a school form that offers each of these 3 types of systems in one building. The children are all in the same classes at first but then are divided into different courses at different levels. This type of school offers late developers more options for achieving higher level qualifications without having to change schools.

English is taught from grade one all the way up to the end of public schooling. Bilingual secondary schools offer other subjects, such as geography and history, in the English language as well.

Elementary school usually starts at 8 o´clock in the morning and ends around noon. Some schools offer afternoon supervision at an extra cost but this is not common and sometimes makes it difficult for working parents. School holidays, depending on which State you live in, are roughly 12 weeks per school year. These holidays take place at Christmas, Easter, Autumn and for a period of 6 weeks in the summer. You are not allowed to take your children out of class unless permission has been granted from the school they are attending.

International Schools

There are a number of international English speaking schools in Germany but they are usually only found in larger cities. These schools have pupils from all over the world, as many expatriate families choose to have their children educated in the English language. These schools have advantages such as smaller classes and better funding of school material and extra-curricular activities, but also disadvantages such as distance to school and the cost of tuition. The wearing of a uniform is often mandatory at private institutes.

Fidelio Main Office: +49 69 40 56 499-1 · info(bittekeinspam)