What is the School System in Germany?

What is the School System in Germany?
Post Date: 12.01.2024

What is Germany's school system like? When your children are six years old, it is compulsory to attend school because attendance is compulsory in Germany. Most German schools are run by the government and your children are free to attend. Also, of course, there are private and international schools that charge fees.

In Germany, regional governments are responsible for educational policy. This means that the school system will to some extent depend on the region where you and your family live. Children in Germany do not always have the same curriculum in all cases, and textbooks may be different. States also have different types of schools. However, basically, the German school system is structured as follows:

Elementary School Normally, six-year-olds start school careers in primary school, which includes the first four classes. Only in Berlin and Brandenburg, elementary school continues until the sixth grade. At the end of primary school, you and your child's teachers decide which secondary school your child will go to, depending on your child's performance.

Further training (secondary schools) - the most common species:

  • Hauptschule (secondary school for grades 5-9 or tenth)
  • Realschule (more practical junior high school for tenth graders)
  • Gymnasium (more academic middle school for five to thirteen / thirteenth grades)
  • Gesamtschule (comprehensive school for five to thirteen / fifteenth graders)

Hauptschule and Realschule: Young people who successfully complete the Hauptschule or Realschule qualify for vocational training or may transfer to the sixth form / senior year at a Gymnasium or Gesamtschule.

Gesamtschule: It combines the Hauptschule, Realschule and Gymnasium and offers an alternative to the triple school system.

High school: At the end of the 12th or 13th grade, students take the exams known as the Abitur, and when they pass high school they receive an advanced secondary education certificate qualified to study at a university or university of applied sciences. However, they can also choose to pursue vocational training and directly enter the job market.

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Registration of newly arrived children and young people from abroad

If your child is of school age when he or she enters Germany, you will have no doubt about how they can find a place at school. This is determined by the school management, in consultation with the local government authority. As a general rule, children who have recently entered the country and cannot attend regular school classes due to a lack of German will be given special practice lessons instead. The goal is to integrate them into regular school classes as soon as possible.

How do I know a good school

As a rule, you are free to decide which school your child attends. That's why it's a good idea to check out a few schools. One of the hallmarks of a good school is that it not only provides high-quality education, but also offers extra-curricular activities such as theater, sports, language and music clubs and school trips. A good school also encourages parental involvement. In addition to finding out if the school has a place for your child, you should also ask about extracurricular options. If your children have not yet learned German, make sure that the school offers German courses often referred to as "German as a foreign language". Here, the teachers will make sure your child understands the lessons and can keep up with the curriculum.