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    The School System

    Most schools in Germany are state-run and offer excellent, free education for your children. The school day usually starts early in the morning and goes until noon or later. Many, but not all, schools now also offer additional afterschool care. The German school system distinguishes between primary and secondary schools. These different school types build on each other so that each level obtained opens other pathways to further education.

    Primary School

    In Germany, primary school goes from first to fourth grade. These four years focus on basic education (reading, writing, and math) and the promotion of academic and social skills. A foreign language is also taught in order to lay the foundation for and foster future language learning. These subjects are complemented by ethics or religion class and art class.

    Secondary School

    The secondary schools also provide general education in addition to vocational knowledge. Secondary schools are divided into 4 different school forms: “Hauptschule”, “Werkrealschule”, “Gemeinschaftsschule”, and “Gymnasium”. While the first three schools prepare students for vocational training, the “Gymnasium” prepares particularly gifted students for university studies.

    Compulsory Education

    Education is compulsory in Germany. Children between the ages of 6 and 18 must attend school. If school-age children miss class without an excuse, the police will drive to their homes and escort them to school. According to the Education Act, the beginning of a new school year requires that all children who have turned 6 by or on June 30th of the current calendar year attend school. If your child is six years old, he or she will be enrolled in a primary school at the beginning of the next school year. A later or earlier enrollment is possible upon request. The school administration office (“Schulverwaltungsamt“) will inform parents about enrollment deadlines and primary schools available within their district. Enrollment should take place approximately 10 months before the first day of school at the respective primary school (by the end of October in the previous school year). To register, you must bring your child and the following documents:

    • ID of the custody holder (usually mom or dad)
    • The child’s birth certificate or certificate of descent
    • Registration confirmation from the school administration office

    Students from Abroad

    Students who don’t speak German yet, or don’t speak it sufficiently, will first have to attend a preparation class. Here, they will learn German as a second language and be prepared for the transition into the grade typical for their age. After four to six weeks, these students will begin to attend their future class one hour at a time. The transition to full integration is designed individually and usually completed within one school year.

    Source: Welcome Center Neckar-Alb

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