Education in Germany

Education in Germany: the School System

Learn with us how the education in Germany works! The German school system is very different to other countries’ school systems. It is obligatory until the kid is 15 years old. It has four or five categories depending on the Federal State:

  • Elementary school (from 0 to 6 years old)

Kindergrippe, Kindergarten or Kindertagespflege

  • Primary School (from 6 to 10 years old)
  • Secondary School (from 10 to 15/16 years old) Hauptschule, Realschule or Gymnasium
  • Secondary School (from 15/16 to 18/19 years old) Gymnasiale Oberstufe or berufsbildende Schule
  • Tertiary Education
    Hochschulen, Berufsakademien, Fachakademien, Fachschulen

More information here:

List of schools in Lower Saxony

Nursery School (Kitas)

In Germany it is extremely difficult to find a vacancy for your child in a nursery school. For this reason, it is recommended to register your kid as soon as possible and look for other alternatives in case of being rejected by the nursery-school of your choice.

Your kids do not need to speak English to enter, they will learn German very quickly by playing with other children. The groups of children are small and there is one nursery-school teacher for 20 children. Not all nursery-schools provide meals for children, although this is quite common in Kitas.

For futher information

Familien Service Büro

Adresse: Kurt-Schumacher-Straße 24, 30159 Hannover
Telefon: 05 11 / 168-43535
Fax: 05 11 / 168-41170

Check here a list of all the nursery schools available:

Nursery Schools

Jugendamt Braunschweig

Addresse: Eiermarkt 4 – 5, 38100 Braunschweig
Telefon: 05 31/4 70-1
Fax: 05 31/4 70-84 04

Check here a list of all the nursery schools available:

Nursery Schools

Jugendamt Stadt Osnabrück

Jugendamt Stadt Osnabrück

Addresse: Hannoversche Str. 6-8, 49084 Osnabrück
Telefon: 0541 / 323-0

Check here a list of all the nursery schools available:

Nursery Schools

Jugendamt Landkreis Oldenburg
Addresse: Delmenhorster Str. 6, 27793 Wildeshausen
Telefon: 0 44 31/85-0
Fax: 0 44 31/85-5 40

Check here a list of all the nursery schools available:

Nursery Schools

Frühe Hilfen, Familienbegleitung, Babybesuchsdienst

Adresse: Neuhäuser Str. 9, Drömlingcenter 38448 Wolfsburg
Telefon: 0 53 63 / 813036-40 oder 0 53 63 / 813036-31

Check here a list of all the nursery schools available:

Nursery Schools

Intercultural Parent Mediators (ELMO Project)

Do you want to be able to help your children with their choice of their future career? There is no better way than by knowing the German school and vocational training system. We can assist you and you will be able to spread this knowledge further: since 2012, BNW has trained and assisted parents with migration backgrounds in becoming “intercultural parent mediators”. The idea is very simple: we mediate and train parents about the school system and education in Germany and, later on, they work as multipliers with other parents and families that have similar questions regarding their children’s education.

Those parents become real consultants and play an important role in the children’s professional lives.

Would you like to know more about the education in Germany? Are you interested in becoming an intercultural parent mediator? Would you like to train the members of your association? If you are interested in this workshop, please contact us and we will be glad to help you.

Tips for parents raising multilingual children

  • Talk to your child in the language you know best, i. e. your first language (native tongue).
  • Make sure your child gets in touch with many different people (adults and children) also outside your family – that is to say talks to them because this is how he/she learns to talk to people and to exchange ideas.
  • When your child starts attending kindergarten and does not speak German yet, continue speaking your first language. In doing so you support your child’s language acquisition.
  • The more your child plays with German-speaking children in kindergarten and outside kindergarten hours, the faster he/she will learn to speak German.
  • When children are raised in a bilingual or multilingual environment, the following characteristics are quite normal:
  • Children mix expressions such as: „Du cleanst dein teeth“.
  • They confuse grammatical gender, e. g.: „die Auto“.
  • They do not use prepositions correctly: „bei die Baum“ (instead of: am Baum).
  • They sometimes skip the article in combination with prepositions: „auf Baum“ instead of „auf dem Baum“. (all examples according to Tracey 2006)
  • The older children get, the larger their vocabulary in the languages they speak on a daily basis. Gradually they will cease mixing up words and expressions. Do not correct your child by pointing out mistakes. Whenever an incorrect expression strikes you, you can help your child by repeating the sentence correctly, e. g. „Das stimmt, ich putze meine Zähne“ or „Ja, da fährt das Auto”.

Parents’ rights and duties

Education in Germany: parents are allowed to…

Information and advice

Parents have the right to ask teachers the following questions:

  • How would you describe my child’s learning progress and his/her work and social behaviour?
  • Are there any behavioural or learning difficulties? What can I do about it?
  • What marks does my child have? Will he/she be able to move up to the next class? What does it depend upon?
  • What does my child have to learn until the end of the school year?
  • Which type of school is suitable for my child?
  • What are the differences between the individual types of school?
  • What is the main focus in the different curricula and which specialties do the individual types of school offer?
  • Does my child have the possibility to change between the types of school – e. g. to go from Hauptschule to Realschule or Gesamtschule?
  • Which school leaving certificate does my child need for a certain kind of apprenticeship?
  • How can pupils and parents get involved?

Information on marks

Parents can ask teachers to show them their children’s tests and marks

Information on the lessons

In parent-teacher conferences parents may ask teachers to describe the way they structure and give lessons

Requests and complaints

During parent meetings (parent evenings) which should take place regularly parents have the right to express requests and complaints and to ask questions on the class and the school.

Parents’ spokesperson

Parents have the right to elect a parents’ spokesperson for their class. The election takes place during the first parent meeting (parent evening) of the school year. After two years a new election is carried out.

Parents’ council

All the parents’ spokespersons of the individual classes form the parents’ council. If fundamental changes (school organization, assessment of performance) are up for discussion the parents’ council has to be heard and may deliberate. The chairperson of the school parents’ council represents all the parents of the entire school.

Note on the representation of pupils with a foreign background:

Parents with a foreign background very often have different problems and questions than the rest of the parents. Therefore there is an additional way for parents of pupils with a foreign background to get involved in the parents’ council. If there are several pupils with a foreign background at a school (at least 10) and none of their parents is a member of the school’s parents’ council, those parents may choose between them one full and one deputy member for the school parents’ council.

Pupil files and data protection

Parents are allowed to view their child’s pupil file. It contains files of the school, of the school counselling service and of the school health service. Personal data on behavioural problems or disciplinary actions are protected specifically. Viewing the pupil file is only possible in the school building.

Sit in on lessons

Subject to prior consultation with the teacher parents are allowed to sit in on individual lessons.

School recommendation

At the beginning of the second term of 4th grade you will receive initial information on the type of secondary school your child seems well-suited for. The actual recommendation will be given about five weeks before the end of the 4th school year of Grundschule (primary school). The school recommendation is based on the following criteria: child’s level of proficiency, learning progress during Grundschule, work and social behaviour and information gathered in conversations with the parents. After receipt of this recommendation and of the report card you have the possibility to arrange a counselling interview with the school. Afterwards you, the parents, decide which type of school your child shall attend.

Education in Germany: parents are not allowed to….

  • choose the class their children attend or the teachers.
  • tell the teachers what they are supposed to teach.
  • decide whether homework is set or not.
  • make a contribution to the curriculum.
  • have marks changed.