The German school system
Germany offers a very good public school system and different to many other countries, there is no charge for children to attend school. However international and private schools do of course charge fees.
For children from six years on it is mandatory to go to school. Depending on the federal state you move to, the public school system will vary slightly. To give a short overview, the German school system is structured as follows:
Primary school: starts at the age of six and includes first to fourth grades. Only in Berlin and Brandenburg primary school extends through sixth grade. At the end of primary school, the parents and the teachers will decide where the child will enter fifth grade, depending on its performance.
The most common types of secondary schools are:
- Hauptschule (non-academic secondary school for grades five through nine or ten)
- Realschule (mid-level secondary school for grades five through ten)
Young people who have successfully completed the Hauptschule or Realschule are eligible for vocational training or can transfer to a Gymnasium.
- Gymnasium (academic secondary school for grades five through twelve/thirteen)
At the end of the 12th or 13th grade, students receive a diploma upon passing the Abitur examination. This entitles them to study at a university. However, they may also choose to undergo vocational training and enter the job market directly.