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Primary and Secondary Schools in Germany

Freie Schule Anne-Sophie

Künzelsau, Germany
We're a private, comprehensive school, grades K- 12 (Abitur) with up to 750 students, in Southern Germany and are looking to establish permanent exchange programs with a Spanish-speaking country, the USA or another English-speaking country, and possibly an Asian country.

Primary and Secondary Schools in Germany by City:


About Primary and Secondary Schools in Germany

The responsibility of framing the education system in Germany lies with individual state governments. Consequently, the maximum age for free and compulsory education in Germany varies from 12 to 18 years over different states. Pre-primary or kindergarten education, which is provided to all children between three and six years of age, is optional and is not a part of the formal school curriculum. Kindergarten schools or the children’s daycare centers are primarily run by the town administration, churches and registered societies. At the age of six years, a student becomes entitled to attend a Grundschule (primary school).

Primary Education in Germany

Primary schooling in Germany lasts for four years (grades one to four). There are five options for primary schools in Germany. These are based on the educational approach followed by each school:

State Schools – They do not charge tuition fee and therefore, majority of students hailing from middle class and working class families attend the state primary schools in their neighborhoods.

Waldorf Schools – The curriculum here relies heavily on the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steiner and involves a humanistic approach to education. The curriculum primarily focuses on developing creative and analytical, imaginative skills amidst the pupils.

Montessori Method Schools – These schools follow the educational philosophy developed by Maria Montessori and their curriculum lays a lot of emphasis on liberty, self-construction and spontaneity.

Freie Alternativschule (Free Alternative Schools) – These schools follow an entirely different approach towards education, which is different from the traditional mode of imparting knowledge to students in elementary schools.

Parochial school – These schools are managed and supported by a local church congregation or a parish. These can be further sub-divided into two different groups based on the ideologies they follow, Protestant and Catholic schools.

Secondary Education in Germany

After Grundschule, at the age of ten, students enter into secondary schooling, which in Germany is available in four different tracks. The type of secondary school they go to determines the course of their future education, and whether they will go to a university, technical field or trade.

Hauptschule – The curriculum of these German secondary schools is specifically designed for students who wish to venture into trades like construction. The schooling period continues till 9th or 10th grade (14 or 15 years) after which they attend Berufsschule, an educational cum vocational school.

Realschule – These secondary schools specifically serve to prepare students for white collar jobs, which do not require university studies like banking etc. The schooling generally lasts up to 10th grade (15 to 16 years).

Gymnasium – Gymnasium is a preparatory secondary school for students planning to attend universities and polytechnics for higher education. Some schools offer classical education in languages like Latin and Greek, whereas others focus on subjects like economics, history, and pure sciences among others. Completion of the twelfth grade (age 17 to 18 - "G8") in Gymnasium leads to the conferment of the Abitur degree.

Gesamtschule – This is a comprehensive secondary school, meant for providing college preparatory classes to students who are doing well at their respective schools; general education classes for average students; and remedial classes for weaker students.

Upon completion of secondary education in Germany, students can opt for apprenticeships, higher vocational training or further university education, depending on the track they pass out of.