Education System in Germany Till Abitur
Between the age of three and enrollment in primary school, children attend kindergartens. They spend all day or part of the day at the kindergarten. Attendance is voluntary. Kindergartens are to provide care for children, educate them and foster their development into responsible individuals with good communication skills. In some Länder there are also other institutions such as pre-school classes or school kindergartens which prepare children for transition to primary school.
This covers classes 5 and 6 which either form part of the various secondary schools or are separated from them. The aim is to promote pupils and to enable parents to decide what type of secondary education they wish to choose for their child.
Intermediate schools are secondary schools covering classes 5 to 10 or 7 to 10. The final certificate awarded by these schools in general provides the basis for training in all types of mediumlevel occupations. It qualifies holders for attendance at Fachoberschulen(see below), specialized grammar schools or grammar schools with classes 11 to 13 only (Gymnasien in Aufbauform) Intermediate schools provide extended general education.
Comprehensive schools combine the different types of secondary school in various organizational and curricular forms. There are integrated comprehensive schools (joint classes for all pupils) as well as additive and cooperative comprehensive schools (the various types of school of secondary level stage I exist side by side on the same premises).
Primary schools cover the first four years of schooling, in Berlin and Brandenburg they cover six years. They are attended by all children and provide basic education, preparing children for secondary schooling. The subjects taught include German, mathematics, art and craft, music, physical education and the basics of biology, physics, chemistry, social studies, history and geography. More foreign language instruction is offered in all countries.
Attendance at secondary general school is compulsory for all pupils who, having finished primary school, decide not to attend any of the other types of secondary school. Secondary general school covers classes 5 to 9 and in some Länder includes class 10. In most Länder, voluntary participation in class 10 at secondary general school is possible. Approx. 30% of secondary general school pupils stay on for a tenth year. Secondary general schools provide general education as a basis for practical vocational training.
Grammar schools are secondary schools which, as a rule, cover 9 or 8 years (classes 5 to 13 or 12) or 7 years (classes 7 to 13). Schools in Saxony and Thuringia consist of only 12 classes. Nearly all Länder meanwhile offer or plan to offer the possibility of acquiring the final certificate (Abitur) after 12 years of schooling. There are also grammar schools with classes 11 to 13 only, which as a rule are open to pupils with a final certificate from intermediate school. The final certificate awarded by grammar schools (Abitur) qualifies its holder for studies at all institutions of higher education.
Specialized Grammer School
Specialized grammar schools are oriented towards occupations. They accept pupils who have earned an intermediate school certificate or equivalent. The final certificate awarded after three years (classes 11 to 13) qualifies its holder for studies at all institutions of higher education (Abitur).
Special schools apply special teaching concepts which meet the special needs of children and adolescents with handicaps. There are different schools for the different kinds of handicap. Special schools provide not only teaching at the primary and secondary levels, both stage I and stage II, (sometimes organized as boarding schools), but also practical advice for everyday life and support for social integration. Corresponding institutions are also available at the level of intermediate schools, grammar schools and vocational schools.