Primary and secondary education in Germany
Primary school in Germany is known as Grundschule and term starts around the beginning of September. From ages six to ten, children go through four years of school at a primary level. However, some primary schools run for six years; that means your 5th-grade age would be 11 and a 6th year student would be 12 years old.
How old are you in 4th grade?
This depends on when you entered school. If a child hasn't turned six by the time school starts, they are considered a kann Kind or a 'can child' - as in they can attend school. They're not a muss Kind, which is a 'must child'. These children must attend school.
What does the kann Kind's eligibility depend on?
They may be required to pass a test known as the Einschulungsuntersuchung - and even if this is passed, administrators may not offer entering secondary school as an option if the child is not also socially or physically ready.
Once primary school is complete, students progress to the secondary school component. There are five types, including:
- Gymnasium: for "academic" students
- Realschule: for vocation-focused students
- Hauptschule: for "less academic" students
- Gesamtschule: a comprehensive school for all education types
- Integrated schools: where Hauptschule and Realschule curricula are merged
School holidays in Germany include common breaks like Easter, winter holidays, and summer holidays. The exact dates differ for each kind of school, however.
Berlin public schools, for example, begin the summer break around June 20th and end around August 2nd. Meanwhile, students in Bavaria break around July 29th and resume around September 9th. The exact dates change from year to year.
Is education in Germany for free?
Administrators and educational ministers in Germany believe that the costs for education should not be a prohibiting factor in a child's education. That's why compulsory education in Germany is completely free for all students.
Do German Students wear a school uniform?
No. If you're attending a public school, you do not need to wear a school uniform.
Does Germany have homework?
Homework in Germany is considered very important, and the school day is structured in such a way that students have plenty of time to complete it and gain extra help or support where necessary.
Even in primary school, students spend at least half an hour on homework every day (known as Hausaufgaben). Students will have 20 to 30 hours of lessons every week.
How long is the average school day in Germany?
Each class runs for about 45 to 50 minutes. There are breaks for food and socializing, but there's usually no need for a cafeteria, because school ends at around lunchtime.