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How is the education system in Germany after removals? How do you find the right school for your children and what are the differences compared to education systems in other countries?

| Anna |

What is the education system in Germany after moving?

The education system in Germany is specific and different from many other countries. Here is some basic information that can help you understand how education works in Germany and how to find the right school for your children.

Structure of the education system


For children aged 3-6 years. They are not compulsory, but many children attend them.

Primary school 

For children aged 6-10 years (grades 1-4). After primary school, children are directed to different types of secondary school depending on their ability and the wishes of their parents.

Secondary education

Secondary school

Usually lasts until grade 9. The programme is more practical than theoretical. Graduates are often directed to vocational training.

Vocational school

Ends in the 10th grade. Upon completion, students may enter vocational training or continue their studies.

Grammar school

The longest form of secondary education, ending with the baccalaureate (Abitur) after grade 12 or 13. Allows access to higher education.

Further education

University of Applied Sciences

This is a type of university with a focus on practical learning. Studying at such a university often prepares you for specific careers in engineering, business or social service.


A traditional form of university offering a wide range of programmes and courses, from the humanities to the sciences.

Secondary schools for adults in Germany

For those who have not completed the traditional educational pathway at a typical age, there are special secondary schools for adults (Abendschulen), which allow them to take the baccalaureate at a later age.

Language of instruction in German schools

German is the main language of instruction in most schools, although in some regions (e.g. Bavaria) there may be bilingual or international schools. There are many international schools where English or another foreign language is the language of instruction. These are popular with expat families.

Support for students with special needs

In Germany, there are special education facilities and support programmes for children with various needs, such as learning difficulties, disabilities or therapeutic needs.

Grading in schools in Germany

Germany uses a grading system from 1 to 6, with 1 being the best grade (very good) and 6 being insufficient.

School culture 

– german schools place a high value on punctuality, independence and responsibility;

– homework is often assigned and students are expected to complete it independently,

– many schools do not have school uniforms,

– traditionally, pupils do not change classrooms – it is the teachers who move between classes.

Parental involvement in children’s education

German schools often expect parents to be actively involved in school life. There are parent councils that participate in important decisions for the school.

How do I find the right school?

Place of residence

In Germany, children usually attend the school closest to where they live. It is therefore worth checking the schools in your area.


By talking to neighbours, other parents or using local online forums, you can get recommendations for local schools.

Visit the school

If you have the opportunity, visit the schools of your choice to learn about their atmosphere, teaching approach and other important aspects.

Differences compared to education in other countries

Division into different types of secondary school

In many countries, there is one educational pathway for all students in secondary school. In Germany, the system is more diverse, allowing teaching to be tailored to individual students’ needs.

Importance of vocational education and training

The dual system of vocational training (Duale Ausbildung) is specific to Germany. It enables theoretical learning at school to be combined with work experience in a company.

Moving to Germany

If moving to Germany is something new for your family, it is worth familiarising yourself with the German education system and possibly consulting experts in the field. This can help you make the right decisions about your children’s education in the new country. If the remove to Germany involves your children, it is also worth considering taking German language courses, which will help to better integrate them into the German education system and culture.