The German School System
Your children will receive a great education in FrankfurtRheinMain (FRM). There are many types of schools with different strengths, very much geared to the interests and skills of individual students. Most importantly: education in Germany is free for every child.
All children who live in Germany must go to school. School attendance is compulsory as soon as children turn six years of age. In Hessen, children who turn six before 30 June start school the same year. In Rheinland-Pfalz, the deadline is 31 August and in Bavaria, 30 September.
All children and teenagers must attend a school full-time for nine years. After nine years, the period of compulsory education ends. Regulations for extended compulsory education vary from state to state.
In Hessen, students have to stay at school for another year if they did not obtain a qualification, they are not starting vocational training or they are not attending a secondary school. In Rheinland-Pfalz and Bavaria, the period of compulsory education is twelve years.
Almost all children in Germany (over 90%) attend state schools, as the quality of teaching, facilities and teachers is of a high standard. All state schools in Germany are free of charge. In FrankfurtRheinMain children and teenagers have a choice of different types of schools. More detailed information on the types of schools and qualifications is available here.
FrankfurtRheinMain also has many private schools with different strengths and concepts. This includes international and bilingual schools. Parents normally choose private schools because of the special childcare options, educational concepts or because lessons are offered in different languages. If your child goes to a private school, you have to pay the tuition fees yourself. These fees can vary considerably.
You have free choice of which private school you send your child to, and, in general, the same applies to secondary schools. Your child’s primary school is based on the catchment area (Schulbezirk/Schulsprengel) in which you live. This has the advantage that your child does not have to travel far to go to school and can make friends with children who live nearby.
Classes are held in the morning. Older children also have classes in the afternoon. Afternoon classes for younger children are becoming increasingly popular, however. Students can have lunch at the school cafeteria before their afternoon classes.
School days in Germany are shorter than in many other countries. School starts as early as 8 am. Afternoon classes often finish at 3 pm.
Homework and After-school Care
Homework is not generally done at school, but is done after classes finish either at home or in after-school care. If you would like your child to be cared for in the afternoons, you need to organise after-school care separately either in school or externally (depending on what is on offer) and also pay for it.
Students’ performance at school is marked from 1 (very good) to 6 (inadequate). All subjects are taught in German except at international and bilingual schools. For children with insufficient knowledge of German, many schools offer special language classes for German as a foreign language (“Deutsch als Fremdsprache”).