Unlike in other countries, the education policy in Germany is determined by the individual states. This means that the curriculum and even textbooks may differ, depending on where in Germany you and your family live. Individual states also have different types of schools. Today we will be talking about the different secondary school types in Berlin.
Secondary school education
After attending primary school, it is time to make a decision about which secondary school to send your child to. In Berlin, children are accepted to secondary schools in the 7th grade, as opposed to most of the other German states where children move from primary to secondary school (either to a "Gymnasium" or an integrated secondary school) in the 5th grade.
As a rule, students attend a "Gymnasium" between the ages of 10 and 18, or from the age of 12 (7th grade). Some Gymnasien in Berlin also offer the transition to the 5th grade. You can find details on this in our article on "The transition to a Gymnasium in Berlin".
Because of the academically-focused education, this type of school is aimed at children who want to study, although many employers also prefer a high school degree. At the end of the 12th or 13th grade, students take the Abitur examination which serves as an entrance qualification to a university. Students can also opt for vocation training.
Integrated Secondary School (ISS)
Berlin replaced the former Hauptschule, Realschule and Gesamtschule with the Integrated Secondary School (ISS) in 2010. This type of school encourages weak students and challenges high-performing students. Children attend between the ages of 10 to 15 or 16, although some secondary schools also have their own upper level. There, the university entrance qualification is obtained in the 13th grade as opposed to the 12th grade at a "Gymnasium".
After the 10th grade at an ISS, the students receive either the vocational qualification (BB, Hauptschulabschluss), the extended vocational training certificate (eBB, earlier extended Hauptschulabschluss) or the intermediate school leaving certificate (MSA, Realschuleabschluss) - depending on the level of performance.
We hope this article answers any doubts you may have about the different secondary school types in Berlin. Make an appointment and visit our school or take part in one of the regular digital information events. We are here for you and above all else, for your child.