Comprehensive school

Schülerin im Klassenraum

The Comprehensive school was set up as a pilot project during the 2008/2009 school year. Since 2018 the Comprehensive school has been firmly incorporated in the School Act as a type of school that includes all school levels.

The aim of the Comprehensive school is to create more equality and fairness of opportunity through longer joint learning and optimal support of the individual abilities and skills of all students. Maximum learning and performance development is made possible by differentiated learning offerings and full-day operation. The Comprehensive schools lead to all school leaving qualifications.

Learning community from school enrolment to school leaving qualification

Joint and individual learning from grades 1 to 10 and even up to grade 13 is stipulated in the Comprehensive school. Today there are 26 Comprehensive schools and school alliances in Berlin, one of which is privately supported.


Comprehensive schools without their own primary school or upper secondary level have binding collaborations with primary schools or schools with an upper secondary school. In this way, the transitions between the grade levels are secure and smooth.

7th grade transition

Comprehensive school students automatically switch to the 7th grade of their school if the students and parents so wish. Likewise, students from primary schools with which there are binding collaborations are given priority.

Movie: Comprehensive schools live diversity

"Comprehensive schools live diversity" – that is the motto for the 10th anniversary of the Comprehensive school. The movie shows how the school community experiences the concept. Students, parents and educators report on their experiences and describe everyday life in the schools in their own way.

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"Comprehensive schools live diversity" – that is the motto for the 10th anniversary of the Comprehensive school. The movie shows how the school community experiences the concept. Students, parents and educators report on their experiences and describe everyday life in the schools in their own way.

Basic objectives of the Comprehensive school

  • The Comprehensive school is to lead to more equality and fairness of opportunity regardless of the circumstances of the children and young people.
  • The skills and abilities of all students are to be better developed and encouraged by individual support. Through independent learning and the support of individual learning paths, maximum performance development is to be enabled.
  • The Comprehensive school dispenses with external subject performance differentiation as an organizational principle.
  • Through close cooperation between teachers, school staff, students, parents and partners outside of school, the Comprehensive school is developing into a democratic learning and living space.
  • In the Comprehensive school mutual recognition and respect for all is an important key objective.

Individual learning strengthens individual skills

The Comprehensive schools have already successfully developed a diverse range of learning, support and profiling offerings. Through these offerings Comprehensive school students are strengthened in their individual learning paths and in independent learning and can also develop individual skills.

This is reflected, for example, in a wide range of basic and compulsory elective courses or in project, workshop and weekly schedule work, work in the learning office and in open learning.

Regular individual feedback on learning and performance supplements the term grade report or can replace it up to grade 8. In the Comprehensive school all school leaving qualifications can be obtained with appropriate performance.

Cover Gemeinschaftsschule als Ziel

Comprehensive school documents

Guide for schools

This guide supports interested schools in the initiation and implementation process and answers the following questions, among others:
  • Which schools can be transformed into a Comprehensive school?
  • What belongs in the educational and organizational concept?
  • What options does a Comprehensive school have for an upper secondary school?

The guide also contains a checklist with which the individual steps on the way to the Comprehensive school can be documented.

  • To the Guide: Comprehensive school as a goal


    PDF-Document (363.1 kB) - As of: 2021

  • Designing Comprehensive schools: A Practical Guide


    PDF-Document (7.8 MB) - As of: Oktober 2011

  • Designing a Comprehensive school: material collection


    PDF-Document (21.2 MB) - As of: 2011

Scientific monitoring 2018 - 2019 Transitions

This report presents the status of the research project after 18 months and two phases of data collection. It primarily formulates answers to the question of the transition from the elementary level to the secondary level of the community school and is based on the analysis of area-wide classroom observations, interviews with school administrators,
colleagues, and students at the schools participating in the study. Answers to the question about the practice of individualized support are included in the statements about the transition.

  • Report on the study period June 2018 to November 2019.


    PDF-Document (2.3 MB)

  • Report on the study period June 2018 to November 2019 (abridged version)g


    PDF-Document (1.9 MB)

Scientific support of the pilot phase 2008-2018

Final report

The final report submitted for the scientific support of the pilot phase contains these sub-studies:
  • Lesson design and lesson development and
  • Learning level development (cohort comparison of a two-time run of the learning level tests in grades 7 and 9).

The results show that the development of the Comprehensive schools towards a school for all students is characterised by progress and the consolidation of what has been achieved. The schools succeed in supporting students individually. This means that weaker students can be brought close to the middle and the more capable students are motivated to make further learning progress.

The Comprehensive schools achieve one of their main goals, namely the separation of learning success and social origin. Students from a socially stressed background often achieve equally good learning progress as those from less socially stressed parental homes.

Comprehensive schools also largely meet the requirements of an inclusive school. The students with special educational needs have achieved considerable growth in learning, while a comparison of classes with and without students with special educational needs shows no disadvantages of joint learning. In some instances, the learning progress in “inclusive” classes was actually especially high.

The objective for the scientific support was the process-oriented evaluation of the development and implementation of the Comprehensive school pilot phase. This means that the schools were supported throughout the qualification process and received help in developing and continuously reviewing their goals and quality criteria.

All told, the scientific questions were concerned with eight topics:

  1. Framework conditions

  2. Development of type of school related offerings

  3. Development of motives for choosing a school and decision-making preferences of parents

  4. Management and organization of the schools

  5. School performance (including assessments of learning levels in four subjects)

  6. School climate

  7. Design of learning and teaching

  8. Transfer effects.

The scientific support was commissioned after a Europe-wide tender. The consortium consists of Rambøll management, the Office for school development and school development research of the University of Hamburg and the school development experts Ulrich Vieluf and Professor Dr. Johannes Bastian.

The interim reports from 2008 to 2013 can be found here:


Grundsatzangelegenheiten und Schulaufsicht der Gemeinschaftsschulen

Further information

Das Berliner Schulsystem

Educational pathways

Berlin’s education system is diverse and permeable, because many different paths can lead to the goal. The different types of schools ensure every schoolchild the best possible individual support. Here you find Berlin’s educational pathways: from elementary school to secondary school or Gymnasium (grammar school). You will also find information on how to continue with vocational training after general school education. More information

Schüler und Schülerinnen vor der Schule

Where to go after primary school?

In the sixth school year children and their parents have to make an important decision: choosing a secondary school. Primary schools help parents make this decision because every child should attend the school that best suits their skills and abilities. More information