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Where to go after primary school?

Schüler sitzen im U-Bahnhof
Image: SenBJF

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. Even if the two types of school, Integrated Secondary School and Gymnasium, differ in some offerings and regulations, they have in common that all school leaving qualifications can be achieved.

Registration for secondary schools

Grade 5

The registration period for the transition to grade 5 at secondary schools is from 9 February to 14 February 2021.

Grade 7

The registration period for the transition to grade 7 at secondary schools is from 16 February to 14. February 2021

During this time, the parents will register their child in their first choice school. They can also specify a second and third choice. When registering, the registration form and the support outlook must be submitted.

When registering for the transition to grade 5 (foundational Gymnasium), special regulations apply

School registration in Berlin when moving from abroad

Has your child attended a school abroad and you now want to register your child for grade 7 at a public school in Berlin? Then the following registration criteria apply to you.

Berlin School Guide 2020/2021

In the Berlin School Guide “Where to go after primary school?” pupils and parents can find all the information they need to transition from a primary to a secondary school.

The brochure provides information about the registration process, the different types of schools, all-day offerings and foreign languages. It also includes a directory of all secondary schools.

The School Guide will help you find the right school profile and language offering for your child.

The school advises - the parents decide

In order to be able to make the right choice of a secondary school, the parents and their children receive early, individual and binding advice from the primary school about the type of school in which the pupil is likely to receive the best support.

Support outlook


In a written support outlook, the primary school recommends attending an Integrated Secondary School / Comprehensive school or an Integrated Secondary School / Comprehensive school and Gymnasium. This recommendation is based on the performance, learning skills, inclinations of the student and the appropriate offerings of the respective school type.

The support outlook includes an average grade, which is averaged from the grades from the 2nd term of the 5th grade and the 1st term of the 6th grade. The grades for German, mathematics, foreign language, natural sciences and social sciences count twice.

In the example below, the average grade is 67: (13 + 13) = 2.5.

The following recommendation results from the average grade:

In the intermediate range from 2.3 to 2.7, further characteristics of the child’s individual competencies (e.g. resilience, reflection on the learning process) are used as a decision for the support outlook.

average grades
The average grade is shown with a non-rounded place after the comma. *(According to §24 GsVO – Primary School Ordinance)”:http://gesetze.berlin.de/jportal/?quelle=jlink&query=GrSchulV+BE+%C2%A7+24&psml=bsbeprod.psml&max=true)

Choice of school


Parents are free to choose the secondary school desired for their child; it can also be in a different district than their place of residence. There is also freedom of choice in the type of school. However, it makes sense to orientate yourself to the support outlook so that the child is not overburdened or not challenged enough.

Consultation


For a registration at a Gymnasium despite a recommendation for the Integrated Secondary School and an average grade that is not better than 3.0, the parents must attend an additional consultation at a Gymnasium. To do this, make an appointment with a Gymnasium of your choice by 21 February 2021.

During the consultation the school administrators will amplify their expectations of Gymnasium students and go into the differences between the two types of school. The consultation is then confirmed by the Gymnasium on a form. This confirmation must be presented to the school of first choice.

How do I find the right school for my child?

Parents’ questions to the primary school

  • What average grade did the primary school determine? What is the support outlook?
  • What does the class teacher recommend in a personal interview?
  • Has my child learned independently and without major difficulties, as required by the Gymnasium?
  • What is the right learning pace for my child? Is a school that is more considerate of performance differences more suitable for my child?
  • Where does my child have weaknesses? Would an all-day school with support opportunities until 4 p.m. be the right one?
  • Can an initial career aspiration be derived from the interests of my child and how might this be supported?

Parents questions to themselves and their child

  • Which secondary school does my child want? And why?
  • Which schools are close to home? Which way to school can and do I want my child to take?
  • Does my child need a lot of help with homework and preparing for tests?
  • What favourite subjects does my child have and what interests?
  • Which second foreign language does my child want to learn?
  • What activities such as sports, music, chorus, computers would my child like to pursue at the new school in a working or study group and all-day offering?
  • Does my child already have a career aspiration and could I support it with the choice of school?

Questions from parents to the secondary school

  • Which courses does the school offer as an elective as of grade 7 and grade 9?
    Does the school offer a subject profile (e.g., mathematical-scientific, information technology, music or sports profile), classes with a special profile or working or study groups?
  • Which first foreign language did my child learn and which school offers it? What other foreign languages are offered at the new school?
  • My child already has their first career ideas. Does the school offer an education model with career preparation and dual learning? Does the school have a technical focus that fits a job profile?
  • Does the school have support offerings so that my child can work on their weaknesses during differentiated instruction or in support courses in the afternoon or be supported in their strengths?
  • What kind of partnerships does the school have with partners outside of school or with partner schools abroad? Which projects are supported at the school?
  • What is the lunch menu for the students like? Do you have your own cafeteria? * Is a warm meal guaranteed?

The most important differences between the integrated secondary school and Gymnasium are shown in the following table:

Comparison of the Integrated Secondary School and Gymnasium

  • Integrated Secondary School

    Gymnasium

    • Start: as of grade 7
      
(in some schools possible as of grade 5, in Comprehensive Schools as of 1st grade)

    as of grade 7

    (in some schools possible as of grade 5)

    • Probation year: no

    yes

    • Promotion to the next class:
      
7th-10th grade: always advance

      (voluntary repetition possible)

    
7th-10th grade: always advance


    • School years up to the Abitur: 13
      
(12 years possible)

    12

    • Possible school qualifications: Abitur, intermediate school leaving qualification, advanced vocational qualification, vocational qualification

    Abitur, intermediate school leaving certificate, advanced vocational qualification, vocational qualification

    • Educational objective: Ability for vocational training, ability to study after 13 (12) years

    Ability to study after 12 years

    • Students per class: max. 26

    max. 32

    • Instruction time (hours) per week:
      7th and 8th grade: 31
      
9th and 10th grade: 32

    7th and 8th grade: 33

    9th and 10th grade: 34

    • All day operation: yes

    at some Gymnasiums

    • Lunch offer: yes

    yes

    • Compulsory cooperation with: primary schools, upper level centres (OSZ) or other integrated secondary schools with an upper secondary level

    Primary schools

    • Foreign languages:
      1st foreign language is continued

      2nd foreign language as compulsory elective

    1st foreign language continued

    2nd foreign language compulsory

    • Dual learning: yes

      (school defines concept in school programme)

    possible

    (can be offered as a job-emphasis profile)

    • Internshp: yes

    yes

    • Differentiation of performance: yes, 2 requirement levels

    No

    • Individual support: yes

    yes

More registrations than free places - the admission criteria

If there are more registrations for a school than there are places available, not every child can be accepted. The selection of the students takes place according to clear and fair rules. Children with special educational needs are admitted first.

admission

The remaining places will be allocated according to the following distribution:

  • Up to 10 percent of the places are initially allocated for cases of hardship, then for children who have a sibling at this school.
  • At least 60 percent of the places are allocated according to admission criteria that each school has established and that are based on the performance and skills of the students. In addition to the average grade of the support outlook created by the primary school, the schools could choose according to their profile a combination of the grade total of certain subjects, special competencies of the student or the result of a test as acceptance criteria.
  • 30 percent of the places will be drawn by lot among the registered students, with siblings being given priority.

You can find the admission criteria for each school in the online school directory

Special admission criteria apply to the comprehensive schools. These are determined by the school while taking into account the school programme.

Timeline of the admission procedure

For children who have not been able to get a place at the school they want, there is an admission procedure that should guarantee them a place at their second or third choice school as far as possible.

Only if no admission is possible at any of the desired schools will the school authority name another school of the desired type of school.

On 28 May 2021 the school authority will send you the notification of your child’s admission.

If none of your three preferred schools can accept your child, the school authority will name by 15 June 2021 at the latest another school of the desired type that would accept your child. This school can also be in another district.

Graphic presentation of the admission process

Registration for the transition to the 5th grade (foundational Gymnasium)

If you would like your child to change to a secondary school after the 4th grade, please inform the class teacher by mid-December 2020. The primary school will schedule a consultation with you by the end of January 2021 at the latest.

The admission of your child can be tied to certain conditions, for example, grades or passing an admission test and will be made on the order of priority of certain criteria.

Fast learner classes


If your child is expected to attend a fast learner class, an aptitude test is required. You have to register your child for this at the school you want from 11 January to 14 January 2021.

Music Gymnasiums and French Gymnasium


For the entrance tests at music Gymnasiums and the French Gymnasium, you must have registered your child at the respective school by 15 January 2021. Please find out about the specific test dates at these schools in a timely manner.

Three schools of choice


On 29 January 2021 your child will receive their 4th grade first term report together with a support outlook. This will allow you to register your child at up to three schools of your choice.

  • First choice
*
    Register your child in your first choice school *from 9 February to 12 February 2021
    . The district school office will send you a notification on 10 March 2021, which will either confirm your desired school place or notify you of a rejection for the first choice school.
  • Second choice
    
If you have received a rejection, you now have the opportunity to apply to the schools that still have vacancies. You will be informed of these schools in the school authority notification. The registration period for this second application round is 17-18 March 2021. If admission to a school requires a test, your child must take it in any case. About two weeks later you will receive another notification with the acceptance or rejection of the school place.
  • Third choice
    
If your desired school place did not work out in the second application round, you can now apply to the schools at which there are still free places. The period from 12-13 April 2021 applies to this application.

If your child does not get a place at any foundational Gymnasium, they will continue their school career in their primary school.

Probationary year


Any student who does not pass the Gymnasium’s 5th grade, which is considered a probationary year, switches back to the 6th grade of the primary school.

Registration times for the 5th grade

    • All classes as of grade 5

      (first choice)

    09.02.-12.02.2021
    Decision on 10.03.2021

    • Aptitude test for fast learner classes

    11.-14.01.2021
    Test day: 23.01.2021

    • Test for mathematics-science and science classes

    15.02.2021 (first choice)
    19.03.2021 (second choice)

    • Test for music Gymnasiums and French Gymnasium

    15.01.2021

    • All as of grade 5

      (second choice)

    17.03.-18.03.2021
    Decision on 29.03.2021

    • All as of grade 5

      (third choice)

    12.04.-13.04.2021
    Decision on 19.04.2021

Link to: Elternbrief zum Übergang Klasse 5
Parents letter for the transition after grade 4

Parents letter for the transition after grade 4

You can find more information on the registration and admission procedure for the advanced transition to class 5 and an overview of the profile classes at the foundational Gymnasiums in this letter to parents: