Berlin's school system

Das Berliner Schulsystem

The transition to secondary school follows after the one- to three-year initial phase of school education and generally four more years in a primary school. This transition is also possible after four years if that appropriate levels of performance have been achieved.

Primary school and early years phase

The early years phase usually lasts two years. The transfer to secondary school takes place after year 6. If the pupil has the appropriate performance and aptitude, it is also possible to transfer to a foundation grammar school after year 4.

Community school

At the Gemeinschaftsschule, pupils remain together from Year 1 to Year 10. All school-leaving qualifications are possible. The Abitur can be obtained after 13 school years.

Integrated secondary school

A transfer to the integrated secondary school (ISS) is possible after year 6. All school-leaving qualifications can be obtained – the Abitur after 13 school years. Career guidance programmes and internships provide initial insights into the world of work.

Grammar school

At the Gymnasium, pupils can obtain the Abitur after 12 school years.

Vocational grammar school / sixth form centre (OSZ)

Here, students choose from six specialisations and vocational fields. Courses from the respective vocational field supplement the traditional subjects.

Schools with a special educational focus

These schools exclusively teach children and young people with disabilities, illnesses or impairments and pave the way for the greatest possible integration into society. The transition from here to a general school is also possible.


  • Abitur = university entrance qualification
  • MSA = intermediate school leaving certificate
  • EBBR = Advanced vocational training qualification
  • BBR = Vocational training qualification

School-leaving qualifications for young people with special educational needs “Learning” at the end of year 10:

BOA = vocationally orientated qualification
  • the qualification equivalent to the vocational training qualification

MSA and EBBR require a final examination. The transition to the gymnasiale Oberstufe requires, among other things, the MSA at extension level with a final grade better than or equal to 3.0 and the authorisation to transfer to the introductory phase of the gymnasiale Oberstufe.