Where to go after primary school?

Schüler und Schülerinnen vor der Schule

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.

Registration for secondary schools

Grade 5

The registration period for the transition to grade 5 at secondary schools is from 13 February to 16 February 2024.

Grade 7

The registration period for the transition to grade 7 at secondary schools is from 20 February to 28 February 2024

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 another federal state

Your child attends a school in another federal state and is now to move to Berlin. If you would like to register him/her for grade 7 at a Berlin public school, the registration criteria listed below apply. These differ from the procedure for Berlin school children because there is not yet a (main) residence in Berlin.

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.

  • Parents' Info Transition to Grade 7 - School Registration in Berlin when moving from other federal states (german)

    PDF-Document (222.7 kB) - As of: 2023

  • Parents' Info Transition to Grade 7 - School Registration in Berlin when moving from abroad (german)

    PDF-Document (391.2 kB) - As of: 2023

Where to go after primary school?

Berlin School Guide 2024/2025

The brochure informs you about the application procedure, the different types of schools, all-day programs, foreign languages or special school profiles. So you can find the right school and language offer for your child.

  • Where to go after primary school?

    School Guide 2024/2025 (EN)

    PDF-Document (1.3 MB)

  • Куди піти після початкової школи?

    Шкільний Посібник 2024/2025 (UA)

    PDF-Document (1.4 MB)

  • Çocuğum ilkokuldan sonra hangiokula gitmeli?

    Okul Rehberi 2024/2025 (TR)

    PDF-Document (1.4 MB)

  • إلى أين بعد المدرسة الابتدائية؟

    (AR) دليل المدرسة 2024/2025

    PDF-Document (4.3 MB)

  • Wohin nach der Grundschule?

    Schulwegweiser 2024/2025

    PDF-Document (1.4 MB)

  • Wohin nach der Grundschule - Leichte Sprache

    Schulwegweiser 2024/2025

    PDF-Document (1.3 MB)

  • Verzeichnis aller weiterführender Schulen

    sortiert nach Bezirken

    PDF-Document (500.5 kB)

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.

(Example calculation of the average grade for the support outlook)

The average grade is calculated based on the report grades from the second term of 5th grade and the first term of 6th grade. The grades for German, maths, foreign languages, natural sciences and social sciences are counted twice.

The average grade is calculated as follows: 67 : (13 + 13) = 2,5*

The average grade is shown with a non-rounded place after the comma.*(According to §24 GsVO – Primary School Ordinance)

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.


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, please make an appointment with a Gymnasium of your choice, which should take place by 19 February 2024.

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 an 8th grade: 31
9th and 10th grade: 32
7th an 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 offerd as a job-emphasis profile)
Intership yes yes
Differentation 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.

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 11 June 2024 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 12 July 2024 at the latest another school of the desired type that would accept your child. This school can also be in another district.

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 2022. The primary school will schedule a consultation with you by the end of January 2023 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 to attend a fast learner class, an aptitude test is required. To do so, you must register your child at the school of your choice between 9 January 2023 and 12 January 2024. The test will take place on 20 January 2024.

Music Gymnasiums and French Gymnasium

For the entrance tests of the music high schools and the French high school, you must have registered your child at the respective school by 12 January 2024. Please inform yourself about the specific test dates in good time at these schools

Three schools of choice

On 2 February 2024, your child will receive their 4th grade mid-year report card along with a financial aid projection. This will allow you to enroll your child in up to three schools of choice.

  • First choice
    From 13 February 2024 to 16 February 2024, register your child at your first choice school. The District Office of Education will send you a notice on 11 March 2024, either confirming your desired school placement or notifying you of a cancellation for your first choice school.
  • Second choice
If you have received a rejection letter, you now have the opportunity to apply to the schools that still offer openings. You will be notified of these schools in the school office notification. The application period for this second round of applications is 18 March 2024 to 19 March 2024. If admission to a school requires a test, your child must take it in any case. The district school office will send you the notice on 12 April 2024, either confirming your desired school placement or notifying you of a rejection for the second choice school.
  • Third choice
    If it still did not work out with your desired school place in the second application round, you can now apply to the schools where there are still free places. The period for this application is 18 April 2024 to 19 April 2024. The District Office of Education will send you a notice on April 26 2024 either confirming your desired school place or notifying you of a rejection for the third wish school.

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.

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: