In Germany, all children who reach 6 years of age by the 30th of September of a given year must attend school. Most of the schools are state schools. Your children can thus attend those schools free of charge. You are also free to choose private and international schools. Those schools charge fees. Because school policy is a matter for the individual federal states in Germany, there are slightly different systems in operation in the individual states. In Baden-Württemberg and thus in the Stuttgart Region, the types of school are as follows:

Grundschule (primary school)

6-year olds generally start their schooling at primary school, attended by all children from the first grade to the fourth grade. Depending on how well your child performs at primary school, you can subsequently decide together with the teachers which type of school your child should attend from the fifth grade onward.

Haupt- und Werkrealschule (secondary and technical school)

This type of school provides basic and further general education and takes a practical and real-life approach to teaching.

After six years, pupils obtain an intermediate-level school-leaving certificate (Werkrealschulabschluss). There is also an option to obtain a school-leaving certificate (Hauptschulabschluss) at the end of the ninth grade or the tenth grade. Young people who have successfully completed their education at this type of school can then start vocational training or, if they have the grades required, can switch to a Gymnasium (grammar school) or Fach-Gymnasium (specialised grammar school).

Realschule (secondary school)

This type of school aims to educate children using a special real-life approach. These schools are characterised by the balance of general education and educational modules that are geared to vocational training. Theory and practice as well as personal and technical development are seen as equal in status. After six years of schooling, pupils obtain an intermediate-level school-leaving certificate (Mittlere Reife). After the central school-leaving exam (Realschul-Abschlussprüfung), pupils can start vocational training or, if they have the grades required, can switch to a Gymnasium (grammar school) or Fach-Gymnasium (specialised grammar school).

Gymnasium (grammar school)

This type of school is the direct path to obtaining a school-leaving certificate that is a general qualification for university entrance (Abitur). Pupils from fifth grade to twelfth grade are given a broad and in-depth level of general education. The educational remit of this type of school involves teaching a willingness to open oneself up to the new and the unfamiliar and to learn from that experience as well as teaching historical, artistic and intellectual traditions of our culture.

Gemeinschaftsschule (common school)

At this type of school, pupils are not divided into different school types. The aim is for these schools to contribute to more equal opportunities through individualised learning and, in particular in rural areas, to ensure nearby school locations with a broad range of school-leaving qualifications. All children are taught together up to the tenth grade. There is then an option to switch to a Gymnasium (grammar school) for the last two years.

Sonderschule (special-needs school)

Children and young people with disabilities and a need for special advice, support and education can attend this type of school. The criterion for special measures is not the disability itself, but the need for special educational support as a result of the disability.

International school

International schools are attended by German pupils and international pupils who are living in Germany for a temporary period. The pupils are generally between 4 and 18 years of age. International schools are generally not state-run schools, i.e. they have to be paid for in full by the parents, e.g. with school fees. Classes are generally taught in English or there are bilingual classes. International schools do not offer German educational qualifications. Instead, pupils obtain the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB). This qualification is recognised in more than 110 countries around the world as a higher education entrance qualification.

There are two international schools in the Stuttgart Region:

  • International School Stuttgart: private all-day school where classes are taught in English; one location in Sindelfingen and one in Stuttgart. More information can be found on the homepage.

  • Swiss International School: private all-day school where classes are taught bilingually (German-English) in Stuttgart-Fellbach. More information is contained on the homepage.

Helpful hint: The school board for each school decides on how a child's schooling will proceed.

You can find information on the schools and the Schulamt (schools department) where you live on the homepage of your local authority. You can find the address of your local authority using the municipality search in the right-hand column.

Helpful hint: Children and young people who come to Germany during the course of their schooling need particular support. There are preparatory, support or language-learning classes for them where they are taught by specially qualified teachers before subsequently transferring to mainstream classes. You can find out about the programmes available to your child from the school authorities or the Youth Migration Services (JMD). The nearest point of contact for the JMD is listed on the homepage of the Youth Migration Services.

The Welcome Service Region Stuttgart (WSRS) is an offering by the Stuttgart Region Economic Development Corporation (Wirtschaftsförderung Region Stuttgart GmbH). The project is funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Tourism Baden-Württemberg.