Education is compulsory in Germany beginning at age six and continuing, in most cases, for ten years. That is fairly common throughout Europe. What is unique in Germany and is a throwback to the pre-war system, is that at age ten children are separated into one of three different tracks; Hauptschule, Realschule, or Gymnasium. Parents do have the right to ignore these recommendations and send their children on through the college-track Gymnasium, or through the more trade-oriented Hauptschule or Realschule, however, students who pursue technical or trade-related educations do not have the right upon graduation to enrol in university without first returning to school to obtain the German “Abitur” diploma.
When you first register with the German authorities for permission to reside in the country the presence of school-aged children will be noted and you will eventually be contacted by local authorities who will tell you which school they feel is appropriate for your child to attend. It is therefore a good idea to do your school shopping long before the locals reach out to you with their list. One piece of advice to parents with young children who may be thinking about moving to the area is to do your “schools” research before you decide in which neighbourhood to reside. The options are quite different from place to place and travel times for children can be onerous.
A recent and noteworthy development in North Rhine Westphalia will enable parents of primary school aged children to send them to the public (that includes both state and religious institutions) school of their choice, and this at no additional charge to the parent. This initiative was part of a range of initiatives in North Rhine Westphalia, including the addition of 4,000 new teachers in primary, secondary and senior schools. There is also a complete rethinking of the way learning is approached, with a new emphasis on assessing the individual needs of students and on competition among schools with regular outside assessment of schools by the state. The Ministry of Education in NRW is looking to model its educational offerings on those of the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
After suffering many years of embarrassing performance on the PISA study (The Programme for International Student Assessment which assesses 43 EU countries based on varied criteria), German schools are on the whole thought to be improving. But many Expats only staying in the region for short periods of time, would prefer to send their children to schools which run similar curriculums to "back home". Luckily NRW has a lot to offer the International Community in the way of private schooling and international education.
St. Georges School
St. George’s offers programmes for children from age 3 though grade 12/13 and is the only private English language school in Cologne which prepares students for the British Common Entrance, G.C.S.E., AS Level and A-Level examinations. St. George’s has also introduced the International Baccalaureate Diploma programme which has a reputation for rigorous assessment, giving IB diploma holders access to the world’s leading universities.
St. George's School Cologne
Anton-Antweiler-Str. 4,c50937 Köln
T: 0221-297 899 0
This is a new bilingual all-day school which offers a comprehensive educational concept for Primary and Secondary School for schoolchildren from 5 to 18. They provide access to the German school-leaving certificate (Abitur) and to the internationally recognised IB Diploma (International Baccalaureate) which offers access to universities worldwide. Teaching is conducted in both English and German, with one additional foreign language starting in the 5th grade. European languages are offered as well as Chinese. At a very early age, children are taught to respect other cultures and to feel at ease in different cultural environments. Tuition fees vary according to family income thanks to sponsoring and scholarship possibilities.
Stolberger Strasse 311
50933 Braunsfeld, Köln, Germany
T: 0221 7887380
Friedenschule/International Peace School
Opened in 2007 this is and International and inter-religious private grammar school with a primary school. It is oriented towards the very latest educational findings and sees internationalisation as an educational opportunity. The International Peace School Köln will produce world citizens with an excellent education, international skills and expertise, and national, cultural as well as religious roots, who with self-confidence and modesty, dedication and solidarity, local patriotism and cosmopolitanism will shape the future.
International Peace School
Neue Sandkaul 29, 50859 Köln
T: 0221-31 06 34 0
ISR Internationale Schule am Rhein in Neuss
ISR is a private school offering a full-day program to students from Kindergarten (age 3) through Grade 12 using English as the language of instruction. As a member of the SABIS® School Network, which operates 75 schools and 1 university in 15 countries serving over 60,000 students, ISR offers its students a rigorous, internationally-oriented, college-preparatory curriculum, emphasizing the core subjects of English, mathematics, German and the sciences. The following leaving certificates are offered ISR students for their route to university: ISR High School Diploma (Grade 12), US Advanced Placement (AP) Exams (Grade 12), International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma (Grade 12)
ISR Internationale Schule am Rhein in Neuss GmbH
41464 Neuss, Germany
T: 02131-40388 -0
International School of Düsseldorf e.V.
This school offers instruction from Nursery school through grade 12/13 and is one of only two schools in North Rhine Westphalia to offer all three phases of the International Baccalaureate programme; the Primary Years Programme (ages 3-12), the Middle Years Programme (11-16) and the IB Diploma Programme. ISD also offers the American High School Diploma and provides PSAT and SAT testing. The school was founded in 1968 and its facilities have been recently refurbished.
International School of Düsseldorf e.V.
Niederrheinstr. 336, 40489 Düsseldorf
The Rheinland International School
The RIS is an International School for students from three years of age to the international IB diploma. It is located in the area between Düsseldorf and Essen. The official language at school is English. The licensed IB school is governed by the Klett Education Group. Its aim is to help students begin life well prepared for our fast and challenging world and offers graduates the opportunity to study at universities all over the globe. The school believes that a child and its worldview are the defining force of its learning concept; therefore, every student recieves the support the need for their individual development.
Rheinland International School
Am Sportfeld 5, 42579 Heiligenhaus
T.: + 49 20 56 58 246 0
Bonn International School
The Bonn International School is organised into four sections; the Early Learning Centre for children ages 3-5, the Primary Years programme for children ages 6-11, the Middle Years programme for children 11-16 and the Secondary or Diploma Programme for children ages 16-19. BIS offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma and tailors its primary and middle school curriculum to accord with the IB standards. BIS is also a registered centre for the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), and is fully accredited by the Council of International Schools and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Bonn International School e.V.
Martin-Luther-King-Str. 14, 53175 Bonn
T: 0228 30854 151
NURSERY SCHOOLS, KINDERGARTENS, PRIMARY SCHOOLS
Vincerola International Montessori Day Nursery Köln
This bi-lingual day nursery has an emphasis on English for children from one year until primary school age. The nursery school adheres to the Montessori principles and works on the basis of the English National Pre-School Curriculum.
Vincerola International Montessori Day Nursery Köln
Clevischer Ring 172a, 51063 Köln
T: 0221-640 64 13
Die Rheinpiraten Kindertagesstätte
A private parent-initiated bi-lingual daycare for children ages 1-10.
Hitdorfer Str. 169, 51371 Leverkusen-Hitdorf
Cologne Bumblebees e.V.
A private, parent-initiated English-German Kindergarten.
Antoniterstrasse 14-16, 50677 Köln.
Montessori International Day Care and Pre-School
In operation since 1985 the school is organised into two sections; one for children ages 3 months – 3 years and another for pre-school children ages 3-6 years. There are separate playgrounds for each group. The school follows an American Curriculum with English as the primary language of instruction
Kennedyallee 115, 53175 Bonn
Independent Bonn International School e.V.
Independent Bonn International School operates a programme based largely on the English National Curriculum for children ages 3 – 11. IBIS has recently updated its facility with a new classroom building and new playground.
Tulpenbaumweg 42, 53177, Bonn
T: (0228) 32 31 66
St. James Pre-School Düsseldorf-Meerbusch
St. James was founded in1988 by English-speaking parents for children from 3-6 with an English playgroup for 2-3 years olds. A maximum of sixteen children can be enrolled with only four children per class. The school follows the recommended pre-school English and US pre-school curriculum
St. James Pre-School, Moerser Strasse 127, 40667 Meerbusch
T: 02132-756 859
Noah’s Ark Pre-School / Kindergarten
Noah's Ark is an International English speaking pre-school for children aged 3 to 6 years, which follows the concept "learning with love creates a love for learning." It offers an educational curriculum in a Christian context.
Noah's Ark Pre-School Kindergarten
Am Bauenhaus 30, 40472 Rath, Düsseldorf, Germany
Kindergarten Everest is a bi-lingual school for Children from ages 4 months to 6 years. It opened in September 2006 and is one of a network of 170 private catholic schools worldwide focusing on personal, individual attention in a values-based learning environment.
Niederrheinstrasse 19, 40474 Düsseldorf
T: 0211 454 46 03
Text: Richard Dooley / GP