School and education

In Germany, school attendance is obligatory. Every child in Germany must attend a school for nine or ten years (depending on the state). This also applies to children with temporary residence permits (Aufenthaltsgestattung) or a toleration (Duldung). 

Parents are required to ensure that their children go to school every day. If they do not fulfil their obligations, there may be penalties, such as monetary fines.

Each state in Germany can decide on its own regulations for schooling. Be sure to understand the precise regulations for the place where you live!  

In most states, the school year runs from August to July of the following year. There are school holidays in the autumn, at Christmas, at Easter and in the summer. In some states there is also a winter holiday. There are a total of twelve weeks of school holiday per year.

Children first start school at a primary school. After the 4th year (of after the 6th in some states), primary school ends and the students move on to a secondary school, such as a Hauptschule (lower secondary school), Realschule (mid-level secondary school), Gemeinschaftsschule (comprehensive school) or Gymnasium (college preparatory school).

School attendance in Germany is free of charge. Even so, some costs arise, such as for materials, school books and participation in class trips. If you have a low income, you can apply to your local Job Centre for so-called benefits for education and participation in order to cover these costs.  

You can also get advice via chat or at an MBE (Migrationsberatung [Immigration counselling]) office. Family counselling agencies can also provide information about school attendance.