Schools in Germany

The quality of education an expat can expect for their children in Germany largely depends on the area and type of school, but standards are usually high.

Germany has a decentralised system of education whereby the national government plays a minor role and responsibility for schools lies with individual states (known as lander).

Schooling in Germany is compulsory from the ages of seven to 18, but many parents send their children to a nursery or kindergarten from the age of three.

The German approach to education is seen as progressive as it makes provisions for students of all abilities. Beyond the traditional academic subjects such as maths, science, geography, history and languages, the German system also provides opportunities for students to pursue vocational disciplines if they are more suited to those. 

Before venturing to another country, make sure you have a health insurance plan you can rely on. Our international health insurance plans offer comprehensive health cover for when you are in your home country and abroad.

Although the standard of public schools in Germany is generally good, these institutions are only really a viable option to expats who are relocating to Germany for the long term or those with children who are young enough to learn a new language more effectively.

Most expats living in Germany opt to send their children to a bilingual school or an international school.  

Bilingual schools are still considered public schools, so there are no fees attached. These schools offer two curricula: one based on a child’s mother tongue and the other in German.

In addition to the fact that they are cost-effective, bilingual schools also allow expat children to mix with German children in addition to other expat students, allowing for better assimilation in the long term.

Bilingual schools are also highly popular among Germans, which means spaces fill up quickly. Expat parents should apply as far in advance as possible.

The reason most expats opt to send their children to international schools in Germany is that they offer the smoothest transition to life in a new country. International schools teach the curriculum of the sponsoring country, be it American, UK or French, and also instruct in the language of said country.

International schools are usually most numerous in large cosmopolitan German cities such as Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt.

While international schools generally offer a high standard of learning, smaller class sizes, a range of extra-curricular activities and excellent facilities, the major downside to sending a child to one these schools is the hefty price tag. Expats should therefore try to secure an allowance to cover the cost of school fees when negotiating their relocation package.