School reform to get schools in form
Hamburg bid farewell to its secondary modern and junior high schools and said hello to new district high schools in the 2010/2011 academic year. After Germany’s education system ranked below average in the PISA international assessment, Hamburg chose a two path reform. Pupils can now study for the Abitur university entrance certificate either for 8 years in a grammar (academic high) school or for 9 years in one of the 51 new district high schools. The reform also allows students to gain non-college leaving certificates or an advanced technical college entrance qualification. A citizen’s vote in mid-2010 vetoed the core reform, which would have replaced elementary schools with a 6-year primary school.
Childcare facilities in Hamburg
Parents with full-time jobs can be happy they live in Hamburg. The value of all-day schools is becoming increasingly recognized. Thanks to the Kindertagesbetreuung initiative, numerous elementary schools have opened after-school care centers and educational lunch times.
The number of full-day schools is growing every year so that more than one in five general-education schools in Hamburg are now full-day schools. As the school schedule is shortened to twelve years, all grammar schools will offer all day schooling. Many elementary schools also run preschool classes for children who will begin school the following year. Children are looked after from 8 am to 1 pm during the school week. Since September 1 2009, parents have not had to pay the costs of this preschool care.
International schools in Hamburg
Hamburg is far ahead in teaching foreign languages. The 25 different languages taught in Hamburg´s schools show that the city´s reputation as an international gateway is well deserved. Grammar schools also focus on foreign languages. Some 15 grammar schools offer bilingual classes starting when pupils are aged 10 and 11 (German and English, French, Spanish or Italian). The Marienthal high school even offers bilingual classes in German and Chinese.
There also are a couple of international private schools, such as the Lyée Français de Hambourg or the Scandinavian School. There, boys and girls are taught in their native tongue from preschool level to high school graduation. The International School Hamburg celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2007 and is Germany´s oldest international school.