In Hamburg, it is mandatory for children between 6 and 18 years of age to attend school. Normally, children go to school from Monday to Friday during semesters that run from August to June. A typical school day lasts from approximately 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., although some schools offer all-day programmes until 4:00 p.m. Most children are enrolled in public schools, though there are private schools, e.g. international schools, as well. Take a look at the types of schools listed below to get familiar with the options.
Year 1 ─ 4: Primary School (Grundschule)
Children enroll into primary school between the ages of 5 and 6. Some primary schools include a preschool (Vorschule), where children can improve their language-skills and are prepared for school routines in a safe and social environment. Many primary schools offer all-day programmes.
Year 5 ─ 12: Grammar School (Gymnasium)
Hamburg’s grammar schools offer an eight-year-long educational programme for the attainment of the 'general certificate of education – advanced level' (Abitur). Next to the usual topics, students are educated in courses such as Latin, Social Sciences and Philosophy. Some grammar schools offer bilingual education in both German and English. The first two years are meant to introduce students to the advanced academic level and to assess whether they should stay in the grammar school, or switch to a district school.
Year 5 ─ 13: District School (Stadtteilschule)
District schools are attended by students of all academic levels, as well as children with special needs. This school-type provides students with the opportunity to earn various general certificates of education including the 'general certificate of education – advanced level' (Abitur). These schools prepare students for the transition to tertiary study or vocational training.
All-day School (Ganztagschule)
Schools with full-day sessions provide students with extra educational opportunities up until year 8. School starts at 8 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. four days a week, on one day (usually Fridays) it ends at 1.30 p.m. For extra fees, parents can also opt for earlier drop-off and later pick-up times. Compared to the 'normal' half-day schools, all-day schools have significantly more time at their disposal. This enables fashioning the school day differently for the benefit of the students’ needs, e.g. through extracurricular and remedial programmes and activities. All schools with full-day sessions offer the children a hot lunch during the midday break.
International and bilingual schools
Last, but not least, there is a number of accredited private schools in Hamburg, such as the International School of Hamburg as well as (among others) French, Scandinavian and Japanese international schools.
Are you looking to enroll your child into a school in Hamburg? Contact the SIZ (School Information Centre) for an appointment. They will answer your questions and, if needed, provide interpreters to help you understand the enrollment process and school system.
Primary school enrollment is managed centrally by SIZ, the School Information Centre. Every January, parents are asked to register their school-aged children with their preferred local school. However, due to organisational reasons, allocation at the preferred school cannot be guaranteed.
Children between the ages of 5 and 17 whose German-language abilities are not sufficient enough to attend regular school classes, will be enrolled in a year-long preparatory course through the SIZ (School Information Centre). After this year, they will be merged in with their peers at a regular school.
Schulinformationszentrum SIZ (School Information Centre)
Hamburger Str. 125a, 22083 Hamburg
+49 (0)40 428992211
Monday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m
Friday 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.