According to the Hamburg Education Act, all children aged six years and above who are residents of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg must attend school. Your child must start school in August if he or she has turned six years old before 1 July. Compulsory schooling lasts eleven school years and ends when reaching the age of 18 years at the latest. Parents are responsible for ensuring their child’s compulsory school attendance.
Important dates before school enrolment
When your child is aged between four-and-a-half and five-and-a-half, you'll receive an invitation to an introductory interview for four-and-a-half year old children. Attending this meeting with your child is compulsary. During the interview, teachers will check if your child’s development is in accordance with his or her age and whether your child can speak and understand German.
Free choice of school
Parents may name a school of their choice when registering their child. As a precaution, it is advisable to state two more schools in case your first choice cannot be realised. An overview of all primary schools is listed on a map published by Hamburg’s Ministry for School and Vocational Training.
At the end of primary school, when your child is in year 4, the class teacher will recommend the type of secondary school he or she considers most suitable for your child. The final choice in this matter, however, is up to the parents. They decide at which local comprehensive school or grammar school they want to enrol their child.
Moving to Hamburg from another country
In school, the language of teaching is German. In case your child speaks and understands no to little German and can’t follow the regular lessons yet, he or she will receive intensive German lessons in an international preparatory class first. More information can be found in the article Language skills necessary for school attendance.
If necessary, an interpreter can be hired for parent-teacher meetings in your child’s school. The school will pay for expenses.