Hamburg, being one of 16 federal states in Germany, has its own education system which differs in some points from that of other states. Below we've given an overview of the Hamburg school system.
Primary school (“Grundschule”)
Primary school covers the first four years of school. The lessons include reading and writing in the German language as well as basic contents of subjects such as math, English, music, arts and sports. At the end of primary school year 4, parents can choose a secondary school type for their child. There are comprehensive schools and grammar schools.
Grammar school (“Gymnasium”)
Grammar schools provide an extended general education. After eight school years at a grammar school, your child can achieve an advanced level school leaving certificate (= “Abitur”). In groups with others of a similar ability, particularly high-performing pupils get prepared for university studies and receive special support. The school-leaving examinations are held at the end of year 12. Graduates can continue their personal educational path either by studying at university or college or going for vocational training.
Comprehensive school (“Stadtteilschule”)
The local comprehensive schools are a special characteristic of the school system in Hamburg. Attending a comprehensive school gives pupils the opportunity to gain either a general or intermediate level certificate of secondary education or even an advanced level school leaving certificate. That means, on the one hand, there is the opportunity of starting vocational training after year 9 or 10. Alternatively, your child may also enrol at a university after attending comprehensive school for some more years and achieving the advanced level school leaving certificate. At comprehensive schools, the advanced level school leaving examinations are held at the end of year 13. The extra time may, for example, be used for an exchange year abroad.
picture: © Hamburg Welcome Portal
School leaving qualifications at a glance
Pupils attending school in Hamburg can achieve the following school-leaving qualifications:
- general certificate of secondary education (“Erster Bildungsabschluss“) at the end of year 9
- intermediate level certificate of secondary education („Mittlerer Bildungsabschluss“) at the end of year 10
- advanced level school leaving certificate at grammar school (“Abitur auf dem Gymnasium“) at the end of year 12
- advanced level school leaving certificate at comprehensive school (“Abitur auf der Stadtteilschule“) at the end of year 13
A general certificate of secondary education or an intermediate level certificate of secondary education is a prerequisite for starting a vocational training course. An advanced level school leaving certificate (= “Abitur“) entitles its holder to study at a university or college (higher education entrance qualification).
All-day school service
Public schools in Hamburg offer all-day service from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (additional care in the morning, in the evening and during school holidays possible for a fee). All-day service offers the opportunity to finish homework at school. Moreover, pupils are able to try out their talents and penchant for sports, music, hand-crafting, arts, acting and other creative activities in the afternoon.
Would you like to inform yourself about education opportunities in your neighbourhood and throughout Hamburg? Feel free to use the Regional Education Atlas. The Regional Education Atlas is a series of interactive maps showing locations of daycare centres, schools and public leisure facilities for children and adolescents in Hamburg.
The point of contact for further questions concerning the school system in Hamburg is the School Information Centre.