Stuttgart cares about schools

It seems the German school system is always on trial. Changes are the order of the day, in Stuttgart just like anywhere else. Until 2020, primary schools can choose to be either a “half-day school” (Halbtagsschule) or an “all-day school” (Ganztagsschule). As the common, basic level of the school system, lasting four years, the object of primary schools is to provide pupils with basic knowledge and skills, and to gradually introduce them to the academic ways of learning and working.

All-day primary schools are based on the optimal and holistic integration of education, leisure time, paedagogy and support. Over four eight-hour days – usually from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. – they offer individual support for each child as well as the teaching of a variety of subjects and extracurricular activities.

Teaching in the half-day school takes place in the morning. In addition, the City of Stuttgart has also extensively introduced the so-called “reliable primary school” (the “verlässliche Grundschule”) concept. The fee-based care services of the “reliable primary school” guarantee before-school care from 7 a.m. and after-school care up to 2 p.m. This care format will also be provided in the future by the primary schools who have already chosen the half-day school format or who will choose this in the future. A reformulated advisory approach in primary schools is part of the redesign of the transition process from primary school to secondary school – today it is up to the parents to decide where their child should go after primary school.

They are supported by an on-going advisory service right from the beginning and up until the actual decision on where to send their child after primary school. The community school (Gemeinschafts­schule) is currently being introduced as a new school format which combines all the existing secondary school formats (Sonderschule [special schools], Haupt­schule [vocational secondary school], Realschule [mid-level academic secondary school] and Gymnasium [for pupils intending to go on to third level education]) and in which all exit exam /graduation options are possible. The community school is an all-day school where pupils are not given grades and cannot repeat a year.

In the school year 2013/2014, the Elise von König Schule in Münster began its life as a community school enterprise; more schools will follow in coming years. If, however, parents are not satisfied by the advice and range of options provided by state primary schools, a wide range of private schools in Stuttgart and the surrounding region is also available. Private schools range from “progressive” schools, where children can decide what to learn, free from the pressure of marks or grades, to expensive elite schools. Nationwide, 7.8 per cent of pupils visit an educational institution which is managed by a private provider. In Baden-Württemberg, the proportion of pupils in private schools lies at 8.6 per cent and in Stuttgart already at 16 per cent.