Off to school!

What you need to know for school enrollment.

Article was written on 11.08.2020 by Philipp.

As parents you are constantly dealing with technical terms and forms. You have to talk to different authorities, have your documents ready and fill in forms. We at the Parents' Hotline therefore present many important terms and applications for you and the children. Our glossary is available in 14 languages. So that you always know what you're talking about.

Off to school!

Every summer it starts all over again! The children are eagerly awaiting their first day at school. What to do? Here we have put together a list of important terms for the start of school.

You are also welcome to click into our detailed Glossary. So you can read every explanation in detail.

Compulsory education

In Germany all children go to school. Usually this is a public school, but it can also be a private school that is recognized by the state. Depending on the federal state, compulsory schooling begins when children are between 5 and 7 years old on a certain day (the cut-off date). Compulsory schooling ends when a child turns 18 (but in Saarland and Thuringia it continues until 21).

Home schooling

In Germany, home schooling is only allowed in very special exceptions. For example, if pupils cannot travel due to disability or illness.

Home schooling is not the same as home schooling.

Homeschooling is used when children in special situations (such as the Corona pandemic) have to do their schoolwork at home.

Deadline for school enrolment

Usually children between 6 and 7 are enrolled in school. In most federal states the deadline for school enrolment is 30 June. This means that those who have turned 6 by 30 June will be enrolled in the coming school year.

Optional child

"Kann-Kind" means that a child will only be 6 after the deadline, but can already be enrolled in school - if you as parents wish. In many federal states there are children who will still be 6 years old by the end of the year.

Enrolment examination

Every child must pass the so-called enrolment examination before starting school. You can do this at the pediatrician's office. During this examination we try to assess the child's development with various tests.

There is a physical examination and also a hearing and eye test.

School registration

When a child must be registered for school depends on where you live. Normally you will be contacted by the school administration office. This will tell you what to look out for next.

The letter also states which school is suitable for the child.

You will then have to organize the following documents for the registration:

  • Identity card or passport
  • The birth certificate of the child
  • The letters you received from the school administration office

Usually in May or June before school starts you will receive the admission notice from the school management.

Education and participation package

The education and participation package helps if you receive Unemployment benefit II (ALG II), the child allowance, housing benefit or asylum seeker benefits. There is a subsidy for school supplies (150 Euro), and lunch and transport for pupils are free of charge. The participation fee (15 Euro per month) is for example for the sports club or for extra tuition.

Distance learning

Due to the lockdown in the Corona crisis all students had to stay at home. Therefore they gave distance education with the help of notebooks or tablets. Because all children still have the right to school education - even in a crisis. In some federal states distance learning is now anchored in the school regulations.

With the help of our parents' hotline glossary you can navigate a little more safely through the jungle of applications and forms. Have a look if you are looking for longer explanations or are interested in more terms (Take a look inside). We go through all entries personally and keep the list up to date.


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