Ministry of Labour, Social, Family Affairs and Integration

School Compulsory Schooling in Hamburg

What is compulsory schooling and at what age does my child need to start school? Find out what you must know about the school system in Hamburg.

Compulsory Schooling in Hamburg – Hamburg Welcome Portal

Compulsory Schooling

According to the Hamburg Education Act, everyone having his or her usual place of residence in the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg is legally obliged to attend school in Hamburg.

All children aged six years and above must attend school. Your child must start school in August if he or she has turned six years old by 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 years, you will be invited to a very important meeting at your local primary school which you need to attend under any circumstances: the introductory interview for four-and-a-half year old children. You and your child will be invited to this meeting. During the interview, the teachers will check if your child’s development is in accordance with 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 or just little German and can’t follow the regular lessons yet, he or she will receive intensive German lessons first. More information can be found in the article „Language skills necessary for school attendance“.

Parent-teacher meetings

If necessary, an interpreter can be hired for parent-teacher meetings in your child’s school.  The school will pay the expenses.