Ministry of Labour, Social, Family Affairs and Integration
School Language Skills Necessary for School Attendance
Children and adolescents who cannot yet understand the regular classes due to a lack of German language skills will first receive intensive German lessons.
Language skills necessary for school attendance – Hamburg Welcome Portal
Hamburg is an international city hosting a wide range of languages and cultures. But except in bilingual classes, the school lessons are mainly held in German. Therefore it is very important that your child can understand and speak the German language properly.
German lessons before school enrolment
Children who are between four-and-a-half and five-and-a-half years old and can’t speak German well enough to start primary school, must attend pre-school, or in case the parents want them to remain in their kindergarten, they receive four extra hours of German lessons in the afternoon per week.
Learning German in school
All children aged six years and above must attend school, if they were born by the deadline of 30 June of the respective year. Depending on their level of previous knowledge, immigrated children and young people who do not know enough German to attend regular classes will first receive intensive German lessons in basic classes („Basisklassen“) or in international preparatory classes („Internationale Vorbereitungsklassen“). The enrollment takes place throughout the current school year
Immigrated children and young people who cannot read and write the Latin alphabet or any other alphabet yet, attend basic classes first. There, they learn German reading and writing skills. After twelve months at the latest, they move on to an age-appropriate international preparatory class.
International preparatory classes
During the first months in an international preparatory class, there is intensive German language tuition. In order to prepare for the transition to a regular class after twelve months at the latest, further subjects such as Mathematics, Sports and Specialist Knowledge are added to the elementary school (grades 1 to 4). In lower secondary school (grades 5 to 10) there are also the subjects of Mathematics, English, Social Studies and Sports. Young people age 15 or more have the option of either taking the general certificate of secondary education (grade 9) within two years as a part of an international preparatory class or they can prepare within two years for he intermediate level certificate of secondary education (grade 10).
How is the assignment into an appropriate class handled?
Immigrated children and young people can start school at any time during the year, not only in August or September when the school year usually begins.
All children and young people up to the age of 16 are allocated to a school by the School Information Center. For this purpose, the following documents of your child are required:
- valid ID card or passport (Birth Certificate as a substitute)
- Certificate of Registration in Hamburg
- in case of immigration from a Non-EU country: Residence Permit
Before the assignment into an appropriate class, there will be a counselling interview in the School Information Center in order to be able to consider your child’s previous education in an adequate way. Please arrange an appointment in advance.
Young people aged 16 and 17 years are assigned to the two-year Training Preparation for Migrants („Ausbildungsvorbereitung für Migranten - AvM Dual“) by the Information Center of the Hamburg Institute for Vocational Training and Education (Hamburger Institut für Berufliche Bildung – HIBB). Please arrange an appointment with them in due time as well.