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All children who were born up to and including July 1st and thus reach the age of six by June 30th of each year must attend primary school. Compulsory schooling begins on August 1st of each year. The primary school as a common basic level of the education system comprises the first four grades. Younger children who turn six after June 30th can start school at the request of their parents. The head of school makes the decision as to whether the children will be admitted.

The four-year elementary school in Hesse is followed by the following secondary schools:

  • the main school
  • secondary school
  • the middle school
  • the cooperative and the integrated comprehensive school and
  • the high school

Pupils who are entitled to special needs education have the option of attending special needs schools with different specialization focuses in addition to schooling in inclusive lessons.

The choice of a secondary school is decided by the parents in Hessen: In February, the primary school teachers invite the parents to counseling sessions. Parents receive application forms that they have to fill out and hand in at primary school. You can then state up to three wishes for secondary schools. The class conferences on the recommendation for the course of study, i.e. the type of school, will take place in the primary schools until around mid-March. However, the parents are not bound by this recommendation, even if the parents 'wishes and the recommendation of the teachers' conference do not match.

The following qualifications can be obtained at the different schools:

  • Secondary school leaving certificate
  • Secondary school leaving certificate
  • University entrance qualification
  • General higher education entrance qualification (Abitur)

There are several ways to earn the above degrees.

Secondary school leaving certificate

The secondary school certificate can be obtained at the secondary school, at the middle school as well as at comprehensive schools. At the secondary school, a student receives the secondary school certificate through the final procedure in class 9. This consists of two parts: the central final theses in German, mathematics and, if necessary, the first foreign language as well as a project review.
The examination results alone are not decisive for the awarding of a degree at the end of grade 9; Rather, particular emphasis is placed on the performance that has been achieved in teaching all subjects. Good performance is made clear by the award of a qualifying secondary school leaving certificate (additional participation in the central final theses in English and an overall performance of at least 2.9). This procedure ensures that qualifications are comparable across the country.
The secondary school diploma can also be obtained at a middle school: After a three-year advanced level (grades 5 to 7), the transition to a practice-oriented or a medium level course takes place. The practice-oriented course leads to the secondary school leaving certificate at the end of the 9th school year (the middle course leads to the secondary school leaving certificate at the end of the 10th school year).
A comprehensive school brings together different courses of study in one school: the Hauptschule, the Realschule and the middle level (lower secondary level) of the Gymnasium course. All qualifications awarded in these individual courses can be acquired by the pupils of a comprehensive school, including the secondary school qualification.
An external applicant can also take the secondary school certificate in Hesse without having attended a state or state-approved school beforehand.

Secondary school / high school)

The Realschule education course can be completed at Realschulen, at affiliated Hauptschule and Realschulen, at intermediate schools and at comprehensive schools.
The secondary school diploma at a secondary school can be achieved through the final procedure in grade 10. This consists of two parts: the central theses in the subjects German and mathematics and in the first foreign language as well as a presentation based on a term paper or an oral examination. This procedure ensures that qualifications are comparable across the country. The examination is considered passed if the overall performance corresponds to at least the grade “sufficient” and the promotion requirements are also fulfilled. When calculating the overall performance, not only the examination results, but also the performance previously achieved in the class are taken into account. The secondary school qualification (intermediate qualification) offers entry into dual training and, depending on performance, also entitles you to transition to secondary schools.
At intermediate schools, the intermediate course can lead to a secondary school qualification at the end of the 10th school year after a three-year advanced level (grades 5 to 7).
There is also the possibility of taking a final examination at a two-year vocational school, which, if passed, is equivalent to the intermediate degree.
Another option for completing the secondary school leaving certificate is the non-pupil examination: If you have left school after year 9 or 10 without a school qualification or with a qualifying secondary school qualification, you can take the external examination as a “non-pupil” or “non-school student” (external applicant ) prepare by taking preparatory courses at a private school, educational institute or similar institution and then pass the secondary school leaving certificate.

We offer further information on the external secondary school leaving certificate and preparation at the following location:
Secondary school leaving certificate in Frankfurt

University entrance qualification

The advanced technical college entrance qualification is a qualifying degree and can be achieved at a technical college (FOS). The subject-related higher education entrance qualification entitles to study certain subjects at universities of applied sciences. The special feature of the technical college is the interlinking of a practical training with a theoretically oriented education. The technical college builds on a middle degree and is differentiated according to subject areas and professional focus.
The Fachoberschule, which focuses on subject areas, usually ends after two years with the technical college entrance qualification. In order to be admitted to a technical college, the certificate of the secondary school leaving certificate may contain a maximum of one major subject with the grade “sufficient”. In the other main subjects, at least the grade “satisfactory” must have been achieved. The average grade for the minor subjects must be at least 2.9. If you have completed vocational training, the technical college in Hessen can be shortened to one year.

General University Entrance Qualification

The Abitur is a certificate of the general higher education entrance qualification and entitles the holder to study at technical colleges and universities. The Gymnasium course of education in the lower secondary level comprises grades 5 to 9 or 5 to 10, which is followed by a three-year upper level (upper secondary level) and can also be completed at integrated and cooperative (school-type-related) comprehensive schools.

There is also the possibility of completing the Abitur by taking a non-school student test. Some high school subjects are compulsory and must be chosen in any case. Four subjects are tested in writing: mathematics, German, foreign language or science, history or politics & economics. Two of these must be completed at advanced level, one of which must be a foreign language or mathematics or a natural science. A second foreign language is also compulsory. Oral exams must also be taken in four subjects. The total of eight examination subjects must include two foreign languages, one natural science and one social science.
At a private educational institute such as the private academy or other educational institutions, you can prepare specifically for the Abitur examination for non-school students (non-school pupils).

We offer further information on the external general higher education entrance qualification and preparation at the following location:
Catch up on Abitur in Frankfurt

In order to be admitted to the general university entrance qualification examination for non-school students, you must have a secondary school diploma. If this is not yet available, it can also be taken in a non-school student test. More information can be found here.

Further official information is available on the website of the Hessian Ministry of Culture at https://kultusministerium.hessen.de/schule/schulformen