Primary school

The term includes the primary school in the Federal Republic of Germany from the late 1960s, resulting from the lower grades of elementary schools schools that are ( only in Berlin and Brandenburg classes 1-6 ) attended by children of classes 1 to 4. This includes the ages of about six to ten or twelve years.

Unlike the non obligatory visit to kindergarten or preschool, the general compulsory education for primary school. In 2012, there were 15,971 primary schools in Germany.


Before and during the imperial period was called the elementary school in German-speaking elementary school, a term which has survived to this day in English as Elementary School and Italian as Scuola elementary. In Germany, the primary school for the first time by the kingdom Primary School Act (see also Reich School Conference 1920) has been introduced. The pre-school classes to middle and high schools accounted for until 1925.


In general, annual classes were formed in elementary school so far. Current political trends in individual states such as North Rhine -Westphalia, Lower Saxony, Berlin, Brandenburg, Hesse and Rhineland -Palatinate, however, aimed at the establishment by year of cross- input stages of the classes 1 and 2, in which then children should be taught together from two vintages. Also on low number of students per grade so-called combined classes can be created that summarize the successive vintages.

A day at least five hours of comprehensive educational program for all students is to ensure the to reliable primary school, which is offered in Lower Saxony, Bremen and Baden- Württemberg. The school offer in solid half-day schools may include the 1st and 2nd school year of four or four and a half hours time. While in the solid half-day school have students from the 1st to the 4th grade school 27.5 hours per week, it will be to reliable primary school 20 hours in 1st class, 22 hours in the second class, as well as 26 hours the 3rd and 4th grade. So that the children of about 8 to about 13 clock clock can remain continuously in the school, there is in the primary school to reliable additional teaching complementary offerings ( service hours). The service times are not supervised by teachers, but by educational employees that are hired under one hours budgets of the school. On solid half-day schools care hours are not necessary.

In elementary school to basic learning and working arrangements as well as mathematical, linguistic and sachunterrichtliche knowledge is taught, which lay the foundation of secondary education at primary school, business school, junior high school, high school or grammar school. In addition, aesthetic, cultural and often religious themes are objects of classes.

In general, there are for each class a class teacher ( class teacher principle) that accompanies this class the whole reason through school and initially taught in the majority of subjects. This is justified by the fact that it is important for children of primary school age to have a fixed reference person. Criticism thereto is often practiced for two reasons: Firstly, primary school teachers are often ( in North Rhine -Westphalia three subjects compulsory for example, are ) designed for only two subjects, which they may lack both knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge in other subjects. On the other hand there is a strong connection between the teaching methods of the instructor and the student learning. That usually predominantly teaches a teacher force over the entire Elementary School, in the case of a bad teacher or teaching personal adjustment difficulties of teachers and students have significant negative consequences for individual or multiple students.

The range of subjects and nomenclature in the federal states is differentiated. Mathematics, social studies and German are among the main subjects.

Elementary school districts

So far there are in the provinces still called basic school districts (including school districts ). These districts are intended to counteract ghettoization of elementary schools, according to its proponents. In North Rhine -Westphalia on August 1, 2008, the elementary school districts were abolished. That is, the parents are free to decide which school they send their children. The communities however, they must introduce when needed. Proponents of basic school districts believe that with the possibility of a person other than the " local jurisdiction " to choose primary school, the social selection process will brought forward and promoted. In North Rhine -Westphalia and Lower Saxony also has existed since the country establishing the model of widespread religious schools, preferably accommodate students according to religion, which can be difficult, for example, Muslim children access to certain schools (segregation, educational disadvantage in the Federal Republic of Germany ).

Early selection of students

The primary school is considered to be currently the only comprehensive school in Germany, ( almost) get the sense that here all the children of a vintage together. The benefits of shared learning are named primarily on the cultural and social level. But even on the level of performance is not a disadvantage of shared learning demonstrated. The PIRLS study, the German elementary school to high efficacy; the scattering power between the children is comparatively low. The peak power well represented, though not as pronounced as in the top countries of the PIRLS rankings. The PISA studies are sometimes interpreted to mean that mutual learning would also be for children in secondary advantage; thus the long-standing debate in Germany on the reform of the German school system was re-ignited. Here, among other things, an extension of the primary school to the sixth (as currently in Berlin and Brandenburg usual) is required or ninth / tenth grade. However, a differentiation in German, mathematics and English will also find there place in the orientation stage up to class 6, so that the content is no difference to integrated comprehensive school.

New food received this demand by further studies. So stated the International Primary School Reading Literacy Study PIRLS that elementary school students internationally very much outperformed the 15 -year-old. Successively found the second PIRLS, the country comparison of the second PISA study and the long-term study of the AWO study that regularly with non-academic or less affluent parents, despite equal or better scores lower school career recommendation by the teachers were students. The Ministers of Education (KMK ) then only saw action in the sensitization of teachers, but not in a change in the very early selection.

Cornelia Kristen (2002) stated that the early selection works to the detriment of foreign children. All things being equal, these poorer school grades received. This mean that they have to attend inferior schools. A study from 2013 shows that the performance of elementary and secondary students suffer through the early selection after the fourth grade. Accordingly, absent the students of the incentive as " the dice have already fallen ."

The German Philologenverband other hand, advocated a continuation of the four-year primary school and a power elite from the age of ten.

The notes are the most important factor for the type of school, but not the only one. German visit while poor grades rarely the primary school as a foreigner. They instead go more often to the secondary school. In the transition to high school but there is no effect of nationality more if you control the notes. The fact that foreigners are less than German in high school, is located on the notes. Foreign children have particularly poor chances to go to a grammar school or a secondary school if they attend a school with many other foreign children. In such schools, they show poorer performance and achieve lower grades than on socially heterogeneous schools. This result takes on special importance in view of the pronounced ethnic segregation tendencies in the German primary school system. It is precisely in segregated school systems reach migrant children especially common in elementary school classes, whose student body is relatively homogeneously composed performance at a low level.

Alba et al. (1994 ) found that especially sections Turkish and Italian immigrant children in the German education system, bad and did not provide the services that correspond to their intelligence. Greek migrants, however, performed well.

On 5 October 2012, the first nationwide performance comparison of primary schools was presented at the Standing Conference in Berlin. The Institute for Educational Progress, which did a comparison, had the services of more than 30,000 children from over 1,300 German primary and special schools examined from the 16 federal states. The children from Bavaria in southern Germany and other countries fared best, the city states of Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen were the losers of the comparison. The study shows that social background has a strong influence on the learning success of children.

Private Elementary Schools

A growing number of primary schools are organized as private schools. To set up a private primary school, a special pedagogical interest is to prove to the public; their offer must go beyond the public schools in the region.

Nearly 30 percent of students at private general education schools attend primary school. In 2011, 11.6 % of all private schools were primary schools ( 11.2% accounted for more free Waldorf schools, which include all levels). According to the Federal Statistical Office in 2010 3.5 percent of all primary schools were in the old federal states in private. In the new federal states, the proportion was 10.4 percent. In 2000, the proportion was still in Germany as a whole at 2 percent.

Learning Objectives

The range of content in the main subjects mathematics, German, General Studies and Media ( PC):

  • Reading and writing to learn ( language acquisition )
  • Font in the specified readable way
  • Spelling and written expression
  • To memorize something
  • Basic arithmetic operations in the number range 1-1000000
  • Foundations of Geometry
  • Learning time, and calculating time intervals
  • Orientation on physical, chemical and biological basics, with everyday situations ( " Why does an apple fall to the ground when I let go of him? "; " Why does the candle out when I Stülpe a glass of it? "; " What happens in my body, I open my knee and bleed? ")
  • Spatial and partly historical orientation of the residential area (20 km radius)
  • Graphic bases ( draw ), but also free expression
  • Music (singing voice, Orff instruments )
  • Traffic education ( in the 4th grade with the bike check)
  • Elementary political education
  • Beginnings of philosophical discussions
  • Learn more democratic and social skills and the basic principles of democracy ( election of class president, votes on joint activities, mediation, conflict resolution, etc.)
  • Since the religious instruction in the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany (GG ) is protected as a subject, it is also offered at elementary schools.
  • Independent work on the PC and discovering new media. Reason students participate from the 4th grade on regular computer lessons. First steps have already been taken from the 2nd class. You learn how to use the hardware and software as well as writing with word processing programs, painting with simple graphics applications, and working on the Internet. When working on the Internet ( public space ) is drawn to the dangers. Hort children get the opportunity to independently deal in the media room (PC) under expert guidance by Hort offers. This promotes multiple skills simultaneously.


  • Grundschulverband - Working Group on Primary School eV ( Frankfurt am Main )