School system & compulsory schooling

If your children are older than six years, they have to go to school, because schooling is compulsory in Germany. The vast majority of schools in Germany are run by the state. Your children can therefore attend these schools for free. In addition, private and international schools are of course open to you. However, there are fees for them.

The individual federal states are responsible for school policy. Depending on the region to which you are moving with your family, you will therefore find slightly different school systems. For example, children in the individual federal states do not always learn the same thing and sometimes use different school books. There are also different types of schools in the individual federal states. However, a rough classification of schools applies throughout Germany:

Germany’s School System

Primary School

When you set up a company in Germany, you usually also have to pay taxes to the tax office, i.e. to the local tax authority. The taxes you have to pay depend, among other things, on the size and legal form of your business and the amount of your income.

You will find an overview of the various types of tax in the company portal.

In addition, you must submit an annual tax return for your company to your tax office, in which you disclose all income and sales.
Tip : Get advice from a tax advisor to avoid mistakes and possibly tax debts. The tax office also helps clarify tax issues.

  • Secondary school
    (grades 5-9 / 10)
  • Realschule
    (grades 5-10)
  • Comprehensive school
    (grades 5-12 / 13)
  • Gymnasium
    (grades 5-12 / 13)

Hauptschule and Realschule

Young people who have successfully completed the Hauptschule or Realschule can then do vocational training or switch to a grammar school or comprehensive school.

Comprehensive School

Offers an alternative to the three-tier school system (Hauptschule, Realschule and Gymnasium).


Here, at the end of the twelfth or thirteenth grade, students can obtain their high school diploma by successfully passing an examination. This qualification entitles them to subsequently study at a university or University of Applied Sciences to study. However, graduates from grammar schools can also choose to start working directly through vocational training.

School children and young people
who have recently immigrated to school are enrolled

Are your children of school age when they enter Germany? You are probably wondering how your schooling is organized? The respective school management decides on this in consultation with the responsible school authority. As a rule, the newly immigrated schoolchildren who, due to their language skills, are not yet able to take part in school lessons continuously are offered trial lessons. The aim is to integrate them into regular school lessons as quickly as possible.

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