School education

Which school is right for your children?

Finding the right school for your child is one thing; finding the right course of study is another. There are four preferred choices in Germany: German, American, English, and International.

The German system offers the Abitur as the most direct path to university graduation. There is the International Baccalaureate, a curriculum of learning designed to offer school leavers access to universities worldwide. There is the American High School Diploma-the minimum requirement in the US and Canada for government posts and higher education-and there is the English National Curriculum. All four systems are available in Berlin and in some other cities, though, it should be pointed out, some are more available than others.

The English National Curriculum

The National Curriculum sets out a clear, full and statutory entitlement to learning for all pupils up to the age of 16. It determines the content of what will be taught and sets attainment targets for learning. It also determines how performance will be assessed and reported. An effective National Curriculum gives teachers, pupils, parents, employers and the wider community a clear and shared understanding of the skills and knowledge that young people will gain at school.’ National Curriculum online.

The two principal aims of the Curriculum are to provide the wherewithal for learning and achievement while also developing and promoting the pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. The Curriculum seeks to prepare the student for a life of challenge, opportunity and responsibility.

At Key Stage 1(ages 5-7) and 2 (7-11) students are required to study the following:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science
  • ICT
  • History
  • Geography
  • Art and Design
  • Music
  • Design Technology
  • Physical Education
  • Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE)

At Key Stage 3(ages 11-14) students are required to all the above, in addition to:

  • A Modern Foreign Language
  • Citizenship
  • Careers Education
  • At Key Stage 4(14-16) all are required to study:
  • English
  • Maths
  • Science
  • ICT
  • Physical Education
  • Sex Education
  • Careers Education

Assessments are carried out at three ages: 7 (school year 2, at the end of Key Stage 1), 11 (year 6, the end of Key Stage 2) and 14 (Year 9 the end of Key Stage 3). The assessments are known as SATs.

The assessments are useful in that they inform the teacher and parent of the student’s progress and they also serve as a valuable introduction to public examinations, well before the students have to sit their IGCSEs.

At the end of Key Stage 4, pupils are normally entered for the IGCSE exams.

At Key Stage 5 the pupils are groomed for careers, university and colleges of further education through the study of AS and A2 subjects.


This article has been provided by the International School Villa Amalienhof in Berlin. Our teaching s based on the English National Curriculum: we believe it provides a broad and balanced curriculum for all pupils. For more information, click here  .

Further reading

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