Schooling options for expatiates in Frankfurt

As is the case in the rest of Germany, the education facilities available in Frankfurt are of a very high standard. Generally, all schools in Frankfurt will break for holidays in April, July, August and October, with an additional break in December for Christmas.

Expatiates relocating with children really have two schooling options; International schools or Public schools. While the German education system is held in high regard globally, each school type has their unique pros and cons. Below we explore the two schooling options available to expats in greater details.


Choosing a German school checklist

If you can, then visit the school and talk to the head teacher or ask on expat forums for advice from other parents. It always advisable to Visit in term time to get a genuine feel for the atmosphere of the school. In addition to the criteria you would normally use when choosing a school for your child, you might want to consider the following:

  • What is the main teaching language used in the school?
  • What support is there for pupils who need extra help with the German language?
  • What opportunities are there to learn other languages?
  • What nationality are the other pupils?
  • Which curriculum does the school follow?
  • What does the curriculum include? Ask to look at a typical timetable to see academic/non-academic ratio.
  • What qualifications will the course lead to?

International schools in Frankfurt

High school students sit exams in GermanyThere are just a handful of international schools in Frankfurt. Expats moving to the city will not have as much choice as they would in the German capital, Berlin. For this reason, international schools in the city have long waiting lists. It is advisable that expat parents start the application process as early as possible to allow their child a better chance of getting a place at the school of their choice.

Most of the international schools in Frankfurt are English speaking and follow the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. However, there are also international schools that follow the American, British and Japanese curriculum.

As is often the case elsewhere in the world, school fees at International schools in Frankfurt can be exceptionally high. On top of annual school fees there is often a non-refundable registration fee. Parents should also expect to pay for field trips, extra-curricular pursuits, stationary and uniforms.

It is suggested to expats moving to Frankfurt with children that they negotiate an allowance for school fees into any employment package.

List of international schools in Frankfurt

European School Frankfurt
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 3-18
Gender: Co-educational
Telephone: +49 (0)69 92 88 740
Website: www.esffm.org

Frankfurt International School (FIS)
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 3-18
Gender: Co-educational
Telephone: +49 (0)61 71 202 4474
Website: www.fis.edu

ISF Internationale Schule Frankfurt-Rhein-Main
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate and American Advanced Placement
Ages: 3-18
Gender: Co-educational
Telephone: +49 (0)69 95 431 9710
Website: www.isf-sabis.net

Japanese School Frankfurt
Curriculum: Japanese
Ages: 6-15
Gender: Co-educational
Telephone: +49 (0)69 97 67 1190

Metropolitan School Frankfurt
Curriculum:International Baccalaureate/IGCSE
Ages: 3-15
Gender: Co-educational
Telephone: +49 (0)69 96 86 4050
Website: www.m-school.de

Strothoff International School
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 3-18
Gender: Co-educational
Telephone: +49 (0)61 03 802 2500
Website: www.strothoff-international-school.com

Public schools in Frankfurt

Expats who have children young enough to pick up languages quickly or who foresee themselves relocating to Frankfurt on a long-term basis should consider standard German public schools. There are no tuition fees attached to these institutions, but there may be registration or minimal extras that will need to be financed.

Young children in kindergarten, GermanyExpats may initially find the system complicated, but it is ultimately based on achievement and is tailored to the abilities of each student.

Children attend Kindergarten at the age of 3 and start Grundschulle (primary school) at age six. From this age pupils learn a standard set curriculum.

After this point, Children will attend one of three types of secondary schools: Hauptschule, Realschule or Gymnasium. German education is thus not divided according to age from this point forward, but rather according to what direction a student chooses to take their education (see below for more information).

A child's academic ability usually determines which school they attend, but the final decision will still often rest with the parents.

It is worth noting though that regardless of which school a child attends, all students are required to complete at least nine years of education. In addition, schooling is usually conducted during the morning with students often receiving a lot of homework (and are thus unable to involve themselves in too many extra-curricular activities).

  • Hauptschule, while offering the same subjects as Realschule and Gymnasium, teaches children at a slower pace and includes vocational courses. During grade ten, students study at a vocational training school and then attend Berufsschule where they receive further education and apprenticeship training up until grade twelve.
  • Realschule on the other hand, is attended up until and including grade 10, after which students go straight to Berufsschule. Depending on their academic progress, students can go to a Gymnasium upon graduation.
  • Gymnasium is generally accepted as the type of school for elite students. Subjects included here are mathematics and natural science as well as classic and modern language studies. It covers grades 5 through to 13 and successful scholars receive a degree called an Abitur which offers university and college preparatory classes, or combined academic and vocational training.

Public bilingual schools in Frankfurt

Public bilingual schools are a good alternative and worth considering especially if there is no provision for the payment of school fees within an expat’s employment package.

Hello translated in different languagesThere are very low fees attached to bilingual schools in Frankfurt. They are a great option for those planning to spend a good few years in Frankfurt and are keen to have their children integrate well with the local German population.

In these state-sponsored schools there are usually two streams of curricula based on a child's mother tongue and German. In Frankfurt there are currently bilingual schools that teach in German and either French, English, Greek or Japanese.

Bilingual schools are a popular option amongst Germans who want their children to experience a broader education. For this reason, space does tend to disappear quickly; expats preparing for a move to Frankfurt would do well to start making arrangements as far in advance as possible.

If you are interested in a move to Frankfurt or anywhere else in the world and would like to speak to Kingpin International about International Tax Opportunities, please contact a member of the team. Alternatively, please browse our current International Tax vacancies.

 

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