Types of school in NRW

Transition from primary to secondary school

Transition from primary to secondary school: types of school in NRW

After primary school, the question arises as to which secondary school your child should go to. A good joint decision is based on your child's talents and inclinations, but also on the school profiles of the local schools. This article offers you an overview of the different types of schools and choices.

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Schulformen in NRW

What happens after elementary school?

The change from elementary school to secondary school is an important decision for parents and child. You will receive a recommendation in the counseling interview with the teachers of the elementary school in the 4th grade. The elementary school recommendation is not binding for parents in North Rhine-Westphalia. However, it provides a good orientation, as the experienced teachers can make a good assessment of your child's performance. However, the final decision is yours.


In North Rhine-Westphalia, you can choose from a range of different school types:

On the Internet portal of the NRW Ministry of Education, you will find detailed descriptions of all forms of school offered in North Rhine-Westphalia with the degrees that can be attained.


What criteria determine the school career recommendation?

Elementary school teachers assess academic development in the following areas:

  • Grade average
  • learning behavior
  • Working behavior
  • Memorizing ability
  • Concentration ability
  • Social behavior

However, it must always be taken into account: every child is unique and develops differently. The permeable school system in North Rhine-Westphalia therefore makes it possible for all children to change school form during their career, depending on their academic development.



What is the role of a school's potential focus?

When it comes to the transition to lower secondary school, the type of school is not the only decisive factor. The possible focus of a school can have significance for the choice of school. In its school program, each school specifies the particular goals, focal points and organizational forms of its educational work. A school can, for example, focus on a special emphasis in the areas of music, sports, language or science, which is particularly suited to the personal talents and inclinations of your child. Parents can find information about the selected school on its website. In addition, information events and open days offer you and your child a good opportunity to get a personal impression of the school.


How do parents make a good choice?

Which secondary school your child should attend after elementary school is an important decision. The right type of school should match your child's ability and willingness to learn. Once the right type of school has been determined, criteria such as the range of classes offered and the school's pedagogical concept should be taken into account. The decision for a suitable school profile allows for a talent-oriented support of your child. Many parents also pay attention to other criteria such as a short route to school, extracurricular activities, lunch and childcare options.


How do we involve our child in the decision?

The decision about the further educational path should not be yours alone. It is advisable to let your child have a say in the question of transition. If you are in close communication with your child during the decision-making process, you will be able to find out what your child wants and what expectations he or she has. Use the open house to visit the potential school together. Afterward, you can talk with your child about whether he or she felt comfortable and what he or she did or did not like. An open exchange about the school alternatives will allow you to come to a good decision together. The best condition for learning success is that your child feels included and comfortable in the secondary school.

On the education portal of the Ministry of Education of North Rhine-Westphalia you will find all information about the school system.

These tips will help you decide which secondary school is right for your child.

This brochure from the Ministry of Education is aimed at parents whose children attend the 4th grade of an elementary school and who are transferring to a secondary school next year.