Learning conditions are generally more favourable in international schools, in the way that they offer more modern facilities and more extra-curricular activities than most public and private German schools. Furthermore, the teaching style and structure is often more comfortable for those who have moved to Munich from abroad.
All of these benefits do of course come at a price, roughly around EUR 16,000 per child per year for international secondary schools, with international pre-schools (Kindergarten) and international primary/elementary schools (Grundschule) costing 30 to 50 percent less.
Public and private schools in Munich
The alternative is for expat parents to send their children to a German school. While many schools, from Kindergarten up to university level, charge little to nothing for tuition, all curricula are taught in German. This may indeed be highly beneficial for young pupils who are starting their school career, but it is extremely difficult, and often stifling for older students to adapt to.
Children usually attend Kindergarten at the age of three, and start Grundschulleat age six. From this age or, grade 1 to 4, all pupils learn a standard set curriculum, after which they attend one of three types of schools: Hauptschule, Realschule or Gymnasium.
German education is thus not divided according to age from this point forward, but rather what they wish to achieve. A child's academic ability usually determines which school they attend, but the final decision rests with the parents.
Bear in mind though, regardless of which school a child attends, all students are required to complete at least nine years of education. Also, as schooling is usually conducted during the morning, students often receive 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 ten, after which students go straight to Berufsschule. Depending on their academic progress, Realschule students can go to a Gymnasium upon graduation.
Gymnasium is generally accepted as the type of school for top students. Subjects included here are mathematics and natural science, as well as classic and modern language studies. It covers grades five through thirteen and successful scholars receive a degree called an Abitur, which offers university and college preparatory classes, or combined academic and vocational training.