In Germany, children are usually obliged to attend school for at least ten years. The Municipal School and Further Education Office is on hand to help parents select the correct school, and also provides advice regarding school-related problems and details of intercultural services.
Amt für Schule und Weiterbildung (School and Further Education Office)
Stadthaus 1, Klemensstraße 10
ph 02 51 / 4 92-40 01
In Germany, the various Federal States are responsible for the way in which school education is organised. The North Rhine-Westphalian school system applies in Münster. School education starts with primary school (primary level), or school years one to four. After these first four school years, the children progress to secondary education (secondary levels I and II), namely to junior secondary school (“Hauptschule“), intermediate secondary school ("Realschule"), a mixed form calles "Sekundarschule", senior high school (“Gymnasium”) or comprehensive schools, which combine the other three types of secondary school education. It is also possible to attend the independent Waldorf and Montessori schools.
- Junior secondary school (Hauptschule): Children usually attend this type of secondary school for six years, e.g. until their tenth school year. These schools provide pupils with basic education which prepares them for professional training. Upon concluding their studies, pupils are either awarded a lower secondary school leaving certificate (“Hauptschulabschluss”), an intermediate secondary school leaving certificate with qualification for entry to senior technical school (“Mittlerer Abschluss / Fach-oberschulreife”) or an intermediate secondary school leaving certificate which qualifies them to attend a senior high school sixth form.
- Intermediate secondary school (Realschule): Studies at this type of secondary school also last six years, until the children’s tenth school year. Pupils receive the intermediate secondary school leaving certificate (with or without the entitlement to continue their education at a senior high school) upon concluding their studies, which enables them to either embark on a professional apprenticeship or to change to another type of school (a senior high school, comprehensive school or vocational college) in order to obtain a higher educational qualification.
- Senior high school: Senior high school pupils take their higher school leaving examinations after completing twelve years of school education. The resulting certificate (“Allgemeine Hochschulreife” or general baccalaureate) is required to study at a university.
- Comprehensive school: Pupils can conclude their studies at a comprehensive school with a range of different qualifications, namely the lower secondary school leaving certificate, the intermediate secondary school leaving certificate (including the option to go on to senior high school) or the higher school leaving certificate (after 13 school years).
- "Sekundarschule": Children attend this new type of secondary schools for six years, i.e. until their tenth year. The "Sekundarschule" guides pupils towards the intermediate secondary school leaving certificate or else towards the general A-levels. Therefore, it cooperates with comprehensive or senior high schools or a vocational college.
More general information on the school system can be found at:
Schools in Münster
Münster is home to over 40 primary schools, a Montessori school and a Free Waldorf school. With 7 junior secondary schools, 9 intermediate secondary schools, the "Sekundarschule" and 14 senior high schools, in addition to 2 comprehensive schools and a free Waldorf school, secondary education in Münster is extremely extensive. Three of the 14 senior high schools and one comprehensive school are catholic schools.
The range of educational options is supplemented by vocational colleges, which prepare pupils aged 16 and above for a specific profession or an additional school qualification. For information on vocational and technical colleges, please visit:
Amt für Schule und Weiterbildung, Bildungsberatung (School and Further Education Office, Education Advisory Service), Stadthaus 1, Klemensstr. 10
ph 02 51 / 4 92 - 40 76
Children with disabilities
Parents of children with special needs, e.g. physical or learning disabilities, can obtain information and support by contacting the coordinator for social inclusion at the School and Further Education Office.
ph. 02 51 / 4 92 – 40 74
International education options
Münster's schools place a specific focus on languages and internationality. Not only is it possible to learn a wide range of foreign languages at the city’s schools, but many supporting German language courses are offered specifically for pupils coming gron abroad. Bilingual teaching (German/English or German/French) is offered at four senior high schools and one intermediate secondary school. Two senior high schools offer international school leaving certificates (IB, AbiBAC). Five schools are certified “North Rhine-Westphalia European Schools”.
International education advisory service
Those who require more information about schools in Münster, the school system, German language courses, native language teaching and the like or with individual counselling for their school career, can make an appointment with the municipal international education advisory service. This advice is confidential, unbiased, and free of charge. The following languages are spoken: German, Bosnian, English, Croatian, Polish, Russian and Serbian. Advisors will try and find an interpreter in the case of other languages.
Amt für Schule und Weiterbildung, Bildungsberatung International (School and Further Education Office, International Education Advisory Service)
Stadthaus 1, Klemensstraße 10
ph. 02 51 / 4 92-40 42
ph. 02 51 / 4 92 - 40 74