We came to Munich 2 months back. We approached Realschule and Gymnasium, and both refused to take our 8-year old as she did not speak German. Only option left was Hauptschule, which I read from reviews is ranked lowest in the schools. What are the options that a non-German parent has in such situation? I also have a 13 year old, for whom the problem is even further worrying.

  • Unfortunately this is not a question about the German Language and thus offtopic. Note that after graduating from Hauptschule a child can progress to Realschule and after passing Realschule continue on Gymnasium, so even when starting "on the lowest rank", it does not need to be a bad thing, although the transition between schools is of course difficult.
    – infinitezero
    Dec 6, 2019 at 14:16
  • take our 8-year old - It's quite to early for that anyway. In NRW, you would register at a Grundschule and they would then give a recommendation (for Hauptschule, Realschule or Gymnasium) based on how good your child did in its 4th year class. But of course this procedure also depends on the Bundesland where you live.
    – mic
    Dec 6, 2019 at 14:22
  • She will learn German really quick. If her grades are outstanding she can switch to Realschule or Gymnasium later.
    – Olafant
    Dec 6, 2019 at 14:26
  • @Olafant What are the steps to move from Hauptschule to Realschule? What level of German is needed to start trying for Realschule? B1?
    – Salam
    Jan 24, 2020 at 13:35

2 Answers 2


If she is 8 years old, that would put her at "Grundschule" (elementary school) levels in Bavaria. More specifically, in 2nd or 3rd grade, depending on month of birth and previous educational levels.

Also a lot of elementary schools will have special courses for German as foreigners.

During 4th grade, depending on her overall grades she can then choose a secondary school, which can be "Hauptschule" for grades 5 through 9 (or 10), "Realschule" for grades 5 through 10 or "Gymnasium" for grades 5 through 12/13.

  • 1
    And maybe check on Parenting SE.
    – Stephie
    Dec 6, 2019 at 15:07
  • Without knowlegde of German, the kid will be put into a German learner's class first for at least half a year.
    – Janka
    Dec 8, 2019 at 0:07
  • "the kid will be put into a German learner's class first for at least half a year" -> The schools are not teaching much German and yes its frustrating for my daughter. Should I take her out of school and just have her learn German?
    – Salam
    Jan 13, 2020 at 11:49
  • @Janka ""the kid will be put into a German learner's class first for at least half a year" That will vary from place to place. Certainly my colleague's 9-year-old son is in normal school (with some remedial German lessons) just outside Zürich. If he had lived in Zürich, he would have gone into a special German school for a year. (I don't know how varied the Bavarian education system is. The rules might be Land wide, or per Kreis, or even per school.) Jan 14, 2020 at 11:38

What are the options that a non-German parent has in such situation?

Ask school and authorities what they can offer to make your child learn german.

There is no help in putting a child into a normal school if it doesn't speak at least basic words of a language.
Your daughter would be bored all day and have no idea what happens around her. She wouldn't learn anything if she doesn't understand what others say. Grades would be bad and demotivating. Finding friends is hard too. In summary, she would have a very disappointing time.
Later when she leaves school (probably not finish - just leave) you might see all this was useless.

If school refuses to place your child somewhere without any sense then it's your chance to avoid asking "why didn't we ..." in a couple of years when it is too late.

Instead you have the chance to set the direction of her future now.
Please use this chance!

  • "set the direction of her future now" -> Could you please elaborate what I need to do?
    – Salam
    Jan 13, 2020 at 11:48
  • @Salam yes, I meant to say do not wait until something happens, it could perhaps happen somewhen but then too late. Instead go to school, tell the situation and ask them to help your child to find a way to learn german and thus open the door to those schools.
    – puck
    Jan 13, 2020 at 16:33
  • For my 13yr old, I went to a school, they said to go to the other school, there are refugees kids who also are in similar situation as your kid and then she can learn with them. They have classes from 8 to 3.30pm and all classes are in German and no language lessons. I asked them why no German classes, and they said that we do have classes but that is not the case, asking me to be patient for 6 months and then I will see the change. I took her out of that school and looking for another one. Someone suggested to go to Schulamt, but I dont know how can they help.
    – Salam
    Jan 13, 2020 at 17:02
  • @Salam Contact other kids' parents, ask them how they see the situation. Perhaps the idea is good and there really is a change. Who knows? Why shouldn't it be possible to learn with and from other kids. It is hard to help you from a forum because your chances depend on your city and schools or authorities at your place. The only advise can be: keep asking. Especially don't take your child out of a school without already knowing a better one.
    – puck
    Jan 13, 2020 at 17:58
  • yes I agree, thanks. Its a bit of a struggle till the time my daughter learns German. Younger daughter in class 2 is enjoying in her class. Elder one has to just hang in there for few months and learn German slowly.
    – Salam
    Jan 14, 2020 at 8:17

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