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Private Schools for Expats in Germany

Submitted: December 2013

Private schools (Ersatzschulen) are increasingly popular in Germany and there are several types of private schools to choose from. Most are primary or secondary schools run by private persons, organizations or religious institutions. Private schools typically charge tuition fees and offer varied courses leading to the German Abitur or other diplomas or certificates that conclude one’s studies.

The number of privately educated institutions in Germany is rapidly increasing due to the perception that private schools outperform state schools, due to smaller class sizes and better student support.  As a result, applications to enter private schools often exceed available places and it is advisable to arrange placement well in advance.

For working parents, many private schools are seen as ideal because provide all-day supervision, which includes tending to the requirements of lunch, homework supervision and recreational activities. This is much unlike their state school counterparts which usually run until either 12:00 or 1:30.

Germany has a variety of private schools from which to choose. There are some which place an emphasis on particular subjects, such as religious instruction, music, mathematics and economics.


Remarkably, tuition fees at German private schools are cheaper than their counterparts in other Western European countries. Many schools charge as little as 80 to 100 euros per month, though there is no upper limit and some schools charge much more. The Basic Law in Germany forbids the segregation of pupils according to their parents’ means, as a result of this, all Ersatzschulen are often subsidised with public funds and students cannot be rejected on the grounds of their financial situation. Scholarship programmes are also available for students.


While private schools have a certain degree of flexibility with respect to the content of their curricula, there are general conditions and academic standards set down by the respective federal states which must be adhered to. Teachers at private schools must also have at least the same qualifications as those at state school and must be paid the same wages.

Students with Special Needs

Most German children with special needs may attend a school called Förderschule or Sonderschule that serves only such children. The teachers at these schools are qualified professionals who have specialized in special-needs education. They often have a favourable student-teacher ratio and facilities compared with other schools. Some special-needs children do not attend special schools, but are mainstreamed into a regular comprehensive school, known as he Hauptschule or Gesamtschule.

Boarding Schools

German boarding schools are called Internat. There are several hundred Internat in Germany offering a variety of study programs. Most schools offer the Abitur and additional specialized courses in different subjects or pursuits. There are sports Internat, music Internat as well as Internat that specialize in other areas. There are also some boarding schools specifically for boys or girls alone. Some boarding schools are:

If you are interested in boarding schools visit: https://www.boarding-school-finder.com/en/articles/boarding-in-/germany, which is a helpful portal to view and review boarding schools in Germany.

N.B. If you are interested in registering your child in a private school, it will be helpful to consult the Association of German Private Schools, otherwise known as the VDP. For more information on this Association see https://www.privatschulen.de/.



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