In southern Hesse, almost all children go to the school of their choice

The aim of the Abitur remains the most important: the wishes of the parents are mostly fulfilled in Darmstadt and Darmstadt-Dieburg. There were major struggles during the transition after primary school.

The educational path should lead most girls and boys in Darmstadt and Darmstadt-Dieburg to the Abitur, here in Darmstadt Eleonornschule.
(Photo: Andreas Kelm)

SOUTH HESEN – The transition of several thousand schoolchildren in Darmstadt and the Darmstadt-Dieburg region from primary to secondary school, a process that was prone to conflict only a few years ago, has been largely resolved. The school landscape of the city and county, which together constitute a school district, was adapted to the wishes of parents through restructuring. This stems from figures for student management for the upcoming school year, which have now been provided by the City and District Public Schools Authority.

Pressure and desire create conflict

Letters with homework are also sent to parents these days. As a rule, it was possible to fulfill the wishes of the parents, says Ursula Schmiden, deputy head of the school authority.

Two issues in particular had caused conflict and much resentment in previous years: strong pressure from students from all over the region on grammar schools in Darmstadt and the desire of many parents to set aside their children the career path to Abitur, which was temporarily shortened to eight.

invested heavily in schools

It seems that both hot topics have now been cleared. Holger Schenk-Poggea explains that the great efforts of the district of Darmstadt-Dieburg, which has invested a lot of money in its school buildings in recent years and whose extended offers for the road to Abitur are now well received, has contributed to this. Head of the school authority responsible for the transition to the fifth grade.

As far as the G 8 Turbo Abi is concerned, it is only offered in the city and region by Darmstadt Lichtenberg. For its places — 141 students go there as directed by students — there is “very stable” demand, Schmiden said.

The proportion of Darmstadt children who are supposed to transfer from primary school to one of the city’s six secondary schools remains stable. For years it was two-thirds of the year – higher than anywhere else in Hesse. “We can provide a place for every child in Darmstadt who wants to go to secondary school,” Schmiden asserts.

Exactly 700 girls and boys will start school at the beginning of September at Darmstadt Grammar Schools, including the Grammar School branch of a cooperative comprehensive school. That’s 31 fewer students in fifth grade than last year. On the other hand, the number of people enrolled in an integrated comprehensive school in the city increased from 37 to 242.

Allocations according to fixed criteria

In Darmstadt, the number of registrations in the Realschulen and Realschule branches (94), the Hauptschulen and Hauptschule branches (23) and the special needs categories (74) remained largely unchanged. The bottom line is that there are 1,233 future fifth-graders at Darmstadt, an increase of 11 over the previous year.

Schenk-Boggia asserts that school authority decides on the basis of established criteria when performing tasks, without regard to individual children and their school performance. Priority is given to the wishes of parents for children with special educational needs and for siblings whose brothers or sisters already attend the desired school. Children from the school’s regional authority also have priority, such as Darmstadt children in Darmstadt schools, and district children in district schools.

110 children from the region will enroll in fifth grade at Darmstadt. Conversely, there are also 140 young people from Darmstadt who will attend district schools, for example because distances from Wixhausen or Eberstadt to neighboring communities are shorter than in inner city schools.

The school scene is in a good location

Almost twice as many children in Darmstadt, 2436 to be exact, will be on their way to a secondary school in Darmstadt-Dieburg in September. The good half of them (1247) attended the comprehensive cooperative high school branch. 514 go to an integrated comprehensive school. There are 38 secondary school enrollments, and secondary schools (8) hardly ever play a role in the district. 629 girls and boys attend support levels.

Schenk-Boggia sees no surprises nor new trends in these numbers. In his view, the school landscape is “in good shape”, “there are many well-accepted grammar schools and basic schools”. The foreign languages ​​on display and focal points of the school profile such as natural sciences, sports or music are crucial to the wishes of many parents, and family traditions also play a role in Darmstadt. The structural condition of the schools and possible upcoming renovations will also be included in the decision.

“We see the city and the neighborhood as an educational district,” Schmiden says. “And this is certainly accepted by the parents.”

This article was originally published on June 11, 2022 at 00:00.

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