Germany - Country Background Information

Describing the forms of education in the country

The EASIE data collection covers all recognised forms of education at ISCED levels 02, 1, 2 and 3.

This means any type of education organised by or approved by any recognised educational provider in the public or private sector: municipality, local or regional educational provider from the public or private sector, working with/for ministries responsible for education and areas such as health, social, welfare, labour, justice, etc.

What is the compulsory education age range in the country?

Compulsory full-time education is from 6 to 15 years, followed by 3 years of compulsory part-time education (16–18 years)

What are the typical age ranges for the ISCED levels?

3–5 (or until beginning of primary education) 6–9 10–15 16–18
Is private sector education covered by the data provided for the country?

Germany has public and private sector education. Both institutions exist side by side and co-operate with each other. As a guarantee under the Basic Law it is possible to establish private schools. This is combined with a guarantee of the private school as an institution. The constitutional law rules out a state monopoly of education.

Is recognised public or private education organised by sectors other than education (i.e. health, social, welfare, labour, justice, etc.) in the data provided for the country?
Are there recognised forms of alternative education covered by the data provided for the country?
Are there recognised forms of home schooling covered by the data provided for the country?
Identifying an ‘inclusive setting’ in the country

In the EASIE data collection, an inclusive setting is operationally defined as:

A recognised form of education where the child/learner follows education in mainstream classes alongside their peers for the largest part – 80% or more – of the school week.

The 80% time placement benchmark clearly indicates that a child/learner is educated in a mainstream class for the majority of their school week. At the same time, it acknowledges possibilities for small group or one-to-one withdrawal for limited periods of time (i.e. 20% or one day a week).

Very few participating countries can provide exact data on children/learners spending 80% of their time in a mainstream group/class. However, all countries can apply one of three agreed proxies that provide an approximation to this benchmark:

  • Placement in a mainstream class implies over 80% or more
  • Data is available on the number of hours of support allocated to a child/learner
  • Placement in a mainstream class implies over 50% or more.
Are you able to provide actual data to verify the 80% placement benchmark?
What an ‘official decision of SEN’ means in the country

In the EASIE data collection, the agreed operational definition is:

An official decision leads to a child/learner being recognised as eligible for additional educational support to meet their learning needs.

Countries may have different types of official decision, but for all official decisions:

  • There has been some form of educational assessment procedure involving different people. This procedure may involve the child/learner, parents, school-based team members, as well as professionals from multi-disciplinary teams from outside the child’s/learner’s (pre-)school.
  • There is some form of legal document (plan/programme, etc.) that describes the support the child/learner is eligible to receive, which is used as the basis for decision-making.
  • There is some form of regular review process of the child/learner’s needs, progress and support.
Please describe what an ‘official decision’ is in the country.

The procedure of determining special educational needs comprises establishing the individual need for support as well as deciding on the course of education and the place of support. 

The procedure may be applied for by the parents or legal guardians of the pupil, by the pupil provided they are aged 18 or above, by the school or by other competent services, and is to take into account the competences of the persons who participate or participate in the measures of support and instruction in a suitable manner.

The evaluation of a pupil’s performance is a pedagogical process but is also an administrative act based on legal and administrative regulations.

What educational assessment procedures are carried out and who is involved?

The responsibility for the procedure lies with the school supervisory authorities: Either the authorities themselves have the competence for special educational needs as well as sufficient experience in the field of educational support for disabled people, or they consult experts in the field of special educational support.

What formal, regular review processes of a child/learner’s needs, progress and support are linked to an official decision?

Multi-professionalism is mainly achieved by teachers of different disciplines working together, as well as through co-operation with specialists from other fields (psychology, medicine, social education, therapy, youth work, etc.). These measures will be supported in a variety of ways by teaching assistant services as part of integration assistance. At the same time it should be noted that the structure of payers among the Länder differs widely.

What ‘out-of-education’ means in the country

Within the EASIE data collection, specific questions examine children/learners who are out of education. This means children/learners who should, by law, be in some form of recognised education, but who are out of any form of recognised education. A recognised form of education is any type of education organised by or approved by any recognised educational provider in the public or private sector.

Is there a formal definition of ‘out-of-education’ in the country?
Please describe which learners are considered ‘out-of-education’ in the country

Up to now, this is not applicable in Germany. All pupils are accounted for in the data. This topic has to be surveyed in detail.

Please describe any specific country issues you think are relevant for understanding the data you have provided

Data on pupils with special educational needs without an official decision in mainstream classes cannot be reported separately. In order not to stigmatise pupils with mild special needs, the intention is not to make an official decision at an early stage.

An assessment team examines the pupil’s special educational needs. The assessment leads to various forms of support provided by special needs teachers from regional counselling and support centres and classroom teachers, whether or not the pupil gets an official decision of special educational needs.

No specific data is available on the time pupils with special educational needs spend in a placement.