After completion of primary school, children can join either a middle school or an academic secondary school.
Middle schools (Mittelschule)
After successfully completing primary school all children can attend a middle school.
Starting with the 2020/21 school year, the ‘middle’ school replaces the previous ‘new middle’ school as a compulsory school form for children aged ten to fourteen years. The curriculum combines traditional academic subjects with a new culture of teaching and learning. One of the principal aims is for the curriculum to be focused on the potential and talents of the children attending each school. Educational and careers guidance is also provided, laying the foundation for future educational or vocational decisions.
After successfully completing the four years at middle school, pupils have the following options:
- Complete their education at an upper secondary school (AHS-Oberstufe), an intermediate vocational education school (BMS), a higher vocational education college (BHS) or a pre-vocational School (PVS).
- Commence an apprenticeship immediately, only if they have already completed their 9 years of compulsory education (because, for example, they repeated a year).
Academic secondary schools (AHS or Gymnasium)
Education at an academic secondary school lasts for an overall period of eight years and is divided into a lower (Years 5-8) and an upper (Years 9-12) level.
The upper secondary diploma (Matura) is required to study at university level.
A pre-condition for admission to the first year of the lower level is the successful completion of Year 4 of primary school, which means having obtained a Very Good or Good grade in German, Reading and Mathematics.