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

Abitur remains the most important goal: parental wishes are mostly fulfilled in Darmstadt and Darmstadt-Dieburg. There have been major conflicts in the past during the transition after primary school.

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

SYDHESSEN – The transition of several 1000 school children in Darmstadt and the Darmstadt-Dieburg district from primary school to high school, a very conflict-ridden process just a few years ago, has largely been resolved. The school landscape in the city and district, which together form an educational region, has been adapted to the parents’ wishes through changes. This is stated in the figures for student management for the coming school year, which the state school authority for city and district has now presented.

Pressure and desire create conflict

The letters with the school assignments have also been sent to the parents these days. As a starting point, the parents’ wishes could have been fulfilled, says Ursula Schmieden, deputy head of the school authority.

Two factors in particular have aroused conflict and much anger in previous years: the strong pressure from students from across the region at Darmstadt high schools and the desire of many parents to spare their children the career path to Abitur, which was temporarily shortened to eight years.

There is a lot of investment in schools

Both hot items seem to have been cleared by now. A significant effort from the Darmstadt-Dieburg district, which has invested a lot of money in its school buildings in recent years, and whose expanded offer of the road to Abitur has now been well received, has contributed to this, explains Holger Schenk-Boggia, head of The school authority responsible for the transition to 5th grade.

As for the G 8 Turbo Abi, it is offered only in the city and district by the Darmstadt Lichtenberg school. For its places – 141 students go there according to the study guide – there is a “very stable” demand, says Schmieden.

The proportion of Darmstadt children who are supposed to switch from primary school to one of the six high schools in the city is also stable. For years, it has been two-thirds of the year – higher than anywhere else in Hesse. “We can offer a place to any Darmstadt child who wants to go to high school,” Schmieden emphasizes.

Exactly 700 girls and boys will start in early September at Darmstadt High School, including the high school department of a cooperative elementary school. That’s 31 fewer fifth-graders than last year. In turn, the number of enrollments at one of the three integrated primary schools in the city increased by 37 to 242.

Assignments according to fixed criteria

In Darmstadt, the number of registrations for the Realschulen and Realschule departments (94), the Hauptschulen and Hauptschule departments (23) and special classes (74) remained largely unchanged. The conclusion is that there are 1233 upcoming fifth grades in Darmstadt, eleven more than the year before.

Schenk-Boggia emphasizes that the school authority decides on the basis of fixed criteria when doing assignments, without looking at the individual children and their school performance. Parents’ wishes for children with special educational needs and for siblings whose siblings are already attending the desired school are given priority. Children from the school’s regional authority also have priority, ie. Darmstadt children in Darmstadt schools, district children in district schools.

A total of 110 children from the district will attend fifth grade at a Darmstadt school. Conversely, there are also 140 young people from Darmstadt who want to go to district schools, for example because the distances from Wixhausen or Eberstadt to the neighboring communities are shorter than to the inner city schools.

School landscape well located

Almost twice as many children as in Darmstadt, 2436 to be exact, will be on their way to a high school in Darmstadt-Dieburg in September. Just over half of them (1247) go to the high school department of a cooperative elementary school. 514 go to an integrated holistic school. There are 38 enrollments for colleges, colleges (8) hardly play a role in the district. 629 girls and boys participate in support levels.

Schenk-Boggia sees neither surprises nor new trends in these figures. He sees the school landscape as “well located”, “there are many colleges and well-accepted holistic schools”. Offered foreign languages ​​and focal points in the school’s profile such as science, sports or music are crucial to many parents’ wishes, and family traditions also play a role in Darmstadt. The structural condition of the schools and any future renovation work would also be included in the decision.

“We see the city and the district as an educational region,” says Schmieden. “And it’s certainly accepted by the parents.”

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

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