Working mothers do not get school places

Dramatic call from working mother
:
No school place for Langenfeld children

Experts present the development in the number of pupils: There are more children, and more and more parents need full-day care. Langenfeld cannot avoid expanding a number of schools.

The school board meeting begins Tuesday with a dramatic appeal from a single working mother. Your child did not get a place at a secondary school in Langenfeld. It will now go to school in Monheim, away from the usual environment. The mother had previously rejected a school place in Hilden assigned by the district government. More than an hour on the bus to school is not acceptable for her ten-year-old, says the mother.

There is no explanation during the meeting as to why a Langenfeld child does not get a school place in his own town. The little one is not alone. Again and again, children who leave primary school do not get a place at a secondary school in Langenfeld. A look at school legislation shows that the city’s hands are tied in many cases. Anyone who falls through the cracks in the numerous objection options or is unfamiliar with them is sent by the district government to the neighboring municipalities – perfectly legally. The child’s well-being or family relationships no longer play a role.

To ensure that this does not happen again in the future, weak points in the system should be prevented via the school’s development plan. The consulting firm Dr. Garbe, Lexis and von Berlepsch investigated the situation in Langenfeld.

The result: Contrary to all expectations, the number of children will continue to increase in the coming years. Not only is the number of births increasing, but Langenfeld has a student increase of 21 percent. The experts have noted this “gain in education” continuously for several years, and it continues according to the forecast. According to this, 613 children go to school this year. The currently recognizable peak follows in 2025 with 667 students, who may then need to be taught in 30 classes (currently 26). More students and an increasing need for parental care via the open all-day school (OGS) then lead to space problems at the schools. “We haven’t even included the extra rooms needed for teachers, administration or the canteen,” explains Ulrike Lexis from the consulting office involved. The OGS rate is already over 50 percent at almost all schools (except Don-Bosco). With a supervision percentage of 75 percent, 572 places were missing in 2025. A year later there is a legal right to a full-time place. Don Bosco School has the biggest shortage of space with around 500 square meters, followed by Richrath-Mitte with 200 and Christopherus with a shortage of 163 square meters. Almost all other primary schools, with the exception of Götscher Weg, also lack local capacity. The experts recommend structural extensions, especially with regard to the OGS right for primary school students. “Of course the council can control the level of support by setting appropriate fee levels,” explains Lexis. New room concepts are also possible, which make it possible to design small spaces for differentiation and inclusion. Flexible furniture can help to use existing spaces multifunctionally. It is also possible to control (fire protection/escape route compatibility) the use of traffic areas to set up learning islands to compensate for the lack of small spaces (corridor ends). Six of the Langenfeld elementary schools already have predictable clear deficits.

With a time lag of four years, the experts predict similar problems in the secondary schools, which will see a significant increase in the number of students from 2025. It will increase from 727 in 2022 to 903 in 2032. An area deficit of about 288 square meters is to be expected, especially on Bettine von Arnim School (BvA). The local situation at the other schools is not worrying. The problem at the BvA lies with the Hilden high school, which is rejected by many Hilden parents: They prefer to send their children to the BvA in Langenfeld.

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