WITH FINISHED IGCSEs, I have to go back to 9th grade in a Dusseldorf Gymnasium next year ??

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Hello Members,

I have read so many topics and failed to find a suitable one to take as an answer for my situation. I am a 15 year old IGCSE student . That means i basically finished my 10 years of schooling early one year because my parents chose to start my schooling at 5 in the UAE. I moved on to get the IGCSE certification with good scores and my family decided to move to Germany. My dad is an engineer and I have 5 siblings that are already finished 5th,4th and 9th grade. My dad has not recieved a package of an expat as his salary and for this reason he was recommended public schooling for us . Me and my older sibling have already studied german to the level of (A2) AND we are gifted in languages. My other siblings have not learned German , as discussed in our interview yesterday at a bilingual gymnasium . 

 

So, the story is....

I live in Dusseldorf in the NRW and we have to contact a office called the K.E to find the right schools for us . We got recommended a bilingual gymnasium where we had an interview yesterday.

 

The summary of the interview yesterday is that:

I would be recommended 9th grade gymnasium next year after taking a intensive course in german this year. 

My 9th grade brother will be recommended 8th grade next year after taking intensive course in german this year.

My two younger siblings hopefully will find a place at the bilingual program of the school. ( Because of their excellent English background)

 

 

What I dont understand is : 

why should I go back two years ? Im due in 11th class next year according to my age . Im turning 17 by the next school year. I have a international certificate that is according to the daad website considered a " Hauptschulabschluss" or "Mittlere Reife/ Realschulabschluss" which means I have attended ten years of schooling and accordingly I can go to the high school options. What i understood from the head master is that I cannot go to 10th grade gymnasium without completing 9th grade gymnasium . But, does that apply to UK members moving from the GCSEs to germany, they have to be dropped two years??? It does not make sense to me to graduate at 20 while i have a international certification that qualifies me to work in germany like the Hauptschule/realschule secondary students . I need to go to uni ofcourse and this has made a huge delay on me firstly because i was moving to grade 11 this year and graduating next year and now I'm going to grade 9 next year at 16 years old!!

 

 

 

 

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23 minutes ago, Nouni said:

My dad has not recieved a package of an expat as his salary and for this reason he was recommended public schooling for us .

 

Perhaps you should ask your father why he thought it was a good idea to move with teenagers who can't speak German to Germany without an expat compensation package.

 

23 minutes ago, Nouni said:

Me and my older sibling have already studied german to the level of (A2)

 

A2 is not sufficient to follow Gymnasium level courses in German.

 

 

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Perhaps I'm confusing your age and school years. Generally speaking Year 10 pupils would be 15 years old turning 16 at some point in that academic year.

You have mentioned that you are currently 15. To my mind then, if you spend this current academic year (given you are based in NRW, I am assuming you are currently at language school) getting your German up to scratch, it would be reasonable for you to start year 10 next August. That would make you one year older than the "standard". However, this is Germany, so unlike in many other countries, there does not appear to be a stigma attached in being a year "behind". 

 

Don't be in too much of a rush to put yourself at too much of a disadvantage to all of the other kids in the system.

You even mentioned heading off to university in future. Whilst an additional year might seem a pain right now, by the time you are at university it will seem immaterial. Also, if you are someone keen to look ahead, I imagine employers will be impressed by someone who has genuine fluency in several languages and succeeded in a variety of international school systems.

 

On the other hand, from your written English at least (albeit only comparing that one message, to written English I have seen from Germans at our local bilingual Gymnasium), it would seem you will have an advantage when it comes to those subjects which are taught in English. If you really think you are being disadvantaged, and are confident your German is/will be near a native level in a year (a big assumption, even for highly talented linguists) I would suggest you speak with the director of the bilingual school, to emphasise how your German language deficiency (relevant for some subjects) is compensated by your above average English (relevant for the remaining subjects).

 

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9 minutes ago, dstanners said:

If you really think you are being disadvantaged, and are confident your German is/will be near a native level in a year (a big assumption, even for highly talented linguists) I would suggest you speak with the director of the bilingual school, to emphasise how your German language deficiency (relevant for some subjects) is compensated by your above average English (relevant for the remaining subjects).

 

Do you even speak German? Have you ever attended a German Gymnasium? :wacko:

 

I actually spent 3 months as an exchange student in a Gymnasium with only A2 German. From experience I can assure you that A2 German is not in anyway sufficient to follow courses taught in German. Furthermore, the probability of a 15 year old foreigner with A2 German reaching a native level of German within a year is close to zero.

 

Most foreign children who arrive in Germany at 15 and over do not manage to complete a German Abitur.

 

 

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18 minutes ago, dstanners said:

I would suggest you speak with the director of the bilingual school, to emphasise how your German language deficiency (relevant for some subjects) is compensated by your above average English (relevant for the remaining subjects).

 

While that sounds good in theory, it neglects the fact that the OP won't be able to follow fully half (or more) of the subjects taught with just A2 German, above-average English here or there. And no offense, but from the OP's somewhat awkward phrasing and spelling mistakes, it isn't clear that s/he will even have an advantage over the other students in the classes that are taught in English. 

 

The problem is that 10th grade is when kids do their Mittlere Reife, so it's more difficult to just jump in at that point if the school can't assess what the student has learned so far.

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1 hour ago, engelchen said:

 

 

Most foreign children who arrive in Germany at 15 and over do not manage to complete a German Abitur.

 

 

I'm not looking to be discouraged at this point. I just moved here a month ago and I was not discouraged to go into a gymnasium. In the contrary , they even recommended 10th grade gymnasium for me at the Migrant authority . I agree  that my German is insufficient but I know people who came with 0 German and got into school here after a year of intensive German. But I respect what you have said and I'm sure A2 is not enough to go to gr.10

 

2 hours ago, engelchen said:

 

 

Perhaps you should ask your father why he thought it was a good idea to move with teenagers who can't speak German to Germany without an expat compensation package.

 

 

A2 is not sufficient to follow Gymnasium level courses in German.

 

 

 

I will answer you because I agree with my father in every word he says... 

I am an Egyptian. I am a migrant here. My father worked in the UAE as an engineer AND he was in a top position at his company. He came here for us. For our future. If you lived in the Middle East , you would know the struggle it is to be able to complete your tertiary education and find a job . There is no assistance for anybody to find a job there (IN THE MIDDLE EAST). There (M.E) I could have graduated next year and become jobless. My dad will pay for my life as any arab parent would do. He will feed me and get me clothes and give me pocket money till i get married one day. That is when I will get children who will do the same. Now I hope you know the difference. And, if you want to ask why not live in the UAE ... Simply because it is not my country . My parents will retire soon and I will have to build my own career ,right?

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1 hour ago, dstanners said:

Perhaps I'm confusing your age and school years. Generally speaking Year 10 pupils would be 15 years old turning 16 at some point in that academic year.

You have mentioned that you are currently 15. To my mind then, if you spend this current academic year (given you are based in NRW, I am assuming you are currently at language school) getting your German up to scratch, it would be reasonable for you to start year 10 next August. That would make you one year older than the "standard". However, this is Germany, so unlike in many other countries, there does not appear to be a stigma attached in being a year "behind". 

 

Don't be in too much of a rush to put yourself at too much of a disadvantage to all of the other kids in the system.

You even mentioned heading off to university in future. Whilst an additional year might seem a pain right now, by the time you are at university it will seem immaterial. Also, if you are someone keen to look ahead, I imagine employers will be impressed by someone who has genuine fluency in several languages and succeeded in a variety of international school systems.

 

On the other hand, from your written English at least (albeit only comparing that one message, to written English I have seen from Germans at our local bilingual Gymnasium), it would seem you will have an advantage when it comes to those subjects which are taught in English. If you really think you are being disadvantaged, and are confident your German is/will be near a native level in a year (a big assumption, even for highly talented linguists) I would suggest you speak with the director of the bilingual school, to emphasise how your German language deficiency (relevant for some subjects) is compensated by your above average English (relevant for the remaining subjects).

 

Ok now I have to make things clear :

 

  • I am done with Grade 10 one year early then everybody here. 
  • Im 15 and I'm not in school now I just moved here a month ago.
  • In the UAE i took Goethe A1 and in Egypt I took Goethe A2 in one month with adults and got the highest mark.
  • The schools here require B2 which I could have finished in Egypt in 3 months maximum. So i assume that an intensive course here is also in that range
  • I was going to go to 11th grade this year in the UAE a year earlier than Germans and graduate next year 
  • Now the plan is , I'm learning German this year and going to grade 9 next year!
  • This means I'm graduating at 20 years old since I got put back 2 years back from the normal school plan.
  • I recognize the benefits of what I have but, I feel like the delay could have been less if they chose to move me into Grade 10 next year (Which as mentioned earlier has  already been completed with an International Board Certificate that equates to Mittlere Reife  )

 

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1 hour ago, El Jeffo said:

 

While that sounds good in theory, it neglects the fact that the OP won't be able to follow fully half (or more) of the subjects taught with just A2 German, above-average English here or there. And no offense, but from the OP's somewhat awkward phrasing and spelling mistakes, it isn't clear that s/he will even have an advantage over the other students in the classes that are taught in English. 

 

The problem is that 10th grade is when kids do their Mittlere Reife, so it's more difficult to just jump in at that point if the school can't assess what the student has learned so far.

Sir, I think I wasn't clear enough . I am done with Grade 10 already . But I would rather be set back 1 year than 2 years . I am 15 years and I went to school early . At 14, I finished the IGCSEs which are equal to the Mittlere Reife. Now I was supposed to move to 11th grade . But since I'm a year younger , I should go to 10th grade this year. However , they will not be doing that. They will take me to intensive german classes this year and grade 9 next year! While I already completed 10th grade with a board certificate and am 16 years old I will be in classes with 14 year olds learning things I've learned 3 years ago! 

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51 minutes ago, engelchen said:

Do you even speak German? Have you ever attended a German Gymnasium?

Yes on both counts.

The main point I had hoped to make in my response was that an extra year wouldn't hurt the OP. I hope that is the message that gets through.

 

The other bit (which I introduced with the caveat about it being a, "big assumption even for highly skilled linguists") about whether her language is up to scratch and potential benefits with her English were an attempt to try to help the OP find some sort of positive option/solution.

Still, if you think your comments of 1) blame your Dad and 2) your current level of German isn't good enough, are more helpful for a 15 year old first time poster, then I guess we can agree to disagree.

 

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I briefly asked my 18 year old daughter about your situation. She is in her final year at a gymnasium (non bilingual) in Hessen. She started aged 10 having moved here from the UK with no German language skills.

 

The first thing she pointed out, as have others have in this thread, the actual age range of pupils in a school year is far wider than we had experience of in the UK.  In her class, the youngest is 16, the oldest, 19. Most are 17. It is generally accepted that the schools recommend the most appropriate year for the best likelihood of success. Repeating one or two school years is absolutely no shame and no reflection of academic ability. 

 

The regulations vary depending on Bundesland and the individual schools.  For example, at my daughter's school, they changed from G9 to G8 and back again to G9. Some schools opted to shorten school years from 9 years to 8. Many have reverted due to demand.  Her school year is referred to as 13 though it's actually 12.  Other rules are for example...a 10th class pupil cannot go back to the 9th class if they don't reach a particular standard at the end of the 10th. They would have to leave the school altogether. Also, various issues with needing to complete an E (Abitur introduction) phase before starting the Q (Abitur qualifying) phase. So, starting in the 9th class seems the most logical...and, kindest.  

 

Learning German to the level required for Abitur can be very challenging no matter what level of linguistic giftedness. Has an intensive course been recommended to you? Did your parents express their concern to the school about their recommendations? Maybe if the school can explain in more detail, you will feel better.  

 

Good luck.

 

 

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8 hours ago, Nouni said:

...It does not make sense to me to graduate at 20 while i have a international certification that qualifies me to work in germany like the Hauptschule/realschule secondary students . I need to go to uni ofcourse and this has made a huge delay on me firstly because i was moving to grade 11 this year and graduating next year and now I'm going to grade 9 next year at 16 years old!!

You'll not only survive, but you'll probably thrive, you and your next younger sibling, if you are placed in lower grade levels.  My daughter started gymnasium (her third year in the fifth grade - long story) at 13 and completed her abitur at 21. And she wasn't the oldest in her class.

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4 hours ago, emkay said:

 It is generally accepted that the schools recommend the most appropriate year for the best likelihood of success. Repeating one or two school years is absolutely no shame and no reflection of academic ability. 
 

Good luck.

 

 

 

 

I think that this cannot be emphasised enough - it is "normal" for Germans to repeat a year or two of schooling, even though it would be viewed as a shameful disaster in other countries.

The Germans have no problem with this concept at all.

 

Whilst the OP has the equivalent of the Mittlerer Reife, at least on paper, the language skills are definitely lacking. It obviously depends a LOT upon what the OP intends to do in the future, as to what s/he does now - theoretically s/he could go out and find a job, or s/he could stay in the German school system, accept that things are different, and work towards getting the Abitur and studying after that.

 

Is it the family`s intention to stay in German forever? If so, then I would recommend staying in school and making the most of the opertunities open to you.

 

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27 minutes ago, robinson100 said:

 

I think that this cannot be emphasised enough - it is "normal" for Germans to repeat a year or two of schooling, even though it would be viewed as a shameful disaster in other countries.

The Germans have no problem with this concept at all.

 

Whilst the OP has the equivalent of the Mittlerer Reife, at least on paper, the language skills are definitely lacking. It obviously depends a LOT upon what the OP intends to do in the future, as to what s/he does now - theoretically s/he could go out and find a job, or s/he could stay in the German school system, accept that things are different, and work towards getting the Abitur and studying after that.

 

Is it the family`s intention to stay in German forever? If so, then I would recommend staying in school and making the most of the opertunities open to you.

 

 

 

I would like to thank you for your advice and certainly I am willing to continue my schooling . I will be living here for a long time ,yes . So perhaps I should follow what the head teacher said. But, I would also like to ask something. So they also recommended taking an intensive course this year and going to 11th Grade in the Gesamtschule/Berufskolleg next year . Can I take the Abitur this way also? Does the Abitur there qualify me to go to Uni just like the Normal 12-year-gymnasium? Is the Berufskolleg something that I can be comfortable with as a student with no vocational schooling background ? Is it a better option than the normal Gymnasium?

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Yes an intensive course was recommended this year and going to Y9 next year . Or going to 11th grade gesamtschule/berufskolleg next year. 

5 hours ago, emkay said:

I briefly asked my 18 year old daughter about your situation. She is in her final year at a gymnasium (non bilingual) in Hessen. She started aged 10 having moved here from the UK with no German language skills.

 

The first thing she pointed out, as have others have in this thread, the actual age range of pupils in a school year is far wider than we had experience of in the UK.  In her class, the youngest is 16, the oldest, 19. Most are 17. It is generally accepted that the schools recommend the most appropriate year for the best likelihood of success. Repeating one or two school years is absolutely no shame and no reflection of academic ability. 

 

The regulations vary depending on Bundesland and the individual schools.  For example, at my daughter's school, they changed from G9 to G8 and back again to G9. Some schools opted to shorten school years from 9 years to 8. Many have reverted due to demand.  Her school year is referred to as 13 though it's actually 12.  Other rules are for example...a 10th class pupil cannot go back to the 9th class if they don't reach a particular standard at the end of the 10th. They would have to leave the school altogether. Also, various issues with needing to complete an E (Abitur introduction) phase before starting the Q (Abitur qualifying) phase. So, starting in the 9th class seems the most logical...and, kindest.  

 

Learning German to the level required for Abitur can be very challenging no matter what level of linguistic giftedness. Has an intensive course been recommended to you? Did your parents express their concern to the school about their recommendations? Maybe if the school can explain in more detail, you will feel better.  

 

Good luck.

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Nouni said:

 

I would like to thank you for your advice and certainly I am willing to continue my schooling . I will be living here for a long time ,yes . So perhaps I should follow what the head teacher said. But, I would also like to ask something. So they also recommended taking an intensive course this year and going to 11th Grade in the Gesamtschule/Berufskolleg next year . Can I take the Abitur this way also? Does the Abitur there qualify me to go to Uni just like the Normal 12-year-gymnasium? Is the Berufskolleg something that I can be comfortable with as a student with no vocational schooling background ? Is it a better option than the normal Gymnasium?

 

No, it limits you.  But perhaps you are happy with that.

 

https://abi.de/orientieren/schule/mit-welchem-abschluss-kann-ich016450.htm

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My kids went to a Gesamtschule and had the opportunity to do the normal Abitur. It was not the same as a Berufskolleg. 

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9 hours ago, robinson100 said:

I think that this cannot be emphasised enough - it is "normal" for Germans to repeat a year or two of schooling, even though it would be viewed as a shameful disaster in other countries.

The Germans have no problem with this concept at all.

Indeed. I even chose to voluntarily repeat grade 10 so I could fill the knowledge gaps previous years of laziness had left. Only after that additional year I started enjoying school as I felt on top of things. I graduatetd aged 21 (as I had entered the Gymnasium tier after grade 5 rather than the usual grade 4). Didn´t hurt me.

Maybe you could do a trial period as a guest student in grades 9 and 10 of a "Gymnasium" (in Bavaria at least that was possible for my kids when they came back from overseas - one of them was upgraded to the next higher grade after 4 weeks while the other changed to Hauptschule) to get an idea of whether you´ll be able to cope?

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Another thing to consider is that language proficiency is even more important at the Gymnasium than at other types of school due to the subjects tought. E. g. you´ll have to deal with how to interprete poems and novels etc. or foreign languages like Latin, Spanish or French. You´ll be exempt from being marked for one year only but after that it will be a huge challenge when you´ll be treated just like everybody else who has been taught these subjects for a couple of years already. E. g. my son (native speaker who had spend much of his school career overseas) was given 1 year to get his Spanish up to B2 level (he had never been taught Spanish before). He managed to just pass the exam with the worst mark that was a pass after having had private lessons.

Note that all I´m writing here is based on my experiences from Bavaria. It might be different in your state.

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2 hours ago, jeba said:

Maybe you could do a trial period as a guest student in grades 9 and 10 of a "Gymnasium" (in Bavaria at least that was possible for my kids when they came back from overseas - one of them was upgraded to the next higher grade after 4 weeks while the other changed to Hauptschule) to get an idea of whether you´ll be able to cope?

 

This is a great plan - first get your German up a bit past B2, then see if you can do this for the rest of this school year, and then the appropriate place should become obvious. 

 

The headmaster has assessed you as an average incoming student with poor German. If you get your German really good and go back, the likelihood is they will put you in the most appropriate class. There is huge flexibility in this system. What emkay said about the E phase and the Q phase may be a legal limiting factor, though, and coming with qualifications from another country may not count. 

 

The thing with the Gesamtschule is that it might be giving you an extra year for your Abitur - Klasse 11, 12 and 13 - if so, that is a definite plan - just make sure it is the Allgemeine Abitur which is the one for any and every further study. The Berufsschule will be doing a Fachabitur, or the Fachhochschulreife, which is great but afterwards you are more limited in the subjects you can continue to study, and not every place of higher education will take you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, jeba said:

Maybe you could do a trial period as a guest student in grades 9 and 10 of a "Gymnasium" (in Bavaria at least that was possible for my kids when they came back from overseas - one of them was upgraded to the next higher grade after 4 weeks while the other changed to Hauptschule) to get an idea of whether you´ll be able to cope?

 

I also agree. This could be a very good option subject to the school having capacity especially in view of your accelerated learning history and existing German.  

 

When my daughter was 10 with no German, her current school, gymnasium,  instantly offered her a place in the 5th class starting mid-term in November. This was based on showing the head teacher several examples of her school work from the UK together with a an in depth report from her former teacher.  In order to stay at the school, she had to be assessed every 6 weeks and be able to demonstrate 'significant' German improvement.  The following spring came the big decision as to whether she could stay at the school or leave.  Thankfully, she was able to stay and completed that school year in July. The biggest benefit she had in hindsight was being able to restart the whole 5th year after the summer holiday. 

 

I know that there have been significant education changes in Germany since we went through this process in 2011/2012.  There are ever more intensive German courses available for all ages.  At the time, (Hessen),  I made enquiries about German courses and was categorically told by our local school council that such courses are absolutely not sufficient for a child attending Gymnasium with even a little existing German.  

 

Last year, I made enquiries about intensive German language courses on behalf of a native English speaking family. The children had had an excellent education with high level test results.  The parents wanted the children to attend gymnasium here and go onto higher education in Germany.  Again, I was told by a school council lady who also assisted in teaching at some of the courses, the courses are not suitable for gymnasium level of education.  She went into great detail explaining how it works...lots of migrant children together in mixed age groups.  Most from different countries with no common language.  Some had never previously been educated at all. The aim is generally for the children to be able to participate somewhat, at sometime in a reasonable normal age range class. Again, this was in Hessen so maybe different in other states. 

 

The family, as was the case for us, employed private one-to-one tutors.  This may be a suitable option for you especially as English is a good base for learning.  Often, older pupils at the school offer such private tuition.  The school may offer some assistance from teachers too. 

 

As others have confirmed, there can be significant limitations to having a Fach Abitur as opposed to a general Abitur.  

 

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