Compulsory Schooling

Elementary schools (primary schools)

Elementary school consists of junior stage I (levels 1 and 2 and sometimes preparatory classes) and junior stage II (levels 3 and 4).
Elementary school curricula for all children include the following objectives, amongst others: children are to acquire the basic techniques of reading, writing and numbers, and in addition are to gain a good understanding of their social environment enabling them to be tolerant, use their right to codetermination, share responsibilities and respect others.

Many elementary schools in Vienna now offer new forms of learning and teaching (open learning, the Freinet method, and others more). The aim is to promote individual learning, independence, motivate children to assume responsibility, cooperate and practice their social skills. Pilot schemes are introduced to test new forms of student assessment: verbal assessment, commented direct assessment of performance or task books. One modern foreign language is taught as a mandatory non-assessed course from level 1 onwards.

Introductory stage

As of September 1999 the following organisation structures apply to the introductory stage:

  • Separately run preparatory classes (as needed) and levels 1and 2 ( separate preparatory classes) or
  • A jointly-run, flexible introductory stage of junior stage I levels (preparatory school together with level 1 or preparatory class together with levels 1 and 2)

Children can take between 1 and 3 years, depending on their abilities, to cover the curriculum prescribed for junior stage I.

Secondary modern schools

To be admitted to a secondary modern school students must have successfully completed level 4 of the Austrian school system. To be admitted to class one of an AHS without entrance examination students must have been assessed "very good” or "good” in German and mathematics in their level 4 elementary school reports. In case of "average” the relevant elementary school may prove a child's readiness to attend an AHS school on other grounds.

Secondary modern school consists of four levels and has the task of providing fundamental general education, as well as preparing students for working life or intermediate and higher-level secondary education in accordance with their interests, talents and abilities.

Students are split into groups (classes) for subjects German, mathematics and a modern foreign language (generally English). Students may be "set” in groups according to their ability (attainment) or "streamed" according to age.

Students may take remedial instruction for compulsory subjects, mainly German, mathematics and modern foreign languages.

In the third and fourth year much attention is paid to preparing students for their further educational and vocational career. The subject "careers guidance” has been introduced as a mandatory non-assessed course and practical training sessions (days/weeks), excursions and visits to companies are organized.

In addition to that special types of secondary modern schools offer orientation towards sports or music.

Pilot scheme middle school, school association

To avoid the competitive co-existence of HS and lower stage AHS schools a pilot scheme has been introduced where both school types cooperate with each other so as to provide equal educational opportunities for all students.

Pre-vocational schools (PTS)

With the general school reform the pre-vocational year was replaced by the pre-vocational school as of the academic year 1997/98.

With a certain degree of autonomy granted to schools individual curricula may be modified and adapted for optimum training opportunities. The schools also aim at imparting basic professional qualifications for different professional fields to increase students' career chances.

With the new reform now in force all students are offered a compulsory orientation phase during the first two months of the academic year. This is to enable them to better identify their skills, interests and abilities. Students may choose from the following vocational fields:

  • Technical professions
  • Secretarial and commercial professions
  • Services and tourism
  • Professions involving information and communications technologies

All-day compulsory schooling

All-day schooling provides out-of-school care along with the general curriculum of learning. Education and care may be run separately (as with the "Offene Schule" (open school) model) or in combination (as with the "Ganztagsschule" (all day school) model).

Out-of-school care in the afternoons is also offered by Vienna's after-school centres and other, private institutions. For further information please inquire with the Municipal Department 11 - Youth and Family Office (MA 11) or relevant private organisations.

Should you require all-day care (including afternoons) for your child you will receive an information sheet along with the invitation to register your child for school. This provides you with comprehensive information on regional locations, existing care options and a full list of requirements for all-day care. Please fill in the application form for afternoon care at the time of registering your child for school. There is a total of more than 100 compulsory school locations offering after-school care.

The School System in Vienna

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