The Realschulen are the sandwich schools in the country: They take on potential secondary school students as well as overwhelmed high school students. The level of the Realschulen suffers as a result, say the teachers there. And demand a reform of the system almost across the board.
Almost all teachers in the secondary schools in Baden-Württemberg are worried about overwhelmed children in the two entry classes and would rather get rid of their secondary school leaving certificate today than tomorrow. In a survey by the Education and Training Association (VBE), nine out of ten teachers are in favor of abolishing the Hauptschule certificate at the Realschule and giving more weight to the recommendation for primary school.
Pupils can obtain the Hauptschule certificate at various types of schools. Secondary school students can be taught “basically”, i.e. at a simpler level (G-level), on the way to their degree. In contrast, teaching at Realschulen takes place at an “intermediate level” in the first two years of school – regardless of which school-leaving certificate you are aiming for later. For many mothers and fathers, however, it is more attractive from the point of view of the Realschulen to deviate from the primary school recommendation and to send their weaker child to the Realschule and not to the actually suitable Hauptschule or Werkrealschule.
The offer of the Hauptschule certificate at the Realschule, which was decided under the then Minister of Education Andreas Stoch (SPD), has been in effect since the 2016/17 school year.
“The school practice has made a clear judgment,” said the VBE state chairman Gerhard Brand on the results of the survey, the details of which are to be presented on Friday (11:00 a.m.) in Stuttgart. “The teaching of G-students together with the other Realschule students in a class is questioned for pedagogical reasons.” By teaching at the same time, none of the levels can be served properly, criticized Brand. The system does not do justice to the children and is labour-intensive.
Realschulen are in a kind of sandwich position in Baden-Württemberg: They are catch basins for the students who would have gone to one of the lower secondary schools, which are increasingly being closed. You can get your high school diploma there. But high school students who come to the Realschule because they are overwhelmed also contribute to the increasing diversity of the school type. Changing the type of school is mandatory if the class goal has not been achieved twice in a row. Pupils can also change the type of school voluntarily.
A total of 209,552 boys and girls were taught at the 479 public and private secondary schools in the state in the 2020/2021 school year. Five years earlier, the number of schools was 507 institutions.