Primary School

Primary schools [Volksschulen] are designed to provide all pupils with the same elementary education. Special attention is being paid to the social integration of children with special needs. The objective of primary schools is to provide children with a basic and well-balanced general education which fosters their social, emotional, intellectual and physical skills and abilities.

Depending on the number of pupils, there is one class for each primary school year. If there are not enough pupils to set up a class for each year, children of several years may be grouped in one class.

Primary schools are to be organized as

  • schools providing for four classes – one class for each school year
  • schools providing for one to three classes, comprising years one to four of compulsory schooling
  • schools providing for one to eight classes, comprising years one to eight of compulsory schooling.

In addition to that and depending on the possibilities, primary schools are also requested to provide for pre-school education, either by means of a pre-school year [Vorschule] or a pre-school group [Vorschulgruppe]. Classes are to be held either on all (pre-school year) or on two to three (pre-school group) days a week.

Pre-school Education

The purpose of pre-school education is to further children who are not yet mature enough to attend primary school. These children may complete their first year of compulsory schooling by doing a pre-school year. In addition to that, the pre-school year provides non-school-age children who celebrate their sixth birthday between September 1 and December 31 of the respective school year and who are admitted to primary school upon request of their parents with the possibility to change over to pre-school education if it turns out that they are not yet mature enough to follow lessons in primary school.

There is no assessment of the child's performance, the annual report only states that the child participated in the non-assessed compulsory subject classes. Pre-school classes are located in primary school buildings.

Educational Contents at Primary School

Elementary level I

The first two years of primary school are considered a unit. All children may proceed to the second year after attendance of the first year, irrespective of the assessment of the child's performance in the annual report. In addition to attending compulsory subjects, pupils are free to choose to attend non-assessed optional classes (such as school choir singing, drama classes etc.) which are designed to foster special interests and skills.

Moreover, pilot projects on new ways of integrated pre-school and primary education have been started. These new ways to enter school education are designed to complement conventional ways in the years to come.

Elementary level II

From the third year (elementary level II) onwards a modern foreign language (Croatian, Czech, English, French, Hungarian, Italian, Slovak or Slovenian) is taught on a compulsory basis, though without assessment of the child's performance.

Based on interests and performance, parents are informed and advised on the kind of educational pathway recommended for their children after completion of the fourth year of primary school.

Depending on the demand, i.e. given there are at least three pupils in need of it, remedial classes to the extent of one teaching unit per week are offered for language subjects and mathematics (e.g. for pupils with learning difficulties or for pupils who have missed lessons because of illness).

With the exception of religious education, lessons at primary school are usually held by a form master. In addition to that, there are specially trained tutors who may be deployed to attend to children with special needs and to children with mother tongues other than German who have problems to follow lessons held in German.

Special Education Centres –

Promoting Integration of Disadvantaged Children

By means of providing and co-ordinating special measures, special education centres [Sonderpädagogische Zentren] aim at promoting integrated teaching of disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged children in conventional schools.

Fields of Activity:

  • drawing up of expert opinions
    to assess the need for special education
  • co-operation with
    - compulsory schools in the regional area
    - other special education centres
    - the District School Inspector (District Education Board)
    - the Special Needs School Inspector
    - non-school institutions in the regional area
  • promoting integrated classes by means of
    - providing pedagogical and organizational assistance
    - providing assistance in organizing teacher teams
    - providing information for parents
    - public relations
    - exchange of experience and further education
    - administrative assistance.

Models of Integrated Education

Integrated classes

Disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged pupils are taught in joint classes by a team of teachers (primary, lower secondary and special needs school teachers).

Special tutor classes

According to their respective disadvantage children are given additional lessons by a special needs school teacher within the framework of conventional school classes.

Co-operative classes

As far as organization is concerned, there is a separation of primary, lower secondary and special needs school classes, but upon a joint decision by the respective teachers some or even all lessons may be held on an integrated basis.

Upon request of the person vested with the right of education, disadvantaged children may attend an optional 10th year of schooling. In certain cases attendance of a special needs school may even be made possible beyond the 10th year of schooling.

Geändert am 23.02.2007

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