Just a real quickie as I am supposed to be packing for the start of our return journey home. The German holiday is nearly over. We are driving about 6 hours north to spend the night in northern Germany, then on to the ferry tomorrow, so I am unlikely to get on line again for a day or two!

Last night I was quizzing my husband’s family about the German educational system. Two things that struck me as different to our system and possibly valuable for us to take on board were;

a) German teachers are Beamte, that is civil servants. As such their pay tends to be better than their English colleagues and they tend to command more respect. Because of this, parents show more respect towards teachers and this is passed on to the children. Consequently, behaviour in schools is generally better.

b) If a child doesn’t perform to the best of their ability or if they misbehave too much, then there is the threat of ‘sitzen bleiben’. This is an incredibly powerful tool – all of the teachers that are involved in that child’s education get together and discuss whether he/she should be allowed to move up a class. If they decide that the child has not put in sufficient effort to pass the year, then a letter is sent home to say that  he/she will be required to repeat it. The stigma that goes with this is huge – both for parents and child, consequently very, very few children are required to do so.

Mind you, I got to thinking about one or two of the children I used to teach and wondering whether a) I would have wanted them for another year and b) whether they would still have been in Year 7 when they were 93!!!

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