Potsdam – Despite the imminent start of a new high school in the north of Potsdam, the city still needs more such schools. The need is now so great that the town hall has to expand various classes at existing high schools to a maximum of 30 students and to open a new class at the Einstein high school in the city center, which was not previously planned.

The responsible school authority and Potsdam’s education department head Noosha Aubel (independent) explained the background to this on Tuesday evening in the education committee. One must also react to the need for places at the Gymnasium in the coming years, said Aubel. She wants to make suggestions for this in early autumn. “We can’t just let it go, we have to take into account the legal right to such places,” Aubel appealed to politicians. As is well known, the red-green-red town hall cooperation favors new comprehensive schools instead of grammar schools.

Around 50 students really wanted to go to a grammar school

As reported, in the so-called Ü7 procedure for the transition from sixth to seventh grade, around 120 of around 1700 pupils in the race for their desired school were unsuccessful and were referred to other schools. What has now become known in the committee: About 50 of these boys and girls, with the support of their parents, definitely wanted to go to a grammar school in order to be able to take their Abitur there after only twelve years. This corresponds to almost two school classes.

According to Dörnbrack, after the summer holidays, another class with 30 students must be opened at the Einstein-Gymnasium on the corner of Hegelallee and Schopenhauerstrasse for these children, who had a recommendation for a grammar school. The four other seventh grades of the school also start with this maximum number, it said. In addition, additional children were accommodated at the Leibniz-Gymnasium am Stern. Dörnbrack said that almost all high schools were in high demand, including the new one in the north of Potsdam. On the other hand, there would be enough places in all schools. “The situation will not be different next year either.”

Education Director Noosha Aubel (independent).Photo: Andreas Klaer

School Board: More high school places needed

Aubel recalled that the city councilors are making initial plans for a new grammar school in Neu Fahrland last year would not have pursued further. When asked by PNN, the school board Dörnbrack said after the committee meeting that Potsdam had to think about how to create more places at high schools. So far, according to the school development plan, only one new high school is planned, which is to be built at Schlaatz in 2028.

In addition to the 50 high school students who were just accommodated in this way, there were also those children who had indicated a wish for a high school or a comprehensive school – and who could not be served either, Dörnbrack continued. Here, students were mainly assigned to the Steuben comprehensive school in Kirchsteigfeld and the Kollwitz and Fontane high schools, said Dörnbrack in the committee. In general, the situation is more tense anyway, because a total of more than 300 students from Ukraine have to be accommodated at primary and secondary schools.

More transparency and open handling of the Ü7 procedure required

However, three members of the district parent and district school advisory board, Eileen Hoffmann, Ulf Rosner and Walter Schmitt-Knauer, are demanding more transparency throughout the Ü7 process. So there must be more precise and comprehensible numbers on the selection behavior, it said. The lack of transparency that has been practiced up to now is convenient for the administration, “however, it makes it difficult for us parents to make good selection decisions and prevents a fact-based discussion about the right school offer in our city.” The trio sees it differently: “Wouldn’t it make more sense to support these schools instead of hiding them?”

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The three parents said in a joint statement that the way the Ü7 procedure was now designed, the actually diverse, “but unfortunately largely unused” educational offers of the dozens of schools hardly played a role. Rather, the standard criteria for the best possible grade point average at grammar schools or the distance to the place of residence at comprehensive and high schools are decisive for the distribution of school places. Alluding to the fact that grades in the main subjects German, math and English are what count for a secure school place in the Ü7 procedure, the representatives of the advisory board explained: “No one has to apply to the Humboldt-Gymnasium with a grade of six.” With such prospects and precisely because of the scarce places, children and families would be put under considerable pressure.

In the committee, Wieland Niekisch (CDU) called for the most popular schools to be published. School board Dörnbrack countered, also with reference to the negative attitude of the Ministry of Education: A ranking was not wanted, also because the schools, depending on the location, had very different requirements. Nevertheless, the question concerns many parents, he said.

Background: Many children are in daycare for a year longer

By the way: The school administration has planned the need for Potsdam primary schools relatively precisely. Accordingly, this year only 20 freshmen and whose parents did not get the school they wanted – and were finally able to join ten schools with a total of 81 free places choose something else. School board member Eckhard called the numbers in the education committee.

Oversought were the Gerhart Hauptmann and Montessori elementary schools in the Brandenburg suburbs and in Potsdam-West, the elementary school in Bornstedter Feld and the Am Stern school center. On the other hand, you have to go to the Eisenhart elementary school in the city center only two classes instead of the planned three open. Altogether at the beginning of the school year in August 2219 children of school age.

However, according to the school board Dörnbrack 340 children deferred again who attend a day-care center for a year longer. This number is also high by Potsdam standards, the consequences are being analyzed, said Head of Education Noosha Aubel (independent). One reason is probably the past Corona years – with, as is well known, partly closed daycare centers and less early childhood support.