PRIMARY SCHOOL (VOLKSSCHULE)
- A four-year school
- Option to attend the pre-school year
- Commencing on 1 September after the child's sixth birthday
- Early admission is possible if the child is ready for school.
- Registration as a pupil is a pre-condition for admission.
- Upon completion: Progress into the next stage of education
All children resident in Austria for a sustained period of time are required to attend school. They are required to attend school from the first day of September following their sixth birthday. Compulsory education lasts nine years.
Children reaching the age of 6 prior to 31 August of a given year are required to attend school from 1 September of that year and must go to school.
The parents of children who are required to attend school must register their child or children at the relevant primary school. Admission to primary school will take place following registration. When registering their child, parents must take the child along with them, so that the Head Teacher can determine whether the child is ready to attend school. A child is ready to attend school, if it can be assumed that he/she is capable of following the teaching in Year 1, without becoming physically or mentally overchallenged.
If, upon registering a child for school, there are grounds to assume that the child is not yet ready to start school, or in the event that the child's parents or guardians demand that their child's readiness for school be examined, the Head Teacher of the school must decide whether the child is ready to attend school or not. Children, who have reached compulsory school age, but are not yet ready to attend school, must be admitted to the pre-school year. The school psychology service can be contacted for support in the decision process.
Information regarding the various forms of all-day education at state schools can be obtained from the relevant Regional Education Board (Landesschulrat or Stadtschulrat für Wien).
Registration at private schools
When registering to attend a private school, parents are recommended to contact the Head Teacher of the school in question in good time before the registration of pupils begins. It is important to note that not all private schools have received official recognition, which is required if a child is to fulfil his/her compulsory education in a school of that type.
If necessary, the parents or guardians are required to inform the Regional Education Board that their child is to attend classes at a private school that does not hold public recognition. They must do this before their child joins the school.
Attending the pre-school year
Attending the pre-school year may take place in separately-run pre-school classes or may be provided in class groups that are operated in conjunction with Year 1 or Year 2.
Early admission to school
Children who have not yet reached compulsory school age, but whose sixth birthday falls before 1 March of the subsequent calendar year, may be admitted to Year 1 prematurely, on condition that they are ready for school and possess the social competence required in order to attend school. The parents or guardians of the child must submit a written request to the Head Teacher of the primary school, within the applicable deadline for registration.
Educational advice regarding a child's progression to the next stage of education
In the first semester of Year 4, parents and guardians are informed of and are given an opportunity to discuss the recommended educational progression route of their children (at a parents' evening, for example).
Special Needs Education and Integrated Education
For children who, as a result of physical or mental disabilities, are unable to take part in mainstream primary education without special assistance, there is the option to be taught in integrated classes that form part of the primary school itself. In the case of integrated classes that form part of the primary school itself, approximately 21 children are taught by one member of the teaching staff who has completed a conventional teacher-training course and another teacher who has been trained in the teaching of children with special needs. Depending on the type of disability of each child, the curriculum can be adapted in line with his/her educational capacity. As a result of being taught together with non-disabled children, children with disabilities will benefit from the social opportunities that this provides. The non-disabled children will also benefit, since they will gain new social experiences.
The next step:
Upon successful completion of Year 4 of the primary school, pupils must attend one of the following types of school:
- The New Secondary School
- or the Lower Level of the Academic Secondary School
As far as the education of children with special needs is concerned, the options available are:
- to attend a special school
- to attend an integrated Lower Secondary School, New Secondary School or Academic Secondary School Lower Level.
The requirement on admission is that the child has attended Year 4 of the Primary School or the corresponding year group of a Special School. If the parents decide that the child will embark on the integrated route, the district school authority is obliged by law to implement the relevant provisions in order to honour that wish.