ACADEMIC SECONDARY SCHOOL (AHS), LOWER LEVEL
- Four-year lower level
- On successful completion, pupils may attend the Academic Secondary School Upper Level.
- Transfer to a College for Higher Vocational Education.
- The types of institution available are the Classical Academic Secondary School (Gymnasium), Academic Secondary School emphasizing Mathematics and Science (Realgymnasium) and Academic Secondary School emphasizing Economics (wirtschaftskundliches Realgymnasium)
Education at the Academic Secondary School lasts for an overall period of eight years and is divided into a lower (years 5 to 8) and an upper (years 9 to 12) level.
The upper secondary diploma entails the entitlement to study at Universities, Universities of Applied Sciences or University Colleges of Teacher Education.
A pre-condition for admission in to the first year of the lower level is the successful completion of Year 4 of the Primary School, which means having obtained a "Very good" or "Good" grade in German, Reading and Mathematics. Alternatively, the teaching staff of the Primary School must have determined that despite having only obtained a "Satisfactory" grade in these compulsory subjects, the pupil will be able to satisfy the requirements of the Academic Secondary School by virtue of his/her other achievements. A further alternative would involve the pupil sitting an entry examination.
Forms of Academic Secondary School
Lower level (1st to 4th grade) and upper level (5th to 8th grade):
- Gymnasium with a special focus on languages, humanities and the arts
- Realgymnasium with a special focus on natural sciences and mathematics
- Wirtschaftskundliches Realgymnasium with a special focus on economics and life skills (including practical elements)
- Oberstufenrealgymnasium: only in the upper level
The Upper Level Academic Secondary School emphasizing Mathematics and Science (Oberstufenrealgymnasium) only comprises years 9 to 12 and may be attended after successful completion of the fourth year of a secondary school.
Academic Secondary School
The purpose of an Academic Secondary School is to impart a broad and extended general education, thereby providing pupils with standard entry qualifications for university and a solid basis for more specialized education or training – in post-secondary courses, at post-secondary colleges, "Fachhochschul"-courses or on the job.
But although the Academic Secondary School considers it one of its foremost tasks to impart knowledge, it also aims to provide students with numerous other qualifications and skills (e.g. working methods, the ability to co-operate, independence and responsibility).
Structure and Organization
From the third year onwards, education is sub-divided into three types:
Classical Academic Secondary School (Gymnasium), Academic Secondary School emphasizing Mathematics and Science (Realgymnasium) and Academic Secondary School emphasizing Economics (wirtschaftskundliches Realgymnasium). Within a given framework and in both the upper and lower levels, each school has the ability to align the range of subject areas taught to the specific situation that exists in its own establishment (autonomy of schools). It is also permitted to issue its own syllabi.
- Academic Secondary School specialising in Music and Sport, requiring a suitability test
- Supplementary secondary school and supplementary scientific secondary school
- Classical Academic Secondary School (Gymnasium) and Academic Secondary School emphasizing Mathematics and Science (Realgymnasium) for people under employment
- Academic Secondary School for Linguistic Minorities (Slovene, Croatian, Hungarian)
- Trade and Boarding School (Werkschulheim)
- Academic Secondary Schools with enhanced Foreign Languages provision (for further information, please contact the Regional Education Board).
Information regarding other special forms of education being operated on an experimental basis (e.g. schools specialising in Information Technology, Science, Competitive Sport etc.) and Academic Secondary Schools with boarding facilities (public and private) can be obtained at the Regional Education Board.
Special Needs Education
In cases where an integrated class is set up in an Academic Secondary School, an average (based on the federal province) of five pupils with special education needs will be taught in one class. Pupils with special educational needs will be taught by teachers qualified to teach in an Academic Secondary School Lower Level, alongside specially trained personnel. They will normally follow the timetable of the relevant year group of the Academic Secondary School Lower Level, as long as that does not represent too great a challenge to the child. In the event that it is necessary to make any changes as a result of the special needs of an individual child or as a result of the special school timetable to be employed, this must be established on an individual basis by the school, in consultation with the school authorities.
Educational and careers guidance
In Years 3 and 4 of the Academic Secondary School, particular attention is given to pupils' further vocational career or educational pathways. This takes place in the context of the obligatory subject "careers education"
The next step:
- After successfully completing the 4 years of the Academic Secondary School Lower Level, many pupils progress to the Academic Secondary School Upper Level (mostly at the same location).
- They can however attend a School for Intermediate Vocational Education (BMS), a College for Higher Vocational Education (BHS), a Pre-vocational School (PVS), or take up an apprenticeship. Pupils who wish to take up an apprenticeship must first complete nine years of education, however, by attending the fifth year of the Academic Secondary School or a Pre-vocational School (Polytechnische Schule).
- Pupils who have already completed their 9 years of compulsory education after the fourth year of the Academic Secondary School (because they have repeated a year), can commence an apprenticeship immediately.
- The right of children with disabilities to be integrated into mainstream schools only applies up to the eighth year of education. Pupils with special educational needs are able to attend a Pre-vocational School (Polytechnische Schule) or undertake a programme of integrated vocational training.