- Following from the 8th year of education, for a period of one school year
If a student wishes to complete ten years in education, it is possible to attend the Pre-vocational School (Polytechnische Schule) for two years.
- General education, vocational orientation and basic vocational education in vocational areas selected by the pupil
- 32 hours of teaching per week
- Transfer to an apprenticeship or a subsequent type of education
The PVS follows after the 8th year of education and consists of a single year group. During their ninth, or their voluntary tenth year of education, pupils are prepared for their later lives - especially for the world of work - by giving them the opportunity to consolidate their general education, vocational orientation and basic vocational education. An orientation phase at the start of the school year and professional orientation as a subject area provide a great many opportunities for pupils to familiarise themselves with the world of work. By undertaking visits to companies and professions in training workshops and out-of-school institutions and by spending a period of days working in a vocational context (work experience placement), pupils are able to experience their chosen profession at first hand.
The basis vocational training is offered in specialist areas (electives). These correspond to the major professional areas that exist within the economy and enable pupils to acquire fundamental abilities, skills and knowledge (key qualifications). Practically-based learning encourages individual talents and enhances pupils' motivation to learn.
Depending on each pupil's interests and inclinations, they can select from the following seven specialist areas: Metal industry, electrical industry, wood-processing industry, construction industry, commercial and office work, service industries, tourism. Within the autonomy of individual schools, new specialist areas (such as mechatronics, health and social care) may also be offered.
In the compulsory general subjects (such as vocational orientation and life studies, political education and business studies, German, a modern foreign language, Mathematics, Natural History and Ecology, Health Studies, Movement and Sport), a more in-depth general education is offered.
During the 32 hours of teaching provided each week, pupils acquire basic vocational knowledge and skills that will prepare them in the most effective possible way for the transition into an apprenticeship and for progression in to subsequent forms of education. Individual schools have the freedom to adjust the number of lessons devoted to the elective and compulsory subjects each week, in response to the interests of the pupils.
The PVS operates either as a school in its own right or one that, from an organisational perspective, forms part of a compulsory general school.
Upon successful completion of their education at the PVS, pupils acquire the right to transfer to the second year of a School for Intermediate Vocational Education (BMS) in the same specialist area (with at least 15 hours per week in the same specialist area) or the right to enter the first year of an Upper Level Technical or Vocational School (BHS), without taking an entry test.
Since 2012, pupils with special educational needs have had the opportunity to complete their education by attending an integrated class at a PVS or a one-year Home Economics School, in order to complete their compulsory education. In the integrated classes at the PVS, the young people will follow the curriculum of the Pre-Vocational Year, either wholly or in part. The intention is to enable young people to develop their personal outlook with regard to life and work, to familiarise themselves with what it is like to work in an employment environment, including the perspective of an employee, and to learn how to conduct themselves in that setting.
The next step:
The following opportunities are examples of those available to young people who successfully complete their education at the PVS:
- Once their time at the PVS is over, the young people concerned will generally have completed their 9 years of compulsory education. On leaving the PVS, young people can therefore commence an apprenticeship.
- If they have successfully completed their time at the PVS, young people can either join the second year of a Medium Level Technical or Vocational School (BMS) in the same specialist area, or can join the first year of a College for Higher Vocational Education (BHS), without taking an entry test. They can also join an Academic Secondary School (AHS).
- Pupils with special educational needs can follow a programme of integrated vocational training.