The Expat Guide to International Schools in Berlin

July 12, 2023

Planning a move to Berlin? Great news for your child's education! Berlin has lots of schools where kids can learn from all around the world. This guide will show you some of the best schools and help you with the application process. Let's make your child's school journey in Berlin a smooth and exciting experience!

School Options: International, Bilingual, and German State Schools

In Germany, particularly in Berlin, the difference between international schools and bilingual schools is primarily in their curricular focus, language of instruction, and target student population. Understanding these differences can help you decide which type of school is most suited for your child.

In Berlin, you have three main options...

International Schools in Berlin

These schools follow curricula like the International Baccalaureate (IB), American, or British curriculum, allowing students to access prestigious universities worldwide. While the primary language of instruction is English, German lessons are also included. They uphold global education standards, making them ideal for families who may relocate again or want a consistent education system for their children. It’s important to note that many of these schools have fees and are located in specific areas of Berlin.

Berlin Bilingual Schools

In Berlin, bilingual schools usually incorporate a combination of German and another language (often English) into their curriculum, enabling the integration of local culture into education. These schools are well-suited for families planning a longer stay in Germany, aspiring to have their children become fluent in German and seamlessly integrate into the local culture. They also cater to children with existing proficiency in German or parents seeking a global educational perspective, with the foresight of their children continuing their education or pursuing careers in English-speaking countries.

German State Schools with Welcome Classes

These are public schools that offer Welcome Classes designed for non-native German speakers. Students join these classes after the third grade to receive intensive German lessons, facilitating their integration into both the German education system and culture. Following this initial period, the classes transition to a regular German curriculum as per the German education system. These schools may be interesting for families who want to stay in Germany long term.

Choosing between an international, bilingual or public school in Berlin largely depends on your family’s specific circumstances, your child's language proficiency, and your future plans. International schools are typically better for those seeking a consistent, globally-recognized educational path in English, while bilingual schools are ideal for families looking to integrate more deeply into German culture and language.

In this article we’re focusing on international schools in Berlin, but for a general overview of the German school system check out this short video from DW summarizing the structure of German education.

Expat-friendly Neighborhoods

When you're figuring out where to live, especially if you want to enroll your child in an international or bilingual school, it's a good idea to go through this process before hunting for a flat. Not every district in Berlin has these schools, so it's a crucial consideration. The South-West area, like Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf or Steglitz-Zehlendorf, is where you'll find most of them. These areas are not only family-friendly and green but also offer a cozy vibe. If you're looking for a bit more hustle and bustle, Pankow or Mitte in the northern part of Berlin have vibrant communities, parks and plenty of school options too.

Popular International Schools in Berlin

1. SIS Swiss International School

  • Curriculum: IBDP, German
  • Languages of Instruction: English, German
  • Ages: Kindergarten, Primary School, Secondary School
  • Fees: 947€ - 1.483 € per month, registration fee: 850€, income staggered school fees
  • Website:
  • Key Features: SIS Swiss International School fosters global citizenship in a diverse community. It emphasizes bilingual proficiency in English and German and instills core values such as honesty, respect, and integrity.

2. Berlin Metropolitan School

  • Curriculum: IB, British, German
  • Languages of Instruction: English
  • Ages: Primary School, Secondary School
  • Fees: income staggered school, 210€ - 1.340€ per month
  • Website:
  • Key Features: Located in Berlin's city center, Berlin Metropolitan School is probably the most popular international school Berlin has to offer for British families. Its modern education is focused on values, respect, and open-mindedness, leading to an internationally recognized diploma.

3. Berlin Cosmopolitan School

  • Curriculum: IB, German
  • Languages of Instruction: English, German
  • Ages: Primary School, Secondary School
  • Fees:  income staggered school, 231€ - 1212€ per month, 
  • Website:
  • Key Features: In the heart of Berlin, Berlin Cosmopolitan School excels in sciences, music, and dance, promoting strong academics, multilingualism, and social skills.

4. Quentin Blake Europe School

  • Curriculum: International, German
  • Languages of Instruction: English, German
  • Ages: Primary School
  • Fees: public school, tuition-free
  • Website:
  • Key Features: Quentin Blake Europe School offers a multicultural learning environment, blending local and international education standards, with a focus on multilingual and intercultural understanding.

5. Nelson Mandela School

  • Curriculum: IB, German Abitur
  • Languages of Instruction: English, German
  • Ages: Primary School, Secondary School
  • Fees: public school, tuition-free 
  • Website:
  • Key Features: A UNESCO project school, Nelson Mandela School provides a bilingual education aiming to foster international-mindedness and academic rigor.

6. École Voltaire

  • Curriculum: French
  • Languages of Instruction: French, German
  • Ages: Primary School
  • Fees: 5,100€ per year
  • Website:
  • Key Features: École Voltaire offers an immersive French educational experience, ideal for those seeking a Francophone education in Berlin.

7. John F. Kennedy School Berlin

  • Curriculum: American, German
  • Languages of Instruction: English, German
  • Ages: Primary School, Secondary School
  • Fees: Tuition-free
  • Website:
  • Key Features: This bilingual German-American public school represents a unique educational partnership, focusing on a broad and diverse curriculum.

8. Phorms Bilingual School Berlin

  • Curriculum: German, International
  • Languages of Instruction: English, German
  • Ages: Kindergarten, Primary School, Secondary School
  • Fees: 109€ - 759€, income staggered school
  • Website:
  • Key Features: Located in a historic building, this school offers a bilingual community with a focus on individual talents and a cosmopolitan atmosphere.

9. Berlin Bilingual School

  • Curriculum: German, International
  • Languages of Instruction: English, German
  • Ages: Primary School, Secondary School
  • Fees: 175 € - 513€, income staggered school
  • Website:
  • Key Features: Known for its welcoming community and strong parent-teacher relationships, Berlin Bilingual School offers an affordable education with a focus on non-violent communication and social structures.

10. International Montessori School Berlin

  • Curriculum: Montessori
  • Languages of Instruction: English, German
  • Ages: Primary School
  • Fees: 195€ - 730€, income staggered school
  • Website:
  • Key Features: Emphasizing the Montessori principles, this school offers a nurturing environment for young learners to explore and learn in a bilingual setting.

In Berlin, every school has its own special mix of curriculum, languages, and unique features. It's like they each have their own personality, offering a bunch of choices for us expat families who just want the absolute best for our kids in this new city.

The Application Journey: A Step-by-Step Guide

Each school has it's unique application process, but some of the required documents will be consistent for all international or billingual schools. In order to get your applications started you will usually need to follow the same basic steps.

Research and Choose Schools: Visit school websites for information about curricula, fees, and application dates.

School Visits: Schedule visits to understand each school's environment and ethos.

Document Collection: Typically, you'll need:

The application form, filled and signed.
Recent report cards.
Birth certificate of the child.
Proof of custody (if applicable)​​.
Residency registration
Passports / ID Cards of child and parents

Apply to Multiple Schools: Increase your chances by applying to several schools. Be prepared to join waiting lists.

Interviews and Assessments: Some schools may require interviews or entrance tests, especially for higher grades​​.

Your Berlin Educational Adventure

Choosing the right international school in Berlin is about finding the perfect fit for your child's educational needs and aspirations. With a range of options, from exclusive bilingual environments to schools with a global curriculum, Berlin's educational landscape is rich and diverse. Start early, research thoroughly, and prepare for a fulfilling educational journey in one of Europe's most dynamic cities.

While most private international schools will process applications from your home country you will at some point be required to show a valid residency permit for your family to show that you have the right ot reside in Germany.

For help with your residency permit contact Expats In Wonderland and book an appointment with our German visa package team.

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