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Frequently Asked

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What do students receive as a leaving certificate or diploma equivalent?

Our curriculum follows the programmes of the International Baccalaureate Organization. Therefore, the great majority (90% or more) of our Grade 12 students graduate from BIS with an IB Diploma. This leaving certificate is highly-regarded as the programme fosters well-rounded, mature graduates who have acclaimed critical thinking skills, are exceptionally prepared for university-level coursework and demonstrate academic persistence. They are more likely to finish their studies and achieve higher grades. Recent BIS graduates are in American Ivy League universities as well as in Europe's most respected universities. 

Alternative to the IB Diploma is the completion of IB Certificates. Students choosing this path have greater flexibility regarding the combination of subject courses and the levels at which they study. IB subject courses contribute towards “Tariff Points” for placement in some UK colleges and universities and may be given equivalency to ‘Advanced Placement (AP)’ courses in USA.

The BIS High School Diploma is the equivalent to high school diplomas awarded in North America and recognized for application to North American universities.
 

Students at the end of Grade 10 would have completed the equivalent of first two years of high school in the US system, the GCSE years in the British system and Mittlere Reife in the German system.  BIS students may present their examination results at the end of Grade 10 to school authorities in Cologne to receive their Mittelere Reife certificate.

My child does not speak English. Is that a problem?

Not at all. English is the language of our school, but many of our students enter school without fluency in English.

Therefore, we are quite familiar with language support issues and draw upon many years of experience in helping students quickly acquire English-language skills. Our English Language Acquisition (EnLA) Programme equips students to a level where they can participate in regular classes as quickly as possible. Further support will then be given in the classroom.

Students who enter BIS will be assessed for their ability to speak English. If necessary, they will then enter the EnLA Programme to support their language needs.

How is German taught?

German is a compulsory language subject and an important element of our curriculum for all students, from Early Learning to Grade 12.

In Early Learning, our German teachers come into the classroom to introduce our youngest students to German or further develop their skills in a playful manner via picture books, song and theatre. Students are divided into two groups according to their knowledge of German and taught during eight periods within a two-week cycle.

In Grades 1 - 4, German mother tongue speakers and those newer to the language are divided into four separate groups according to language ability. Lessons follow the state of North Rhine Westphalia curriculum and are held in special classrooms equipped with a range of German language resources. Students have nine German classes within a two-week schedule.

In Grades 5 - 6, German classes bring students from Primary and Secondary Schools together for instruction. In such a way, we are able to offer four levels of German according to proficiency. This system also gives our Grade 5 students the opportunity to experience the expectations and environment they will transition into in the Secondary School. Students have seven periods of German within a two-week schedule.

Students in Grades 7 - 10 continue with their German studies within a system merging two grade levels (7 and 8 together, 9 and 10 together). This provides for teaching German at four levels, from mother tongue to beginner, within seven periods during a two-week schedule. 

German is offered in Grades 11 - 12 within the course selection. Students may choose to study German as a Language A option (mother tongue level) or Language B option (additional language). Students who study both English and German (or another mother-tongue) at Language A level are eligible to obtain a bilingual IB Diploma.

What languages are offered in additon to English and German?

Our language of instruction is English so that all subjects other than Languages are taught in English. German is taught in all grade levels. Students in Grades 1 – 10 are grouped according to their language proficiency, from beginner through to advanced mother tongue.

French and Spanish are offered as optional foreign language courses in Grade 6 and above. 

Our Mother Tongue Language and Literature Programme in Grades 6 – 10 allows students to study their native language within the regular school day.

  • Other languages such as Japanese, Czech, Dutch, Italian, Chinese, Arabic, Greek and Russian have been offered as parent supported languages.
  • The availability of these language courses depends upon the number of students interested in participating. 
  • Should there be fewer than 6 students in these language courses, an additional fee will be charged to the families.

Diploma Programme students may also choose to study their mother tongue languages as part of their course selection. 

After school languages classes are offered by private instructors and organizations on school campus. These are part of our Extracurricular Activities; their availability varies according to demand. This year, we have Dutch, French and Swedish after school classes. In recent years, we have also had Chinese, Italian and Russian courses within this programme.

Where do students and their families live?

Students must live with their parents/guardians while attending BIS. Most families live in the area starting with the zipcode 531.. (i.e. 53175, 53173). 

Bonn and its surroundings are safe and commutable. Students walk or bike to school, take the public transport, get a car ride, or ride their own scooter.

 

How do you decide which grade level my child should attend?

The following admission requirements and grade placements guide admission:

  • Early Learning 3 students must be 3 years of age before they start and must be toilet trained
  • Early Learning 4 students must be 4 years of age before they start and must be toilet trained
  • Early Learning 5 students must be 5 years of age by 1 September
  • Grade 1 students must be 6 years of age by 1 September
  • Grade 2 through Grade 12 students are placed in a grade compatible with their age (using 1 September as a cut-off date guideline) and on evidence of successful completion of the preceding grade.

Please note that we may ask applicants to take admissions tests in Mathematics, English (as appropriate) and German (as appropriate).

What sports and activities are available after school?

Our Extracurricular Programme offers more than 60 activities and a broad spectrum of sports on our campus every day of the school week. These give students the opportunity to broaden their talents, develop their interests and mix with others outside the classroom. Our competitive sport teams travel to and compete with other international schools in Europe. Our three different seasons of sports, from basketball to marathon, allow students to play several different sports within any school year.

Activities include language lessons, arts, music, drama, dance and non-competitive sports. These are available for all age ranges. Some activities like choir run for the length of the school year, others may run for a season to allow for continual variety.

For students and adults who wish to practice sports all year long, we encourage them to join BISSV, the Bonn International School Sport Verein. Located on our school campus, this club has more than 400 members and is thus able to offer a variety of a range of team sports for all ages. During Carnival, Easter and Summer Breaks, BISSV also hosts children's camps providing child care for working parents and fun, challenging activities for children.

During the normal school year, after school child is available for a fee by KidzKlub, our on-site child care provider. This service may be booked on a regular basis or as needed on a daily basis. KidzKlub is run by child-care professionals and is open until 18:00.

How do I pay school fees?

Invoicing takes place after successful admission.  Payment is to be made either in full, or in quarterly/monthly installments from a German bank account, or in full by a Third Party.