All German primary schools to offer full-time care from 2025
It’s already the norm in some federal states, but relatively soon the offer will be expanded to cover the whole country: children will be entitled to full-time care in German primary schools from 2025, according to a new draft law.
Full-time care in all German primary schools from 2025
Children who enter the German school system from the school year 2025 / 26 should have a legal right to full-time care for the duration of their first four school years. This measure is contained in a draft for a new “full-time funding law”, put together by the Federal Ministry of Families and the Federal Ministry of Education.
The new law stipulates that primary school children in Germany should be entitled to at least eight hours of care - including school instruction - on weekdays, “up to the beginning of the fifth grade”.
Full-time care should also be made available during the school holidays, with a maximum of four weeks of closing time permitted throughout the year, to provide extra support to parents who are working.
Disputes over cost sharing between government and states
The CDU / CSU and SPD government agreed to create a legal requirement to full-time care for primary school students in their coalition agreement back in 2017. However, because of the immense costs involved - estimated to be in the billions of euros - the project’s implementation is still being disputed.
Full-time care is already offered in the eastern (new) federal states, in Hamburg, and in Berlin, either via full-time schooling or a mixture of school and after-school care. In other states, however, a lot of money needs to be invested to increase the number of childcare places available.
For instance, the change would necessitate the hiring of more than 33.000 additional teachers at primary schools, according to one study by the Institute for Employment Research in Nuremberg. The federal states are therefore demanding more money and support from the federal government, on top of the 3,5 billion euros already promised.
With so many details concerning cost sharing still up in the air, time is running out for the law to be passed before the general election in September - which could bring the end of the ruling coalition’s time in government. After being approved by the cabinet, the law would still need to be passed by the Bundestag and the Bundesrat, where it faces potential opposition due to the dispute over funding.
“We very much hope that we will come to an agreement with the federal states about the financing by the end of the election period,” the Federal Education Minister, Anja Karliczek, said last week.