7 Affordable International Schools In Berlin (City Guide)

One of the many other benefits of moving to Berlin is the choice of excellent and affordable international schools for your children.

The public school system in Germany is held in very high regard. International schools are subject to government standards and provide your child with a top-notch and well-rounded education.

Of the 20 international schools in Berlin, most follow the German curriculum, which ends with the Abitur (general university entrance qualification), but six of them also offer the IB (International Baccalaureate). The language of instruction is either English, or they are bilingual, including German, French and Swedish.

A special feature of the international schools in Berlin is the lack of fixed tuition fees. Instead, tuition is based on gross family income up to a certain maximum amount. The exact cost depends on the school and your child’s grade level and ranges from 0 to 25,000 euros per year.

Here is a list of the 7 best and most affordable international schools in Berlin. 

7 International Schools In Berlin

1. Quentin Blake Europe School

This is a public elementary school with a focus on bilingual education, with integrated bilingual learning groups beginning in first grade. Half of the students and teachers are native speakers of either German or English, with an excellent command of the respective partner language.

Mathematics is taught in German, while subjects, history, science, geography, music and art are taught in English. Beginning in 5th grade, children also receive instruction in French.

Quentin Blake Europe School has a vibrant cultural mix of students and teachers from countries as diverse as Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, Kenya, South Africa, the United States and many others. 

Classes are held in small groups of up to twelve students.  

  • Location: Hüttenweg 40, 14195 Berlin-Dahlem
  • Curriculum: German and International
  • Languages of Instruction: English and German
  • Ages: 6 to 12
  • Tuition fees: none

(Extracurriculars: Mini Marathon, Reading Competitions, Science Fair, Halloween, Carnival, Dodge Ball, and more.)

Read more: Best smoothie bars in Berlin

2. Charles Dickens Primary School Berlin

Charles-Dickens-Grundschule has both an English-German Europe Branch and a regular German branch. The spacious school grounds are located between the Olympic Stadium and the Grunewald forest and are very well connected to the public transportation network. 

All children are required to have at least a passive knowledge of English. The school teaches German- and English-speaking children simultaneously, ideally in a 50/50 ratio. CDS strives to increase both the students’ self-confidence and their tolerance, understanding and acceptance of other cultures.

Subjects taught in English include environmental studies, history/civics, geography, and science, while math, ethics, and religion are taught in German. 

The 450 students at Charles-Dickens-School have access to a well-stocked German-English library, 2 well-equipped computer labs, a student kitchen, a large cafeteria, and a large green playground.

  • Location: Dickensweg 15, 14055 Berlin-Charlottenburg
  • Curriculum: German and International
  • Languages of instruction: English and German
  • Ages: 6 to 12
  • Tuition fees: none

(Extracurriculars: Theatre workshop, computer courses, football, choir, music lessons plus events like X-Mas Bazaar, International Picnic, Appreciation Dinners, etc.)

Read more: Top printing shops in Berlin

3. John F. Kennedy School Berlin

The John F. Kennedy School is a bilingual, bicultural, German-American, tuition-free public school with a competitive, selective admissions process.

It is also a guarantor of the partnership between the United States of America and Germany with its very special, historical significance for Berlin. A primary goal of the John F. Kennedy School is to develop the student’s entire personality, so sports, music, drama, and art play an essential role from the entering class through the Abitur.

The use of new technologies, contemporary curriculum content, and an individualized learning process are crucial. The school’s goal is to prepare students to cope with societal and global changes and to teach them important social skills. 

Of the 1700 students, 55% are German, 40% are American, and 5% are of other nationalities.

  • Location:  Teltower Damm 87-93, 14167 Berlin-Zehlendorf
  • Curriculum: American and German
  • Languages of instruction: English and German
  • Ages: 6 to 18
  • Tuition fees: none

(Extracurriculars: Hort, Late Birds, French, Spanish, Community Service Club, Boy Scouts, gymnastics, handball, lacrosse, cheerleading, rowing, soccer, yoga.)

Read more: English yoga classes in Berlin

4. International Montessorischool (IMS) Berlin

The International Montessori School Berlin is a state-approved, full-day private school in Berlin-Wannsee in the beautiful Landhaus Oppenheim. It is an international and bilingual school with after-school and vacation care with multinational, bilingual students. 

Montessori is an pedagogical approach based on self-directed activities, hands-on learning, and cooperative play. Children make their own creative choices as they learn, while well-trained teachers simply guide the process with engaging, age-appropriate activities.

The teachers, both German- and English-speaking, use the immersion method when they interact with children. Students are also offered a varied program after school and during the vacations. 

IMS strives to provide every child with fair access to our educational system, so fees are based on income. There is a sibling discount as well as a Kinderhaus discount (for children transferring from Montessori Kindergarten to IMS).

  • Location: Zum Heckeshorn 38, 14109 Berlin-Wannsee
  • Curriculum: Montessori, English
  • Languages of instruction: English and German
  • Ages: 5 to 13
  • Tuition fees: income-based

(Extracurriculars: Mini Marathon, Reading Competitions, Science Fair, Halloween, Carnival, Dodge Ball, and more.)

Read more: Second hand clothing stores in Berlin

5. Berlin Bilingual School

Berlin Bilingual School is an independent, private, non-profit, co-ed day school with 420 students. Dedicated and hard-working teachers provide a challenging bilingual curriculum for children from abroad in Berlin.

BBS values and teaches educational and personal development as well as the benefits of bilingual German and English education and cultural diversity. 

Students are prepared for both German and international degrees. In addition to academic progress, students’ own interests, talents and gifts are nurtured so that they can develop into well-rounded individuals. 

The largest nationality at the school is German (about 30%), but there are also students from 70 other nationalities. Graduations are the Mittlerer Schulabschuss at age 16 and the possibility to take a bilingual Abitur.

  • Location: Weinstraße 1, 10249 Berlin-Friedrichshain
  • Curriculum: Berlin State Curriculum, International Primary Curriculum (IPC)
  • Languages of instruction: English (German only for German and maths)
  • Ages: 5 to 18
  • Tuition fees: from €3,000 to €5,130 

(Extracurriculars: Hip Hop, Hockey, Karate or crafts, Social Training, Relationships, Coping with Puberty, Internet and Cyber Responsibility, etc.)

Read more: 17 Best Lakes in Berlin

6. Platanus School Berlin

Platanus School Berlin is a bilingual Primary and Secondary School with a focus on mathematics and science. 

Their Kindergartens in two different locations offer holistic and age-appropriate care and takes the individual capabilities and talents of the children into consideration. Language is taught and practiced using the immersion method. 

The Platanus bilingual primary and secondary school offers optimal learning conditions, where natural curiosity and individual needs are met from Grade 1 all the way through to Grade 10. 

  • Location: Berliner Str. 12, 13187 Berlin-Pankow
  • Curriculum: German
  • Languages of instruction: English and German
  • Ages: 3 to 16
  • Tuition fees: from €1200 to €5,940

(Extracurriculars: Include sports, music, dance, art, languages, media/computers, maths, science, engineering, handiwork, and crafts. From grade 6 upwards, students select and organise their own clubs.)

Read more: Top climbing gyms in Berlin

7. Nelson Mandela School

This is another public, state-funded international school in Berlin that provides quality bilingual education to children from a wide variety of backgrounds (over 60 nationalities). 

It’s a non-selective school which offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma and the BBR, a vocational qualification.

The Nelson Mandela School Berlin is a member of UNESCO’s Associated Schools Project Network and so it strives to make students familiar with the many different aspects of sustainability and cultural diversity. 

The network of partners abroad includes educational institutions in Australia, China, the Czech Republic, France, Haiti, Italy, Mexico, Norway, Poland and South Africa.

  • Location: Pfalzburger Straße 30 10717 Berlin (12-18 yrs) /// Pfalzburger Straße 23 10719 Berlin (6-12 yrs) ///  Babelsberger Str. 24-25 10715 Berlin (6-18 yrs)
  • Curriculum: German, IB, BBR
  • Languages of instruction: English and German
  • Ages:  6 to 18
  • Tuition fees: none

(Extracurriculars: Athletics, swimming, gymnastics, inline skating, basketball, football, handball, volleyball hockey, badminton, tennis, rugby, baseball, softball, judo, fitness.)

5 Things You Should Know About International Schools in Berlin

Bilingual Education

You will hear many languages on Berlin’s streets and in its international schools. Bilingual education is a common feature – classes are usually offered in English, German, or sometimes both. 

International Baccalaureate

The International Baccalaureate curriculum and the German and British curricula are the most common, but you can also find schools teaching curricula from almost every other country in the world.

Percentage of your income

Fees are calculated using a variety of methods; for example, some schools use a percentage of your income or a sliding scale. If you do not wish to disclose or justify your income, some schools offer the option of paying the maximum fixed amount instead.

Multicultural Aspect

Many international schools in Berlin tend to have a higher-than-average proportion of local students. For some, this may somewhat diminish the multicultural aspect of international schooling, but on the other hand, it also makes it easier for international children to integrate into their new city and country.

Easygoing Atmosphere

Because of the emerging nature of the international school scene in Berlin and the higher percentage of local students, many parents find that there is a more welcoming, easygoing atmosphere here than in other cities.

Final Thoughts

Unlike other countries, all public higher education institutions in Germany are free, even the most prestigious universities in the country! 

As for international primary and secondary schools in Berlin, they are only partially funded by the state due to the multilingual, multinational nature of these institutions, but most offer very affordable school fees based on family income. 

If you are an expat with children living in Berlin, you have a whole handful of great and affordable international schools to choose from. Your children will be able to quickly set foot in the bustling, diverse city and feel at home, surrounded by school friends and a supportive atmosphere.