Heinrich-Nordhoff-Gesamtschule is a comprehensive school. Comprehensive schools in Germany replace the traditional tripartite school system of Hauptschule (technical school), Realschule (secondary modern school), and Gymnasium (grammar school). Like most comprehensive schools HNG has a Sekundarstufe II (years 11 – 13). With different school careers united under one roof, all the certificates of traditional German education are available.
HNG is an acknowledged UNESCO-project-school.
The school was founded in 1971 and is situated in the south-east of the municipal area of Wolfsburg. The catchnet area comprises the city itself and the surrounding countryside. At the moment (September 2008) 1.191 students attend HNG, taught by 91 teachers.
Each of the forms 5 – 10 consists of six classes. In case the number of applicants exceeds the school capacity a draw is made in which is taken into account that high and low performing students are taken on in a fixed ratio. Students taken on in form 5 attend HNG without change of school up to form 10. Required achievements provided, they may go into forms 11 – 13.
HNG is administered cooperatively by the head mistress (Schulleiterin), her deputy (stellvertretender Schulleiter), the head of teaching methods (Didaktischer Leiter), and the two heads of the forms 5 – 10 and 11 – 13 (Stufenleiter). Each form has
a head of department (Jahrgangsleiter). Classes are looked after by two class teachers.
HNG is an all-day school. Lessons start at 7.55 a.m. and end at 3.50 p.m. There are no lessons on Saturdays. From 7.30 onwards students have the possibility of getting small snacks and drinks and from 12 to 2 lunch can be taken at the Mensa. During lunch breaks students can take part in leisure activities (e.g. playstation, table-tennis, cafeteria, internet cafe). Furthermore there are working-groups in one afternoon (e.g. circus, football, computer, model building). Social workers and teachers are in charge of these activities. At the school library you can borrow books and find silence for reading, studying and for lessons.
Students of all talents are taught together in forms 5 – 10, with the exception of students with need for special support. After their change-over from primary school students can stay at HNG till form 13. A change of school – like in the orientation stage – is avoided. It is possible for class teachers and other teachers to teach students throughout from 5 – 10 and thus develop personal relationships.
The decision on school careers and certificates can be made as late as in forms 9 and 10. An early fixing as well as a change of school are to be avoided in case the achievements don’t satisfy any more. The motivation for learning is to be preserved for as many students and as long as possible. Social learning is an essential educational goal.
All the qualifications of the traditional school system can be obtained at a comprehensive school:
There are no special comprehensive school certificates.
Students of forms 5–10 have their own classrooms. These classrooms are united in building units and complexes, which is to meet the student’s wish for spatial and social orientation. Two thirds of compulsory lessons in grouped subjects (German, Maths, English) are taught in this area. Exceptions are P.E., D.S., woodwork, natural sciences, music and art.