There are two types of private schools in Germany: Alternative schools (Ersatzschule) and Additional schools.

An Alternative School (Ersatzschule) is a school whose curriculum is compatible with the educational system in Germany; school leaving certificates are acknowledged; parents may enrol their children without special permission. Alternative schools receive subsidies from the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia; as a rule they do not charge tuition fees.

An Additional school (Ergänzungsschule) is a school whose curriculum differs in varied ways from the educational system in Germany. Leaving certificates may not be acknowledged for German academic careers. Mainly they are open to children residing only temporarily in Germany and who need either their national or an international type of school education. Parents have to notify the enrolment (in the case of an acknowledged additional school) or apply for a special permission. Additional schools always charge school fees; they operate on these fees.

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