Mainz (dpa / lrs) – If children without basic skills come to the first class and parents cannot speak German, teachers have to develop new concepts. “We have children with extremely low memory”, says the head of the Goethe elementary school in Mainz, Gabriele Erlenwein. And at home they received little or no domestic support. Rhineland-Palatinate has now started a new school development program for schools such as the Goethe Elementary School: in two rounds, 26 schools are supported with additional training, advice and networking.

“We want us to find new answers to new challenges,” said Education Minister Stefanie Hubig (SPD) on Friday in Mainz. The program “S high four: Strengthen school, strong school!” The Ministry developed together with the Wübben Foundation in Düsseldorf, the State Pedagogical Institute and the Supervisory and Service Directorate (ADD).

“School has changed,” said Hubig. “Teachers face challenges every day that are getting bigger rather than smaller.” In comparative studies, Rhineland-Palatinate is the country in which social background is the least decisive factor for educational success. “We want it to stay that way.”

In an analysis of data from school statistics, 46 schools were selected that the ministry believes face particular challenges. The proportion of students with a migration background was also taken into account. 26 schools were selected for the first round – 15 elementary schools in Mainz, Ludwigshafen, Kaiserslautern, Koblenz and Worms, nine secondary schools plus and two integrated comprehensive schools. There are still six places left for the second round, which starts on February 1, 2021.

The schools participating in “S hoch four” will receive additional training measures, individual advice to the headmasters and a separate budget of an average of 10,000 euros per year for three years. This can be used to purchase additional teaching material or to finance cooperation with partners. In nine academies over three years, the participants are to be given a “protected space for personal development, for readjusting, securing and refueling”.

The ministry supports the program with four million euros. “We also want to find out what measures work well and then make them available to other schools,” said Hubig. The program is based on a concept of the Wübben Foundation based in Düsseldorf, which has already been implemented in North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein.

The Rhineland-Palatinate Education and Science Union (GEW) welcomed the program. School administrators from highly stressed schools in difficult situations received important and meaningful support. The state chairman, Klaus-Peter Hammer, spoke in favor of extending the program to significantly more schools after the pilot phase. The GEW also advocates an increased allocation of teachers, more time for concept development in the team and the use of multi-professional teams, for example in connection with an increased use of school nurses and school social workers.

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