Since the first Phorms school was founded in Berlin in 2006, the concept has spread around the country and now over 2,600 students are currently enrolled across six locations.
There are two campuses in the German capital, Berlin Mitte and Berlin Süd, alongside further schools in Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich. Phorms has developed its bilingual educational concept from nursery to secondary school age and students are accepted from the age of one, through reception, primary and up to 12th grade. The school types on offer, however, vary depending on location but a holistic approach to bilingual learning is carried across all campuses.
Private schooling, state curriculum
"Private schooling has become a more popular choice for parents in Germany over the last 10 years," says Silke Brandt, Phorms' marketing manager. "There has been a lot of criticism of the German school system so the simple idea behind Phorms was to create an improved standard of education and bring bilingualism to the fore. In doing so it means children are prepared for today's globalized world without forgetting their roots."
Phorms stands out among peers since its schools follow the German state curriculum as well as offering internationally recognised curricula. Consequently, students leave high school with the German Arbitur, a qualification that is accepted for further education at both German universities and those abroad. It means students are free to continue their studies in Germany or take advantage of their linguistic ability and study further afield.
Highly motivated students can also participate in the Advanced Placement International Diploma which makes direct admission to international universities easier.
The English language is taught by using the immersion method; grammar and textbooks are left aside while the staff use English not only as a teaching language but also as a tool in everyday communication. This enables students to freely and naturally switch between languages during the school day.
The diversity of Phorms students
“We have a real mix of students from all different backgrounds,” Brandt adds. “There are many native German students who are interested in the bilingual aspect as well international students with parents from all over the world, especially in Frankfurt and Berlin.”
Indeed, Phorms is a place of education for all, regardless of cultural and social background, emphasized by income-related parental contribution. “Fees vary depending on federal law but also the parents' income,” Brandt adds.
“Those that earn less, pay less and those that earn more, pay more. In this way everyone can afford the school and the students come from a range of backgrounds.”
As do the teachers, with the schools placing great importance on native language teaching. “Students learn both English and German from nursery so there are always native-speaking teachers for every age group,” Brandt says. Phorms' places tough demands on international teaching recruitment and boasts teachers from the US, Australia, UK, Canada and Australia, for example.
“Parents and students choose Phorms not only because of the bilingual aspect but because it is truly internationally minded,” Brandt says. “It is a protected area for children where they learn to tolerate and understand different cultures.”
Concept beyond language and culture
Phorms education goes beyond the realms of breaking down language barriers. Each individual student is given focus and attention through differentiated learning in order that they achieve their potential.
Support staff work with small groups and an optimum standard of care and learning is maintained by keeping class sizes low. The currently maximum number of students for primary school classes is 22, and 24 at secondary school level.
The schools are equipped with first-class amenities to enable students to excel in all artistic, cultural and scientific fields. Aside from academic work, Phorms offers that little bit more in terms of a broad spectrum of extra-curricular activities, spanning the arts and sports.
In addition, a project-based holiday programme provides full-day care during school holidays with an exciting schedule of excursions and activities to fulfil the needs of both parents and children.
Article sponsored by Phorms