Transition Between Prague Schools
Even when you’ve found a great school for your kids there will inevitably come the time to leave and go to a different stage or a different location so you want to be thinking about this at least a year before the move.
Kindergarden/Materska to Elementary Prague schools will be the most stressful for you especially if the transition is from private to state. Not only will you have to check about available school places you will also have to be officially accepted (the Zapis – really important if it is the first state school). State schools will already have reserved places for kids in the state Materska system so if coming from a private kindergarten you’ll be judged on whether you are in the school catchment area. If your child was born in August or September then most Prague schools encourage you to get the advice of a psychologist to assess their mental and social abilities. Remember that there could be almost a 2 year age difference in the first year at school.
The State Elementary/Primary Prague schools transition is usually straightforward as it often only means that the child will go to a different part of the existing building but there’s nothing stopping you going to another state Primary school so long as you can get accepted.
The Elementary/Grammar Prague schools transition has it’s own stress. Around your child’s 10th birthday you’ll already know how they are doing in the class from the regular reports and general attitude so it’s around this time you’ll consider the Grammar/High-School (Gymnazium) option. 90% of Grammar acceptance is based on an entry test. The tests vary from place to place but as bright as your child is, they will need some preparation for these tests which are usually bought privately. The other 10% is usually covered by the intake policy of the school. In the Prague schools system, the sole purpose of the Grammar/Gymnazium is to prepare your child for university and will offer advanced levels of teaching technical subjects. At the end of the Gymnazium you sit the Matriculacni Exam. It’s tough but if you can pass then it’s your ticket to university.
The Primary/Secondary transition is not usually so stressful in that your child (now 14 or 15) has a firm understanding of what they want to do. They will have decided against a Grammar place and so will begin training for their choice of career for the next 4 years which could be either technical or business at specific Prague schools pertaining to the skill required. These schools are usually prefixed with the word Výsoka (which means High but it’s generally accepted as academic education). Or it may be Stredni which in Czech is a technical vocational qualification and also a gateway to university.
The Grammar/Secondary to College/University transition is again not so easy. Your child (supported adult) is now 19 and is wondering if he/she wants to commit to at least another 2 or 3 years of education. Both Grammar and Secondary (4 years) have an equal chance at University placement but the Grammar educated child will already have been accustomed to the “lecture” teaching methods used. Universities and colleges will be found visiting the Prague schools and holding open-day events for kids aged from 17. 95% of university entries are decided by an entry exam with the other 5% allocated based on Gymnazium or Výsoka outstanding qualification.