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Top Class: Students say willkommen to German teenagers; Girls get to compare education in England.

FIVE German teenagers have taken a break from their sixth form studies in Stuttgart to see how English schools compare.

The girls, aged 16 and 17, from St Agnes' School in Stuttgart, have joined Central Newcastle High School to test out our region's education system for a month.

Each girl will be studying four Alevel courses at the Jesmond school instead of the normal 14 subjects they study in Germany.

Behind the scheme is Lars Fox, head of Central High's German department.

"We decided to offer the opportunity to a number of pupils in Germany as part of our plans to increase international links with other schools," he said.

"Central High is a Centre of Excellence and we are delighted that our reputation extends to Europe and we have been able to fill all our available places.

"Attending a school in a different country is a fantastic experience for any sixth former.

"The lessons will be in English so all five girls are hoping to improve their English speaking skills as well as to learn more about English culture and school life.

"There is much to learn from studying the education offered in another country from both a teacher's point of view and from the experience gained by the girls."

One of the lucky students taking up the opportunity is Laura Muller, 17, from Ostfilden, just outside Stuttgart.

She said: "It is my first time in England and it is a dream to be here.

"In Germany I study for the Abitur qualification which will give me the opportunity to go to university.

I have to take a lot of different subjects and the big advantage is that I don't need to start thinking about my career options too soon."

Likened to the USA Higher Diploma or the International Baccalaureate, the Abitur requires students to study a broad range of courses over a two-year period.

Laura added: "The disadvantage is that I have to study some courses I am not as interested in.

"I am really excited about studying just four of my favourite subjects while I am at Central High and I have chosen PE, geography, history and graphics as A-levels.

"Even though I have only just arrived, it feels very different to how I imagined it to be. The classes are much smaller than in my school and there is a lot more discussion in the lessons.

"The IT equipment is also much more modern and the relationship between teachers and the students is different; more relaxed but with high expectations."

Fellow student Eva Mezger, from Stuttgart, has chosen to follow a dance A-level as one of her options.

She said: "I go to dance school and my mother is a dance teacher, but there is no opportunity for me to study dance as part of my Abitur.

"This is very different to my studies in Germany."

CAPTION(S):

TEST: A group of German students have swapped Stuttgart for Tyneside to try A-level courses at Central Newcastle High School
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 23, 2008
Words:501
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