Press Release

German School Award 2023 for secondary school in Bavaria

  • In Berlin, the Robert Bosch Stiftung and Heidehof Stiftung award Germany’s most prestigious annual prize for schools.
  • German President Steinmeier presents the top prize to the Eichendorffschule in Erlangen.
  • Jury praises: The "Eichendorffschule succeeds in doing away with students' fear of making mistakes and makes learning fun again."   

Berlin, October 12, 2023 - The Eichendorffschule in Erlangen, Bavaria, has won the German School Award 2023, which is endowed with 100,000 euros. The main prize was presented today by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the Tempodrom in Berlin. Five other prizes worth 30,000 euros will go to the Rothenburg Primary School in Berlin, ITECH Vocational School in Hamburg, Grundschule am Dichterviertel in Mülheim an der Ruhr in North Rhine-Westphalia, Nelson Mandela Comprehensive School in Bergisch Gladbach in North Rhine-Westphalia, and Op de Host Primary School in Horst in Schleswig-Holstein. The other nine finalists will receive a recognition prize of 5,000 euros each. With this renowned annual competition, the Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH and Heidehof Stiftung GmbH honor Germany’s best schools. Cooperation partners are ARD and ZEIT publishing group.

A German “middle school” makes a stand for greater equality in education

The Eichendorffschule in Erlangen is a German “middle school” which prepares young people to enter Germany’s vocational training and apprenticeship system after 10th grade. It is equivalent in Bavaria to the Hauptschule, a common type of secondary school across Germany. Almost 400 students between the ages of 11 and 17 go to school here – more than two-thirds with a migration background. "The Eichendorff School succeeds in doing away with students’ fear of making mistakes and makes learning fun again for students who often only know the feeling of failure from elementary school," says Prof. Dr. Thorsten Bohl, spokesman for the jury of the German School Award and director of the Tübingen School of Education. To achieve this, the school relies, among other things, on self-organized and independent learning. For example, the "Mathematics Room," a digitally supported learning environment in which children in the fifth and sixth grades learn independently, enables many to understand mathematics for the first time. Starting in seventh grade, the pupils work in so-called learning offices, where they access individual assignments independently using digital technology.

"In recent years, the Eichendorff School has established a full-day program with a wide range of artistic, cultural, ecological and technical offerings – an exception in Bavaria," says Bohl, an education researcher. At the same time, the school has restructured its daily schedule, adjusted the timetable and focused on subject-specific and interdisciplinary offerings. With its pedagogical concept, the school offers a stimulating learning environment that opens up new perspectives for disadvantaged children and young people in particular, Bohl says.

Detailed background information on the Eichendorff School in Erlangen, the five other award winners and all nominated schools can be found in the publication on the German School Award 2023. The jury reports vividly on their observations and explains what others can learn from these 15 schools. 

The German School Award 2023 brochure with methods section is available for download (in German).

Winners of the German School Award provide impetus for a sustainable school system

"The more than 100 award-winning schools of the German School Award inspire hope," says Dr. Bernhard Straub, Chief Executive Officer of the Robert Bosch Stiftung. "They are a laboratory of ideas and a source of inspiration for making a school system that is fit for the future. It is true that courage, drive, and creativity alone cannot solve the structural challenges facing our education system. But they are an incentive, if not an obligation, for a joint effort by all those involved in politics, public administration, research, practice, and civil society.”

Since 2006, the Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH and the Heidehof Stiftung have awarded the German School Award. It is the most prestigious, most demanding and most highly endowed award for good schools in Germany. Cooperation partners are ARD and the ZEIT publishing group.

The competition focuses on the quality of teaching and the question of how schools can best shape teaching and learning for their students. All finalists have undergone a rigorous application process over the past few months. The jury experts initially selected 20 schools from 85 applications. Teams of juries visited and evaluated these schools in May and June, nominating 15 for the final round of the German School Award 2023.

Since the program began, around 2,500 schools have applied for the award. In selecting the winners, the jury evaluates six quality areas: teaching quality, performance, dealing with diversity, responsibility, school climate, school life and external partners, and school as a learning institution. These characteristics are now generally recognized as hallmarks of good-quality schools.

The concepts of the award-winning schools are then evaluated, prepared and circulated among all schools via training courses, publications and online via the German School Portal. This helps broadly reinforce and advance good school practices.

The award ceremony with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and other guests, including musician LEA, ARD Chairman Kai Gniffke and ZEIT Publishing Group Managing Director Rainer Esser, will be livestreamed at and in the ARD media library.

The German School Award 2024: Apply now

All general and vocational schools in Germany as well as all German schools abroad can apply for the German School Award 2024 until February 1, 2024. More information at

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