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Applying for recognition of a substitute school

Approved substitute schools require state recognition in order to be largely on an equal footing with the corresponding public schools. This is particularly true with regard to the possibility of awarding school leaving certificates. Recognised substitute schools must comply with the requirements of state law on the admission and transfer of pupils as well as on the conduct of final examinations and the awarding of qualifications. The level of education at the end of each school year must be equivalent to that of the corresponding public school. Final examinations must be chaired by a representative of the school board. In addition, recognised substitute schools are entitled to issue certificates of public validity in compliance with the regulations applicable to public schools.

State recognition is granted to the substitute school at the request of the school authority. It covers the type of school and the subject for which it has been pronounced.

Process flow

As part of the processing of the application, an on-site examination including class visits usually also takes place. As part of this part of the examination, if necessary, also inspected the pupils' files as well as the school's own work plans, class registers, concepts for performance measurement, documentation of performance evaluation, class tests, etc. The staff files of the teachers can also be viewed.

If, after completion of the examination, all requirements are met, the school authority will grant state recognition to the substitute school concerned.

If you have any questions about the content and course of the recognition procedure, you can contact the responsible Regional State Office for School and Education.

Competent authority

Please contact the state office responsible for you. You can find the corresponding place at the bottom of this page.


In order to be granted state recognition, the substitute school must guarantee that it will permanently meet the requirements that are imposed on similar or equivalent public schools in terms of school law and pedagogy. These requirements are essentially identical to those applicable to the approval of a substitute school, and the substitute school must comply with those requirements on a permanent basis. This means that the school must have "institutionalized" itself, it must have become a consistent and consistent educational institution in terms of its staffing (school management, teachers), its physical equipment (school facilities and facilities as well as teaching materials) and, last but not least, the results of its teaching activities.  

Which documents are required?

Informal application from the school authority with the following information or documents:

  • Type of school/course of study for which recognition is requested
  • Up-to-date list of pupils (in the case of general education schools, also with reference to any special educational needs that may have been identified)
  • Up-to-date list of teachers for the course of study with at least the following information:
    • Name
    • Start of employment
    • Scientific Qualification
    • Pedagogical Qualification
    • Teaching assignment in the subjects/learning fields/modules
    • Working hours agreed in the employment contract
  • Perception of the school management
  • Declaration that work will continue according to the approved pedagogical concept. If this is deviated from, → submission of the latest version.
  • Current school fee regulations (if relevant for the course of study)

Note: If necessary, further documents can be requested from the RLSB (e.g. in the case of changes in teacher deployment that have not yet been reported).

What are the fees?

Fee: 300,00 - 2000,00 EUR
Payment in advance: No
The amount of the fee depends on the actual administrative burden. The fee framework is set out in accordance with No. 77.1.3 of the Appendix to the Ordinance on Fees and Expenses for Official Acts and Services (General Schedule of Fees -AllGO-) between EUR 300.00 and EUR 2,000.00.

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

Since pupils have a great interest in receiving a final certificate from a recognised substitute school, the required application for state recognition should be submitted in good time before the examination date.

It is recommended to submit the application at the beginning of the third year of operation of the school or at the beginning of the final year of the respective type of school.

Processing duration

The processing time depends on the quality and completeness of the application as well as the cooperation of the school authority in any necessary inquiries or additional demands.

Legal basis

Section 148 of the Lower Saxony School Act (NSchG) – Recognised alternative schools

Applications / forms

Forms available: No

Written form required: Yes

Informal application possible: Yes

Personal appearance required: No


In the event of a refusal, administrative recourse is available.

The rejection is accompanied by specific instructions on legal remedies, from which the time limit for filing an action and the competent administrative court are apparent.

What else should I know?

If a substitute school is eligible for state recognition, this is a key prerequisite for the granting of funds from the state's financial aid.

Recognition must be withdrawn if:

  • the conditions for recognition were not met at the time it was granted or were subsequently eliminated and the deficiency was not remedied within a certain period of time despite the request of the school authority,
  • the school repeatedly fails to comply with the obligations to comply with the provisions applicable to public schools when admitting and transferring pupils and holding examinations.

Technically approved by

Lower Saxon Ministry of Culture

Professionally released on



The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

Source: Serviceportal Niedersachsen (Portalverbund des Bundes und der Länder)