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Cologne International School

About Us

Cologne International School - Internationale Friedensschule Köln (CIS-IFK) provides a path either to an International Baccalaureate Diploma or a German Abitur. We are committed to an international education within the local community, individualised support in small learning groups and the development of German and English language skills to a native speaker level with French and Spanish as additional language courses. State-of-the-art facilities and resources help deliver the academic excellence and high standards of ‘soft skills' that will be crucial in tomorrow's world.

It is very hard to predict what the world will look like when today's 1st graders are leaving school. Developments in technology and communication together with the way communities, cultures and countries have become much more interconnected have changed the way we need to view education. To move away from preparing students for the world of our childhood and to prepare them for the new challenges which lay before them. Where lifelong learning will be indispensable and the opportunities and challenges will be global.

Three Schools on one Campus

We uniquely operate three schools on our CIS-IFK campus. A bilingual English/German primary school and a choice of two secondary schools - our international secondary school and our German grammar school, the Gymnasium. At the end of primary, a student has the choice of which secondary school they would like to enter, following either the German state qualification (The Abitur) or the international qualification (The International Baccalaureate Diploma) for graduates. Our two secondary schools share many activities, for example music, languages, trips and exchanges. This enables our students to communicate freely in two or three languages, making multilingual communication second nature to them all.

Experience Different Cultures: Think Global and Local

Students living and learning at CIS-IFK have a blended experience. In addition to the richness of an international environment they are also within with a local community. This brings a range of benefits including language development, cultural literacy and maturity.

We teach students from over forty different countries, so here at CIS-IFK we also want to develop a sense of belonging. Our international community gets involved in our local and national customs and festivals - from St. Martin to Carnival. The international children and families can easily integrate themselves into their new environment and, with their own culture, make our campus global and colourful in return.


We aim to develop fluency to native speaker level in both English and German on our truly multilingual campus. We have both German and English taught in parallel throughout the school, with a strong support programme for students who don't have one or either of these languages when they enrol. Language development is enhanced by our bilingual campus, with students using both languages to interact with each other outside of the classroom, at recess time and during our extra-curricular programme.   Depending on school type and child age we offer a variety of third languages leading to qualifications such as Cambridge Language Certificate and the Spanish DELE. The most popular courses are Spanish, French and Latin, plus a range of mother tongue classes are offered to fully support your child.   The DELE certificates for Spanish and the DELF certificates for French are also on offer, recognized as entry qualifications for study in Spain or France. For Cambridge and the DELE, the IFK / CIS is an officially recognized testing centre, allowing students to sit their exams in a familiar environment.

Holistic Approach

In keeping with the attributes of the IB learner profile, we provide our students with a well-rounded, internationally-minded developmental process that seeks to create young people who are: inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk takers, balanced and reflective.   In addition to doing this through our academic and extra-curricular programmes, we also provide pastoral support. This is achieved through personal, social and health education programmes, homeroom teacher support and counselling.

From Primary School to Secondary School

At the end of elementary school, students can move to our high school or international school, or to another secondary school in Germany, their home country, or anywhere else in the world. For parents we aim to give you all the information you need to make a good, informed decision as to which of our secondary schools would be the best option for your child. We run information events and evenings with the principals, as well as hosting your Grade 4 child in each of our secondary schools for discovery days where they can experience life in both our school sections.


We understand the function of a school as not only an educational establishment in the traditional sense, but an institution which must foster the development of the whole child. While academics certainly – and rightly – play a crucial role at CIS-IFK, we see it as equally important to provide our students with an extensive extracurricular programme. Offers include a wide range of clubs such as orchestra, big band, coding, school sports teams, art, TED Talks, Model United Nations and mother tongue as well as additional foreign language lessons. We also offer students academic support and challenge programmes such as subject clinics and language certificate courses e.g. Cambridge English, Spanish DELE, French DELF.

Residential Trips

We ensure that all of our students from primary to high school have the opportunity to experience trips away from home. Whilst our younger students stay locally in Germany, our secondary school students travel to other European countries to enrich their cultural diversity experiences with on site impressions. Additionally we offer exchanges to locations such as England, Spain or Ghana, community projects, team building and language development programmes.


CIS-IFK students have extensive support to help determine which courses and institutions will best meet their higher education and career needs. We have two dedicated university guidance officers who meet with all of our upper school students and consult with them to ensure they have the best advice available. Additionally, we regularly take students to university and careers fairs as well as hosting a range of these ourselves.

Alumni and Careers

We give our graduates all the support they need when they leave us and move on. They have access to our career guidance programme through and even after they graduate university as well as becoming members of our alumni programme. Through the alumni membership they are part of a growing network of former graduates and employers. We have social media networks and also events in the year when former graduates and members of the business and industry communities get together to mix and socialize, opening doors and providing that extra help.

Boarding House

For parents working in multinational companies, our boarding house offers the solution to the continuity of a child's education. We operate a purpose built boarding house for students who would like to come to, stay in or return to Cologne and finish their education at CIS-IFK if a parent is relocated overseas. It can currently host up to 16 students, from 15 years old upwards, three to four sharing an apartment with a private bathroom. All apartments are fully furnished to high standards, equipped with WLAN and residential adult supervision.

Joining Us

Enrolment at CIS-IFK is possible at any time during the year. Our teachers are used to transition families who are relocating to Germany mid-semester, integrating and supporting them as easily as locally based families.

We offer prospective students the chance to join a Discovery Day, when they can spend a day experiencing life at CIS-IFK or for overseas students a video conference call with one of our principals or teachers as well as contacts with families from the same country or with children in the same year group.

For further information about our school or to book a Discovery Day please just send us an email or give us a call.

Bilingual Primary School
PYP Meets the Curriculum of NRW

In our primary school we teach using the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP), into which we have integrated the curriculum of the state of North-Rhine Westphalia. The PYP is a very widely used inquiry based programme in many international and also local government schools around the world.

In addition to academic development, we emphasise children's thinking, investigating and presenting skills. The students are constantly encouraged to ask questions, to research and to communicate what they already know.  We aim to bring their prior knowledge and experiences into the classroom, building on this throughout the units of inquiry. Our units are transdisciplinary, meaning that students learn to see how the different subjects are related to each other.

Bilingual Classroom Environments - Two Teachers, Two Languages

The primary school uses a bilingual teaching model. Two teachers, one an English speaker, the other a German speaker, working together in the classroom. They team teach all the units of inquiry, working together in a whole class setting or with small differentiated groups to develop proficiency in both languages by the end of Grade 4. The aim is to ensure that all primary students can continue their education in either of our two secondary schools without language being a barrier.

The Child in the Centre – Personal Development and Individual Support

It is important to us that every child can make full use of their potential without being overburdened or under-challenged. For this, we focus on individualisation and differentiated learning within both small group and whole class environments, informed by ongoing student assessment.

A dedicated team provides comprehensive support, tailored to the needs of individual students. English as a second language, German as a second language, mathematics and social skill development are all part of our programme. All support is reviewed three times a year to ensure we are delivering the best we can to every child.

International Secondary School
An English Language, Internationally Focused Programme

CIS-IFK's international school is an inclusive, fully accredited IB World School which blends together with our Gymnasium to create a vibrant global environment with a strong sense of belonging here in Cologne. In this context, our international students rapidly develop both English and German language skills, making them as comfortable in the local community as they are internationally.

Qualifications that Count

The school offers a combination of Cambridge International and International Baccalaureate programmes, designed to provide our students with the best access to higher education and ongoing careers. Our Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) programme is followed in Grades 9 and 10, and is internationally recognized, including here in Germany where it is the equivalent to the Gymnasium qualification for 16 year olds (Mittlerer Schulabschluss).

Grades 11 and 12 study the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP). This high quality course is recognized by universities worldwide, including in Germany. Students have a choice of subjects from six categories: first language, additional language, mathematics, science, humanities and the arts. The course develops a range of skills including research and thesis writing, which is recognized by many universities as excellent preparation for the demands of higher education.


The language of instruction is English. German is also a core subject with qualifications for native and non-native speakers. We also offer Spanish and French throughout the school and in the IBDP, giving international students the chance to study literature from their own language.

Individualized Learning

Through the use of continuous assessment and using a range of strategies, we are able to identify the learning needs of each student in each subject. We then provide them with strategies and support to develop towards their full potential all the way through to the IBDP. We also offer targeted support for students with specific learning difficulties, and provide opportunities that challenge our more able students.

Gymnasium Bilingual+ (Bilingual Grammar School)
German Grammar school  in an intercultural, international environment

We have each child's individual needs in mind: building a solid foundation in lower secondary, with up to 10 additional hours of teaching in the core subjects as well as an enrichment programme for able students. The upper secondary school offers a range of courses for university entrance qualifications plus language certificates necessary for study abroad.

Our Language Concept - Bilingual+

In addition to the usual English lessons, we provide up to 8 hours per week of subjects which are taught in English, much more than requested by the North Rhine Westphalia curriculum for bilingual schools. Our students have the opportunity to take Cambridge language courses which fulfil the entry requirements for English-language study programmes in Germany and overseas. In the upper secondary, students can choose these courses within the Abitur programme rather than as an optional extra.

A Focus on the Needs of the  Students

We provide individualized guidance in small learning groups, focusing on each student, in a supportive learning environment. Teachers are always available through the day to provide help and advice. We have a tutor programme in which a teacher mentors and supports a small group of up to 10 students in both pastoral and academic issues.

Find Out Who You Are and Where You Want To Go

Every student in Grade 7 spends a week on a topic of their own choice, researching independently and preparing a presentation. We operate a personal challenge programme, where students select a project or task, so discovering new abilities and talents, pushing boundaries and overcoming them together with friends from school. Participation in school competitions, such as in science, mathematics, sports or music is actively supported not only in the classroom, but also in the extracurricular programme.


Cologne International School

For more information please refer to our website: www.if-koeln.de. To find out about the admission procedure or to register your child, please contact our Admissions Officer, Beatrice Eickhoff, at beatrice.eickhoff@if-koeln.de or +49 (0)221 / 310 634-219.

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