International Secondary School / Gymnasium bilingual+

The secondary program at COLOGNE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL – Internationale Friedensschule Köln – uniquely offers two parallel learning paths from grade 5 through to the IB Diploma or the Abitur. In addition to providing an ideal teacher-student ratio with small working groups, differentiated learning and individual coaching, we also value continuous, transparent feedback, excellent language and communication skills and cooperative learning in our lower, middle and upper school sections.

The academic programs of each school – the International Secondary School and the Gymnasium bilingual + – are different, as in accordance with their specific curriculum requirements. However, the overarching values and objectives of our whole school concept equally shine through in both learning pathways – instilling in our students a love of learning and guiding them to achieve their personal best, while optimally preparing them for success in the global world of tomorrow.

secondary HOUSE 3

Both learning paths provide an excellent secondary school education, supporting the growth of children into mature, well-rounded and internationally-minded young adults. Equipped with the Abitur or the IB Diploma – internationally recognized qualifications, granting students access to top universities and dynamic careers in Germany and worldwide – our young graduates are empowered to rise to the challenges and opportunities that lay before them.

International Secondary School

Grades 5-8

Lower Secondary School

Grades 5-8



In Grade 5 students continue the inquiry-based learning of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme. In this interdisciplinary approach, subject content – English, Maths, Science and Humanities – are addressed and discovered through an inquiry into one central theme. There are five central themes in the school year, culminating in the exhibition, where students select a topic of interest to them and generate an interactive presentation around it. This exhibition – presented to fellow students and adults alike – enables the students to utilise the key competencies they have learned across the whole Primary Years Programme, such as research, self-management, and communication skills.



The foundation programme of the Cambridge International Curriculum is a balanced combination of traditional and contemporary subjects and approaches to learning. Teaching is mainly organised by subjects, to ensure that students have specialists to support and challenge them as they grow intellectually. However, we maintain space for cross-curricular teaching as well, enabling students to apply knowledge and skills across a wide range of subjects, building links and connections between the disciplines.

Grades 9-10

Middle Secondary School


Grades 9-10


In Grades 9 and 10 students study for the University of Cambridge’s International General Certificates of Secondary Education (IGCSEs). This is an internationally recognized upper middle school qualification, granting students access to university preparation courses, such as the A levels, IB Diploma, or the Abitur in Germany.

Our IGCSE programme ensures students follow a broad curriculum of subjects and are able to develop their skills in depth in each discipline.

Students generally select 7-10 subjects, in which they will be assessed by an externally marked examination at the end of the programme.

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • German
  • Global Perspectives
  • Physical Education
  • Physics, Biology, Chemistry
  • History, Geography
  • French, Spanish
  • Music, Art
  • Business Studies
  • Self-Managed Learning

Grades 11-12

Upper Secondary School

IB Diploma

Grades 11-12


We value the broad range of subjects offered in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) and believe that this programme provides young people with the knowledge, competencies and understanding required at university and beyond. Most of all, we are committed to developing the values promoted in the IB Learner Profile.

The IBDP consists of three core components and six subject groups

  • Theory of Knowledge ensures that IB learners are thinking critically in all of their subjects
  • Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) helps students maintain a balance between academic study and their extracurricular lives
  • The Extended Essay enables students to develop the research skills required of university students

Students choose one subject from each block.

Block 1 – English
  • English A: Language & Literature (Higher Level or Standard Level) – for students with a native speakers’ level
  • English B (HL) – a foreign language course (CEFR level B2)
  • Self-Taught, School-Supported Language A: Literature (SL)  – the student’s mother tongue
Block 2 – Additional Language
  • German A: Language and Literature (HL or SL) – for students with a native speakers’ level
  • German B (HL or SL) – a foreign language course (CEFR levels B1 – B2)
  • German ab initio (SL) – a beginners’ German course (leading to CEFR level A2)
  • Spanish B (HL or SL) – a foreign language course (CEFR levels B1 – B2)
  • French B (HL or SL) – a foreign language course (CEFR levels B1 – B2)
Block 3 – Individuals and Societies
  • History (HL or SL)
  • Geography (HL or SL)
  • Business Management (HL or SL)
Block 4 – Sciences
  • Biology (HL or SL)
  • Physics (HL or SL)
  • Environmental Systems and Societies (SL only) – a transdisciplinary science/humanities course
Block 5 – Mathematics
  • Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation (HL or SL)
  • Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches (HL or SL)
Block 6 – Arts and Electives
  • Visual Arts (HL or SL)
  • Psychology (HL or SL)
  • Chemistry (HL or SL)
  • Music (HL or SL)

Gymnasium Bilingual +

Grades 5-6

Lower Secondary School

Grades 5-6

"Erprobungsstufe" (5-6)

The academic program at the Gymnasium bilingual + is a seamless continuation from our bilingual primary school curriculum. In a familiar learning environment, our 5th and 6th graders build and expand on their core skills and knowledge, while developing strategies to ensure their individual learning success. The teachers meet the individual needs, skills and talents of their students through differentiated learning.

*We are currently in the transition period between “G8” and “G9”. This means that the 2020/21 7th grade class will reach their Abitur in 9 years, or grade 13, while the 2020/21 8th grade class will graduate after 8 years, or in grade 12.

Grades 7-10

Middle Secondary School

Mittlerer Schulabschluss

Grades 7-10

“MITTELSTUFE” (7-9/10*)

In the “Mittelstufe” (middle secondary years) students develop their skills and knowledge in the core subjects, while they also start exploring new disciplines. They have a choice between Spanish, French or Latin as a second foreign language. Furthermore, grade 8 and 9 students choose classes in the areas of social or natural sciences for their compulsory electives.

Through these individual choices, students create their personal learning program, based on their future study and career aspirations.

*We are currently in the transition period between “G8” and “G9”. This means that the 2020/21 7th grade class will reach their Abitur in 9 years, or grade 13, while the 2020/21 8th grade class will graduate after 8 years, or in grade 12.

Grades 11-13

Upper Secondary School


Grades 11-13

“OBERSTUFE” (10-12/11-13*)

The objective of the “Oberstufe” (upper secondary years) is the Abitur - the highest high school qualification in Germany. The Oberstufe program begins with the yearlong Introductory Phase (Einführungsphase, or EF). Students deepen and expand on their knowledge in familiar subjects, while also adding new disciplines. After the EF, students begin the two-year Qualification Phase (Q1 and Q2), where they start earning points for their Abitur. They select two Higher Level courses (Leistungskursen, or LK) and a number of Standard Level courses (Grundkursen, or GK) from the following subject groups:

Language, Literature and the Arts
  • German
  • The foreign language from the Middle Secondary Program (Spanish, French, Latin)
  • A new foreign language (eg Spanish)
  • Music, Art (or Literature at a later point)
  • History
  • Social Sciences (Politics, Sociology, Economics)
  • Geography
  • Pedagogy
  • Philosophy
Natural Sciences and Math
  • Math
  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • IT

We try to consider as many wishes as possible from our students when choosing the Higher Level courses, and are happy to create smaller classes. 

In this phase, it is increasingly important for students to focus on the subjects they're interested in pursuing beyond high school. However, it is equally important that they keep an open mind and continuously develop their multidisciplinary skills and knowledge. We aim to foster the development of our students into responsible world citizens, well-equipped with core skills and values to positively shape the world of tomorrow.

*We are currently in the transition period between “G8” and “G9”. This means that the 2020/21 7th grade class will reach their Abitur in 9 years, or grade 13, while the 2020/21 8th grade class will graduate after 8 years, or in grade 12.

Individualized Learning

sprachkonzept min 526x250 min

To understand how each young person learns best, we build a comprehensive picture of their strengths, areas for development and preferred learning styles, which our teachers use to individualize learning. 

Throughout our school we utilize a range of learning and teaching styles – individual coaching, technology-integrated learning, group projects and independent study – to suit all types of learners. Because learning is a partnership, we provide families with frequent feedback points throughout the year, as well as conference time between teacher, student and parent.

Empowering Education

Empowering Education 526x250 min min

A strong academic education is important, but knowing how to put it to good use is vital. We believe the best way to empower youth and young adults is by providing them with key skills for lifelong learning beyond the IB Diploma or Abitur: self-management, initiative, and ownership.

Coaching, counseling and career guidance in the upper years of the secondary school further support students as they make important decisions about their future ambitions. The positive feedback we receive from alumni about their university and professional lives confirms that we’re on the right path.

Values and Responsibilities

Secondary School

Following the ethos of the IB, we teach young people to look at the world around them and consider how they can become positive, active contributors to society.

Throughout our secondary school, we focus on fostering shared values, such as communication, open-mindedness, reflection, and thoughtfulness. Our objective is to instill in our students a sense of responsibility to our community and to the greater world around them. While no one knows exactly what the future will bring, we can be confident that our students and alumni, as caring and mature global citizens, will be working hard to shape and brighten our common future.

Holistic Approach

Holistic Approach 526x250 min

We understand school to be much more than just academics and qualifications – a quality education does not only focus on intellectual growth, but it fosters the development of the whole person. An exciting and enriching array of daily after-school activities, team-building and limit-testing class trips as well as myriad international and social action projects enhance private school life for our students.

Our student council teaches the valuable, practical components of living in a democracy, giving students a voice in the school and an opportunity to bring about change. Additionally, our school counsellor and Personal Social Health Education workshops help our youth and young adults navigate the new and complex challenges that often accompany this stage of their lives.

2021/22 School Semester Calendar

Semester 1

18.08.2021 – 31.01.2022

August 2021
Tuesday, 17.08.2021  "Einschulung" - First Grade Celebration
Wednesday, 18.08.2021 First Day of School
October 2021
Friday, 08.10.2021 Teacher Development Day 1 School Closed
11.-22.10.2021 Autumn Break
November 2021
Monday, 01.11.2021 Public Holiday (All Saints Day)
December 2021 - January 2022
22-22.12.2021 School Closed
24.12.2021 - 07.01.2022 Winter Break
Saturday, 22.01.2022 Open House

Semester 2

01.02. – 24.06.2022

February 2022
Monday, 28.02.2022 Rosenmontag School Closed
March 2022
01.-04.03.2022 School Closed
April 2022
11. - 22.04.2022 Spring Break
Monday, 25.04.2022 Teacher Development Day 2 School Closed
May 2022
Saturday, 07.05.2022 International Day
Thursday, 26.05.2022 Public Holiday (Ascension)
Friday, 27.05.2022 Teacher Development Day 3 School Closed
June 2022
Monday, 06.06.2022 Public Holiday (Whit Monday)
Tuesday, 07.06.2022 NRW School Holiday School Closed
Thursday, 16.06.2022 Public Holiday (Corpus Christi)
Friday, 24.06.2022 Last Day of School

Do you have any questions?

See what a day at the secondary school looks like

Extracurricular Program at our Secondary School

Our extracurricular program offers a wide range of stimulating, challenging and fun activities for all of our students, from sports and music, to academic support and study time. We also strive to keep our gifted students challenged, by providing them with additional learning opportunities, such as debating competitions and the Maths Olympiad.

15:30 – 17:00

Monday, Wednesday and Thursday

14:45 – 16:15

Tuesday and Friday




IBDP/Abitur passing rate %


Learning in a welcoming, supportive environment


  • Learning about music in everyday life and pop culture
    From electronic to rock to usage in advertisements and computer games
  • Student-led projects and compositions
    A core element of our music curriculum is giving youth the framework to create and use music that’s interesting to them, from rap and musicals to advertisements and short films
  • Giving students a voice
    Through developing their vocal and instrumental skills, we help students use their creativity in a targeted manner to realize their ideas


  • State-of-the-art sports hall 
    Fully-equipped, including a climbing wall
  • Four hours of physical education per week  
    More than the state requirements for each year
  • Wide range of sports activities 
    Attractive team and individual sports in our extracurricular afternoon program


  • Student exhibitions
    Student exhibitions pay tribute to the success of all our aspiring artists throughout their school career
  • Museum visits
    We visit museums and exhibitions to experience art as a universal form of human expression
  • Aesthetic judgment
    With increasing artistic experience, our students learn to critically assess a wide variety of works and art forms

Experience a day at our secondary school

We are happy to invite any prospective student to a trial day, when they can visit lessons and meet some of our teachers and students. The trial day, which ends with a personal meeting with School Leadership, allows your child to get a real feeling for our school community.

Take a School Tour

360virtualcampus sm
More than 150,000 students worldwide take the IB Diploma, achieving an average score of 30 out of 45 points (as per the IB Diploma Programme Statistical Bulletin). We are extremely proud of our growing cohort of IBDP students at our International Secondary School and their exceptional results over the past five years – with an average pass rate of 90% – given our inclusive policy:
Year Number of Diploma Candidates Average Diploma Score Highest Diploma Score
2019 17 30 39
2020 27 34 40

Our academic successes in the Gymnasium bilingual + over the past five years, with an average Abitur pass rate of 93%, highlight the effectiveness of our pedagogical approach in the secondary school:

Year Number of Candidates Highest Score Average Score
2019 24 1,0 1,9
2020 16 1,3 2,5

University Destinations

University of Guelph (Real Estate Management)

Duales Studium (Bayer)
Hasso Plattner Institute
Technische Universität München
RWTH Aachen University (Business Administration and Engineering, Computer Science)
University of Cologne (Business Administration, Fine Arts, Medicine, Spanish)

University of Oulu (International Teacher Training)

International Business School, Budapest (Hotel Management)

Maastricht University (Business Engineering)
Tilburg University (International Sociology)
TU Delft (Aerospace Engineering)
University of Groningen (Psychology)

King’s College London (History, Liberal Arts)
Richmond University (International Relations)
School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
University College London (Biomedical Science)
University of East Anglia (Creative Writing)
University of Greenwich (Psychology)
University of London (International Relations)
University of Northampton (Business Psychology)
University of Southampton (International Relations)
University of West London (Creative Writing, TV Production)
University of Westminster (Architecture)

Michigan State (Engineering, Liberal Arts)
New York University (Biology)
Toledo University, Ohio (Biomedical Science with a scholarship)
University of Colorado Boulder

Our Language Certificates

delf logopng
dele cervantes 1024x710 2


International Secondary Leadership

Shaun Roberts

Gymnasium bilingual + Leadership

Dr. Rosmarie Fabian

Admissions Team

Julia Laufhütte & Petra Tenzer