Welcome at our school

A short survey

The Ökumenisches Domgymnasium (Ecumenical Cathedral School) is a grammar school with strong Christian roots. The origins go back to the 10th century when a Saxon king, who was to become the first Holy Roman and German emperor Otto the Great, founded a Benedictine monastery and a convent school in Magdeburg. This school developed into the famous Cathedral school of the Archdiocese of Magdeburg. Important people like Adalbert of Prague studied here, who under the name of sw. Wojciech is venerated as a national saint in Poland. More than 1000 years later, in 1991, the school was reopened after the Communist regime in Eastern Germany had it closed down in the early 1950s.

Responsible citizens took the initiative to re-found the school in 1990. It is not run by an influential or powerful institution but by the Kuratorium (board of governors) which consists of some 20 men and women from different occupational and church backgrounds. This council is financially supported by a growing association calling themselves “Friends of the school” (Förderverein).

Founded in the wake of Germany’s reunification after the end of the Communist eastern state, the Ecumenical Cathedral School has been based on the Christian perspective of both the world and mankind. The late Bishop of Magdeburg, Dr. Werner Krusche, who was deeply involved in establishing this new school, expressed a central point when he said that it was supposed to be a place of thorough learning. He wanted the new school to be a place where pupils should be able to study without fear, at the same time accepting their own responsibility for a learning process which aimed at practical usefulness. Bishop Krusche expected its future teachers to support the pupils in every respect, especially by helping them to critically develop lasting values as well as reliable concepts for their future lives.

Amidst a post-Communist society, the Ecumenical Cathedral School has met the challenge to become a place of both intellectual and spiritual revitalization. The school has definitely helped a considerable number of young people to overcome their understandable insecurities after the fundamental changes in society by confidently realizing its responsibility for both learning and manners, providing them with a sound intellectual basis of knowledge and opening spiritual horizons.

This school is a place where pupils and teachers work together as partners in the best sense of the word, showing mutual respect for their respective individuality. Following the idea of true ecumenism, the whole educational environment constantly strives for creating a communicative and tolerant academic community. 

The overall climate at the Ecumenical Cathedral School reflects the possibility to really talk to one another, to learn together, to respect others and to be respected. Parents who enrolled their children in the past have always emphasized the aforementioned points. Study groups and activities, ranging from music to sciences and sports enrich school life. Pupils from different levels and teachers assemble in these study groups to organize learning around concrete project ideas. Actively participating in national church gatherings (Evangelischer Kirchentag and Katholikentag) has become a tradition supported by large numbers of teachers, pupils and parents.

“Religious Studies” as a mandatory subject at all levels serves the aim to form critical, creative and responsible young people. In accordance with the official curriculum supervised by the school authorities, Protestant and Catholic pupils as well as non-Christians are taught together by Protestant and Catholic teachers. They want to acquaint the young people with religious beliefs and traditions past and present, help them develop an unbiased view and find their own standpoint.

Sound knowledge together with personal experience can further mutual understanding. A very successful exchange programme with groups from a school in Israel was run for several years until change of personnel and restrictions there unfortunately stopped it. The cooperation with our partners from King’s School Worcester (England), helping to maintain a war cemetery in Holland, is organized together with the German Volksbund Deutscher Kriegsgräberfürsorge. In 2010 the Ecumenical Cathedral School joined the network of schools vowing to be “Schule ohne Rassismus – Schule mit Courage” (school without racism – school with courage), not only to follow this maxim inside the school, but also in order to encourage the pupils to act on behalf of others.

Since 2001 the Ecumenical Cathedral School has been involved in and led several Comenius projects linking schools from different European countries – so far from England, France, Holland, Spain, Sweden, Poland and the Czech Republic. There are or have also been contacts to Switzerland and Italy, and school trips regularly take pupils to London, Rome, Moscow and Spain. In 2006 the school was awarded the title “Europaschule”, thus becoming part of a network of schools trying to promote the ideas of European unity.

In this context it should be mentioned that pupils at our school are obliged to learn three foreign languages – one more than at state schools. Moreover they enjoy a higher number of language lessons. Pupils start in Year 5 with either English or Latin as their first foreign language in secondary education. The Latin class have additional English for two years before doing it more thoroughly from Year 7 on, when the others choose between Latin and French. After another two years the third new language can be Spanish, Russian or French.

Music and arts are another field taught with more lessons. In addition, there are a voluntary band and choirs in which pupils play their instruments or sing together. School concerts which result from this work are always real highlights.

In 10th form pupils choose a social institution of some kind to work there for three weeks. This social work experience is meant to develop the pupils’ general responsibility, it provides a challenge away from school routine and furthers their understanding of social problems many of them are rarely confronted with otherwise.

All in all, the Ecumenical Cathedral School tries to provide a sound academic education as well as the basis for a lively community in which children and teenagers can look for a deeper meaning of life.
Living up to its own standards the school is of course open to children from other countries and cultural backgrounds. They enrich everyday learning by sharing their often unique traditions and concepts with the mostly German pupils’ body. Disabled pupils are integrated easily into the community as well, even easier since, in 2000, the school moved back to the impressive, newly renovated 19th century school building near the Cathedral, which provides access to all floors by means of elevators.

As an independent but officially recognized school outside the normal school system it is financially supported by the state to a large extent. To finance the school completely though, parents have to pay a comparably moderate tuition fee of 110 € per month for every child -  with possible reductions if a family has more than one child at the school. The financial background of the children must not decide whether they may be enrolled. Parents can apply for scholarships paid for by the “Friends of the school” if they cannot afford the fee.

Some 850 pupils (Years 5-12) attend the Ecumenical Cathedral School. Our staff consists of over 70 teachers and usually several trainee teachers. All degrees are equal to those of state schools and open up the same opportunities when it comes to training for an occupation or studying at a university.
In 2011 the Ecumenical Cathedral School celebrated its 20th  anniversary – and in 2012, the new Cathedral Primary School (Evangelische Domgrundschule) was started. The first
of the pupils from there already joined the grammar school in 2016 - the year
the Ecumenical Cathedral School celebrated its 25th anniversary.

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Europaschule

In 2006 the school was awarded the title “Europaschule”, thus becoming part of a network of schools trying to promote the ideas of European unity.

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School without racism – School with courage

In 2010 the Ecumenical Cathedral School joined the network of schools vowing to be “Schule ohne Rassismus – Schule mit Courage” (school without racism – school with courage), not only to follow this maxim inside the school, but also in order to encourage the pupils to act on behalf of others.

Contact

Bild: Contact

Helga Fiek

E-Mail: h.fiek [at] domschulen-magdeburg.de

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