BBS Varel – a vocational school

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1. Data

Principal: Mr Ralf Thiele
Vice Principal: Mrs Gitta Virgin

Total number of students~ 1650
Vocational school students (including vocational preparatory class)~ 820
Voluntary students~ 830
Classes~ 103
Teachers (including part-timers)~ 100

2. Berufsbildende Schulen (BBS) Varel

BBS Varel is a vocational school in the district town of Varel in Lower Saxony close to the North Sea. The school has a very long history of successful vocational training and education. It is a certified “European school” engaged in exchange programs with the Netherlands, Finland, Ireland and Austria.
The school cooperates with external partners, such as local businesses, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Industrie- und Handelskammer (IHK)), the Chamber of Trade (Handwerkskammer), different organizations for further education, for the training of young people. This cooperation ensures a high standard of training.
The BBS Varel is also a Teachers’ Training College accepting students on probation from the Oldenburg seminar (an institution which trains teachers for vocational schools after University). It also offers students practical training as a part of their studies to become a teacher at a vocational school.
Our school offers a broad range of qualifications and training under two roofs in modern facilities and laboratories. Our students often have the opportunity to acquire occupational and general qualifications and competencies in an active, practical and project-oriented manner. Teamwork is very important in the present job market. Therefore, motivation to perform and to cooperate in a team are demanded of the students.
The BBS Varel is a vocational school rooted in its area. Specific skills needed by local businesses play a decisive role. To meet the demands of the continuously changing working life students must acquire and improve their social, methodological and technical competences.

3. Vocational Education

As a so-called “Bündelschule” (bundle school), the school comprises a wide range of departments: business studies (Wirtschaft), technical studies (Technik), nutrition (Ernährung), domestic science (Hauswirtschaft), health care (Pflege), social education (Soziales) and agriculture (Agrarwirtschaft). Our teachers are theoretically and / or practically qualified to teach in these fields. They regularly participate in further education and pedagogical training.
The students are classified according to their current academic diplomas and abilities. They can take part in courses on different levels preparing them for their careers: elementary courses, basic training courses or advanced training and education. In addition, general subjects are taught as well so that they have the opportunity to achieve higher qualifications.
In the full-time classes the students attend the school 5 days a week (an exception is the Fachoberschule, grade 11). Those who have started a traineeship are part-time students in the dual system. They are instructed once or twice a week. During the other days they work in their normal occupation. The BBS Varel also cooperates with charitable organizations to train handicapped students.
Full-Time Courses
Full-time courses are offered in business studies, technical studies, social studies. Student placement in the respective courses depends on the previous qualification attained. Additionally, students have the chance to obtain qualifications normally attainable at schools of general education. The students can also pass their “Abitur” (Higher School Certificate) (that is the final exam) which is the general qualification for university entrance.
We offer courses of varying levels and goals and try to take the student’s individual talents and capabilities into account. Students are encouraged and challenged according to their skills:
The Berufseinstiegsschule (vocational preparatory class) is a year in which students gain practical skills (technical and domestic) in preparation for entry into the job market.
The Berufsfachschule, BFS (full-time vocational school) teaches job-oriented basic education in business studies, technical studies and social studies without in-company training. Basic vocational training can be obtained during one- or two-year courses. Successful completion of the second year for students who have attended the Hauptschule (lower secondary level) and of the first year for students having attended the Realschule (secondary level) gives the student a qualification called qualifizierter Sekundarabschluss I, the German equivalent to GCSE-level (UK) or High School Diploma (USA). The one-year BFS in business studies focuses on trade and office services.
Students can also attain Berufsfachschulen with a vocational qualification (Berufsqualifizierende Berufsfachschulen) in the fields of technical assistance for information technology (TAI), social assistance for social education, or elderly care. It requires the equivalent of GCSE for admission. Students who graduate are certified assistants. They also have the option of obtaining a certificate, which, in connection with practical courses, gives them the Fachhochschulreife, entrance requirement for Fachhochschule (University of Applied Sciences).
The Fachschule Sozialpädagogik (upper school for educators) and the Fachschule Heilerziehungspflege (upper school for educational therapists) also provides further education. Entrance requirement is a completed vocational training in a recognized occupation followed by work experience.
Another option would be the Fachoberschule, FOS (vocational secondary school at upper level), a full-time upper vocational school for either business studies, technical studies or health and social studies requiring the equivalent of GCSE-level. It is lasting for two years (grades 11 and 12) which admits students who have completed the Sekundarabschluss I and qualifies them to attend the Fachhochschule (University of Applied Sciences). In grade 11 the students attend school twice a week, the other three days they do an internship.
The Berufliches Gymnasium (vocational high school) in business studies is a school at upper secondary level (grades 11-13) offering a three-year education which includes both the general education subjects taught at upper high school level and career-oriented subjects, such as controlling, business economics, political economics and accountancy. This school leads to the general higher education entrance qualification (Allgemeine Hochschulreife).
Occupations that require in-company training and vocational school education (dual system) (Berufsschule)
The Berufsschule is a vocational school at upper secondary level generally providing part-time instruction in general and vocational education and training within the dual system (generally 2 to 4 years).
Professions in business studies:
• office administrator (Kaufleute für Bürokommunikation)
• industrial clerk (Industriekaufleute)
• trained retail salesman/woman (Kaufleute in Einzelhandel)
• merchant in wholesale and foreign trade (Kaufleute im Groß- und Außenhandel)
Professions in technical studies:
• mechanical engineering (Metalltechnik)
• electrical engineering (Elektrotechnik)
• mechatronics (Mechatronik)
Further professions:
• salesperson in a bakery (Fachverkäufer/in im Nahrungsmittelhandwerk)
• farmer (Landwirt/in) for the whole training
• stablehand (Tierwirt/in) only the first year of training
• fish farmer (Fischwirt/in) only the first year of training
• animal husbandry worker (Tierwirt/in) only the first year of training

4. Additional qualifications

The range of training opportunities is extended by educational qualifications, certifications and remedial lessons.
• The trainees for a business occupation have the opportunity for certification in Business English offered by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
• Interested students can get training to act as mediators to settle disputes.
• Some of our students take part in a yearly nationwide competition in touch typing.
• English performance can be certified at the school by the test provider telc.

5. School life

Please have a look at “Aktuelles” on our homepage.
• Our teachers plan excursions to Valencia, Barcelona, Amsterdam and many German cities and accompany classes during the trips.
• In 2007 a society which promotes the school (Förderverein) was founded and it mainly sponsors school activities.
• Students organize a blood donation once a year.
• Once a year there is a volleyball tournament for the whole school.
• A school media library supports students and teachers.
• A spacious assembly hall and a sports hall host many of our school events.
• A cafeteria caters for cold and warm snacks.
• …