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Pioneers in authentic bilingual education
Bilingual education meets the requirements of a globalised world. Freies Gymnasium Zürich has developed a bilingual programme with this in mind. Freies Gymnasium Zürich was the first school in the canton to found a bilingual Progymnasium in collaboration with Lakeside School (Küsnacht). This built a bridge between genuine bilingual primary school education and the upper school of the Gymnasium and marked a pioneering achievement in bilingual education in the Canton of Zurich.
In 1997 English lessons were introduced in the 1st class of the lower school of the Gymnasium and the Progymnasium at Freies Gymnasium Zürich before the mandatory date. Three years later our school was the first Gymnasium in the canton to also offer the study profile «Economics and Law» bilingually.

Mother-tongue teachers
Freies Gymnasium Zürich offers the following bilingual programmes:

  • Lower school of the Gymnasium (1st and 2nd grade)
  • Progymnasium (1st and 2nd grade, without Latin)
  • Upper school of the Gymnasium (3rd – 6th grade)

Both the German and the English parts of the programme are taught by mother-tongue teachers.

High academic demands on students
The education programme is distinguished by its high quality and innovative nature. Lessons are taught by special subject teachers and the programmes are aimed at students with very good knowledge of both German and English who have no difficulty following lessons at native-speaker level. Our students have set themselves the goal of achieving the Swiss Bilingual Matura.

First-class preparation for the upper school of the Gymnasium

Our Progymnasium is academically more demanding than the regular Secondary A level in the state schools. The bilingual Progymnasium is aimed at students with very good knowledge of both German and English who have no difficulty following lessons in either language at native-speaker level. It incorporates the following distinctive features:

  • special subject teacher system
  • most teachers are Gymnasium teachers
  • lessons in German and English at native-speaker level
  • same learning goals as in lower school of the Gymnasium
  • same number of lessons per week as in lower school of the Gymnasium

Differences to the lower school of the Gymnasium

The students in the bilingual Progymnasium have set themselves the goal of transferring to the upper school of the bilingual Gymnasium after the 2nd class. For this reason, lessons differ only slightly from those of the lower school of the Gymnasium. Instead of Latin, students have more lessons in Mathematics, German, French and English. Textile and three-dimensional design are also on the curriculum. The students’ performance is evaluated in line with the standards of the Progymnasium.

Transfer to our upper school of the Gymnasium

In the course of the 2nd class of the Progymnasium, students can qualify for transfer to the upper school of Freies Gymnasium Zürich based on their performance in the 2nd and 3rd quarters and without needing to take an entrance examination.

The bilingual education programme in the Gymnasium is concluded with the state-recognised Swiss Bilingual Matura which qualifies students for admission to Swiss and international universities.

Admission to our bilingual Progymnasium from other schools

Freies Gymnasium Zürich has an agreement on admission with the following bilingual primary schools. Their students are admitted to Freies Gymnasium Zürich without taking the entrance examination on the recommendation of these schools and subject to there being space available in the new classes:

Students from other schools or from abroad have to pass an entrance examination. The preconditions for admission to the entrance examination are:

Final admission to the entrance examination is based on the application dossier and is subject to the number of available places.

The entrance examination is based on work covered in the primary school and comprises written and oral exams in German, English and Maths. Parents and prospective students take part in an admission interview with school management as part of the admission process.

Internal transfer to our Progymnasium

Transfer to the 1st class of our Progymnasium is based on the level of performance in the preparatory classes. Students do not need to take an entrance examination.

Swiss Bilingual Matura as final examination
The bilingual lower school of the Gymnasium is aimed at students with very good knowledge of both German and English who have no difficulty following lessons in either language at native-speaker level. This department offers the same selection of subjects as the monolingual lower school of the Gymnasium; Latin is therefore also taught.

Special subject teachers teach in accordance with the immersion principle. Lessons are taught almost entirely by Gymnasium teachers. Both the English and German parts of the programme are taught by mother-tongue teachers.

After the 2nd class, at the end of the lower school, our students transfer to the upper school of the Gymnasium of Freies Gymnasium Zürich. For the final four years of the programme, students can choose the study profile which best suits their talents.

The bilingual programme in the Gymnasium is concluded with the Swiss Bilingual Matura which qualifies students for admission to Swiss and international universities.

Admission to the Lower School of our Gymnasium
Students from other schools or from abroad have to take an entrance examination. Students are eligible to take this examination if they:

  • have very good knowledge of both German and English
  • achieved at least a 5 average in their last report in English, German and Mathematics
  • can provide evidence of equivalent qualifications.

The entrance examination is based on work in the primary school and consists of written and oral exams in German, English and Maths. Parents and prospective students take part in an admission interview with the school management as part of the admission process.

Internal transfer to our Progymnasium
Transfer to the 1st class of the lower school of our Gymnasium depends on the level of performance in the preparatory classes. Students do not need to take an entrance examination.

Transfer to the Upper School of the Gymnasium: all study profiles bilingual

After the 2nd class, students from the bilingual lower school of the Gymnasium transfer to the upper school of the Gymnasium of Freies Gymnasium Zürich without needing to take an entrance examination.

Ideally, students continue in the bilingual programme. This is available in all study profiles and is concluded with the state-recognised Bilingual Matura.

At Freies Gymnasium Zürich students can choose from the following programmes and study monolingually or bilingually:

  • Classics with Latin as core subject, combined with English or Greek
  • Modern Languages with Italian as core subject
  • Economics and Law with «Economics and Law» as core subject
  • Mathematics - Natural Sciences with «Biology and Chemistry», or «Applied Mathematics and Physics» as core subjects

Basic, core and supplementary subjects
The Matura subjects are made up of ten basic subjects, the core subject and a supplementary subject.

The study profile is essentially decided by the core subject. Lessons in the basic subjects are more or less the same for all students, irrespective of study profile. This is intended to form the basis of a general education.
All profiles include an introduction to «Economics and Law» (two lessons a week). In addition, there are optional subjects.

Conditions for admission and transfer


Four years to the Bilingual Matura
The bilingual upper school of the Gymnasium takes four years and follows on after the lower school of the Gymnasium or the 2nd or 3rd class of the Progymnasium.

The goal of the Gymnasium is to «provide students with the skills and knowledge to promote lifelong learning, as well as their intellectual open mindedness and ability to judge independently» (MAR Art. 5) and in this way to allow access to all forms of higher education.

Choice of four Matura study profile
At the end of the lower school, our students choose their Matura study profile. They also select a core subject.
At Freies Gymnasium Zürich students can choose from the following profiles in the bilingual programme:

  • Classics with Latin as core subject, combined with English or German
  • Modern Languages with Italian as core subject
  • Economics and Law with «Economics and Law» as core subject
  • Mathematics - Natural Sciences with «Biology and Chemistry», or «Applied Mathematics and «Physics» as core subjects

Basic, core and supplementary subjects
The Matura subjects are made up of ten basic subjects, the core subject and a supplementary subject.

The study profile is essentially decided by the core subject. Lessons in the basic subjects are more or less the same for all students, irrespective of study profile. This is intended to be the basis for a general education.

All profiles include an introduction to Economics and Law (two lessons a week).  In addition, there are also optional subjects.

Matura paper
Working alone or in a team, students write a Matura paper on a subject of their own choice. The Matura paper must be approved for the student to be admitted to the Matura examinations.

Admission to the upper school of our Gymnasium from other schools
Applicants are eligible to take the entrance examination if they have a minimum average of 5.0 in German, Mathematics and French in the February report. Furthermore the students' knowledge of English must be close to native-speaker level. There are written and oral examinations in all four subjects. Parents and prospective pupils take part in an admission interview as part of the admission process.

Internal transfer to the upper school of our Gymnasium
Students from the lower school of our Gymnasium transfer to the upper school of our Gymnasium without needing to take an entrance examination. Students from our Progymnasium can qualify for transfer based on their performance without needing to take an entrance examination (see Progymnasium section).

Four Matura study profiles
Before transferring to the upper school of the Gymnasium, our students choose a Matura study profile and a core subject.

At Freies Gymnasium Zürich students can choose from the following profiles:

  • Classics with Latin as core subject, combined with English or Greek (only for students from the lower school of the Gymnasium)
  • Modern Languages with Italian as core subject
  • Economics and Law with «Economics and Law» as core subject
  • Mathematics - Natural Sciences with «Biology and Chemistry», or «Applied Mathematics and Physics» as core subjects

All these study profiles can be taken monolingually or bilingually.

Our European cultural heritage

Students choosing Latin as a core subject receive an education in the classics and the humanities with emphasis on language, literature and cultural history.

This study profile focuses on in-depth knowledge of the Latin language, helps students to understand language structures, facilitates the acquisition of modern languages and the understanding of foreign words and scientific terminology; furthermore it improves students' ability to express themselves in German and to develop their mastery of their mother tongue.

Studying Latin as a core subject involves the in-depth translation and interpretation of important original Latin literary texts. These texts, which are always concerned with basic questions of human existence, offer historical distance to enable students to gain new perspectives for present-day problems thus leading to deeper understanding of the cultural diversity of the European continent.

Economics, jurisprudence and civic education
The subject, Economics, is concerned with both current events and history. Students examine the workings of the market economy, its advantages and disadvantages, as well as economic crises based on examples from world affairs. Questions such as: Where does money come from and what significance does it have? Why do we have economic crises? Why is there unemployment and what can be done to combat it? Why are there such marked differences in wealth and prosperity? Why are some countries rich and others poor? Economic history and philosophical interconnections are also explained. Students choosing this study profile should be interested in economic, political and historical interconnections.

The subject, Business Studies, is based on examples from the world of business. Students learn about such topics as how a company is founded and run; how the stock market functions and its significance; the role and functioning of the banks. Visits to a variety of enterprises help to clarify and deepen students’ knowledge of the material.

In the subject, Law, students learn about the Swiss legal system by examining legal cases that appear daily in the press. Both the history of law and modern legislation are studied. Students visit court hearings to help them to understand the material.

Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Technical Sciences
The choice of the Mathematics - Natural Sciences study profile results in additional lessons in the core subject, Mathematics. This is irrespective of whether the student has opted for Biology and Chemistry or Applied Mathematics and Physics as a sub-profile.

From the 4th class, either Biology and Chemistry or Applied Mathematics and Physics are taught. These additional lessons are used, on the one hand, to study chapters in Mathematics that cannot be covered in the basic subject lessons of the other core subject direction, e.g., complex numbers or differential equations. On the other hand, there is also time to examine themes in even more depth, as well as to discuss the interconnectedness of individual sub-areas. One area of focus is analysis and probability calculation.

Modern Languages
Studying Italian enables students to find their way in the Italian-speaking world and culture. It promotes the skills needed to understand others and to express oneself in a foreign language. Students learn the four basic communication skills: listening and reading comprehension, oral and written expression.

The lessons aim to help students to break down the boundaries to the Italian-speaking cultural area, comprising Italy and the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, and to study in depth the values and mentality of this culture.

Learning Italian contributes to international understanding and also improves the student’s ability to understand the descendents of Italian immigrants and their integration in Switzerland.

CONTACT US FOR A PERSONAL APPOINTMENT


Lower school of the Gymnasium

The Head of Department,
Vice Principal
Dr. Hans-Peter Müller

Phone administration office.
Telephone: +41 43 456 77 77
E-Mail: sekretariat@fgz.ch

Upper school of the Gymnasium

The Head of Department,
Vice Principal
Dr. Hans-Peter Müller

Phone administration office.
Telephone: +41 43 456 77 77
E-Mail: sekretariat@fgz.ch