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|Deputy Headteacher||Dr Rolf Schuster, Hans Georg Bier|
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Schule Birklehof is a prestigious independent boarding school located in Hinterzarten in the High Black Forest region of southwestern Germany, approximately 25 km from Freiburg. It is a private coeducational secondary school (German: Gymnasium). Currently, the school has approximately 240 students, 170 of whom are boarders who live on campus. The school was established by the educator Kurt Hahn in 1932 and from the beginning accepted girls and boys. Under the Nazi regime Hahn was forced to emigrate to Scotland where he founded Gordonstoun School as well as later Outward Bound, Round Square and the United World Colleges.
The school stands in the tradition of progressive education reform, or "reform pedagogy" as it is called in Germany. This movement originated in the 1920s. Among other things, Birklehof prides itself in giving students real responsibility in the running of the school. Student representatives have voting rights on all educational matters in general conferences.
Birklehof was founded in 1932 by German educator Kurt Hahn. The old Birklehof is a grade-listed farmhouse dating back to 1550. In the early 1920s, a villa was built on the Birklehof estate by a German industrialist. The estate was then given to Hahn for his school. Hahn, after being driven from Germany by the Nazis, went on to found Gordonstoun in Scotland in 1934 and Atlantic College in 1962. It is also a sister school to the more famous Schloss Salem, founded by Hahn in 1920. In 1946, it was reopened by its then head, German philosopher Georg Picht.
In 2009, the newest building project was completed with the inauguration of the rebuilt Neubirkle boarding house. This state-of-art eco building will be home to 19 boarders and two teachers' families. It also boasts a flat for a boarding house assistant. In the academic year 2010—11, the school will launch a new third middle-school stream. In addition to Foreign Languages or Sciences, students of Years 8 to 10 will be able to choose a musical specialisation. This will include aspects of drama, film making, fine arts and music. It follows an integrated, project-based approach. Furthermore, the school is in the process of switching to 8 instead of 9 years of grammar school, which will be implemented fully in 2012.
Birklehof school currently has ten boarding houses. Reflecting its educational philosophy, all houses (with the exception of the Neuer Hirschen West and Neuer Hirschen Ost) have integrated teaching rooms and teachers' flats as well as students' bedrooms. With the exception of the coeducational Unterhaus (Years 5-7) they are all single-sex houses, supervised by a resident houseparent.
Haupthaus (1923), Neubirkle (2009), Studio, Saalbau, Wolffsburg, Kopphaus, Neuer Hirschen West, Neuer Hirschen Ost, Petersbau, Unterhaus
- Karl Heinz Bohrer, German literary scholar and essayist
- Caio Koch-Weser, politician, economist, former vice president and managing director of the World Bank
- Tom Koenigs, politician, former UN-diplomat, special deputy of the general secretary of the United Nations in Afghanistan (until February 2006)
- Peter von Blomberg, vice chairman of Transparency International in Germany
- Uwe Nettelbeck, German record producer, journalist and film critic
- Herbert Girardet, author, visiting professor at various universities in England, program director of the World Future Council
- Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, German scientist and politician
- Moritz von Uslar, author and journalist
Stefan Würthle (MA thesis Freiburg, 2nd. edition 1998) Der Birklehof - Ein deutsches Landerziehungsheim in nationalsozialistischer Zeit.
- Round Square Website
- The Birklehof Alumni Connection via web (Xing): Business Club Birklehof