In Germany there are many different types of schools. Each of these types of schools is aimed at specific people:

Grundschule (primary school)
At the age of 6 or 7, the children go to primary school and stay four years. In the end, the children get a primary school diploma. The degree is important so that the child can continue in other schools of higher level (elementary school or secondary school).

Gemeinschaftsschule (middle school-Junior high school)
The visit to this kind of school lasts up to six years. At the end, the students can get either the Hauptschulabschluss (degree at the end of the 9th year) or the Realschulabschluss (degree at the end of the 10th year). These degrees are important for most vocational training. In some gemainschaftschule, there is the possibility of obtaining the degree of advanced technical college entrance qualification with which you will be able to study in an advance technical college.

Gymnasium (Senior high school)
Attending a Gymnasium takes seven or eight years, depending on the school. Here you can graduate (general qualification for university entrance - maturity) or get the Fachhochschulreife (advanced technical college entrance qualification).
You can study with these graduates at a Fachhochschule (advance technical college).

Alternative school forms
You can also get a school certificate in other schools. These schools are mostly financed by private funds and have other pedagogical approaches. This is the case for example of Waldorf schools or Montessori schools..

Not only children can attend school in Germany. Even adults can catch up on graduation or educate themselves in schools. Find out about it at the « Volkshochschulen (community education centers) » or vocational training centers on site.