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Beyond the classroom

Developing Personality

Prefects and Student Advocates

We help develop students by encouraging them to take responsibility for themselves and their futures. We need social contact as a mirror and as a corrective medium for our behaviour. At Marienau our young people learn about democracy and to show community spirit.

They are taught and supported to take on meaningful additional tasks within the school community, with the necessary prerequisite that they are of course prepared to put themselves at the service of the community. For example, becoming a confidant for friends and other students promotes sensitivity for the needs of others and of course helps to improve our inter-personal skills.
Prefects and Student Advocates Image 1

Every year, our children and young people stad for election to become student representatives.

Within this role they sit in work groups and on various student bodies, where they speak on matters concerning their fellow students. They also represent other students at the twice-yearly meetings of the Governing Body. A team has to be put together within certain criteria i.e. both genders should be represented and the candidates have to represent day and boarding students equally.

This year both teams chose to introduce themselves and their manifestos by video. They emphasise what is important to them and what they intend to do in their term of office. There will also be outdoor hustings on the sports field where they will answer the voters’ questions. We are very pleased that so many students stand for office so that there can be a proper election. Good luck to both teams!

School Parliament

School parliament meets regularly. It decides on importats issues of school and boarding school life in Marienau.

Parliamentary rules of procedure for download.


Supporting Personal Development

We want to support and challenge our students in their development. We want them to grow, learn about themselves and be the best possible version of themselves.

The Marienau philosophy is best summed up in the words of one of our teachers: “We teach people – not subjects.” Our young people are therefore at the core of everything we do at Marienau whether within or outside the classroom. Our students spend a lot of time at the school and that’s why Marienau offers them space and time to use all their talents and attributes. 

Realising Potential

There is a very special whole school setting at Marienau, far beyond that of a “normal” school. This is at least in part due to the fact that for many of our students this is a second home, giving Marienau its own personality radiating throughout the whole school.

We are able to see the students in many and various different settings, including outside the classroom. We are with them in the residential areas, at meal times, in project work, on trips as well as in their free time and in extra-curricular activities.

Taking Responsibility

Every class has its own representative who helps to develop and care for the class “community”. They concern themselves with any and all class matters and represent their class on the school council. Training for the class reps is provided which prepares the students for their new responsibilities and serves as a platform for the exchange of ideas. They are elected at the beginning of the academic year and serve for one school year.

There are also students who represent the whole student body at various school meetings including the governing body and other school committees. They are also elected for one school year and currently they are Keyi Fang, Magdalena Lesniak und Konstantin Heckel.

School parliament is a council with equal representation of students and teachers. Here central issues of life in school and boarding school are discussed and decided. It's rules of procedures govern all meetings and proposals. 

Our prefects (or Cornetts) are students trusted with assisting the house parents in the residential areas. They are also there to be a big brother or sister to the younger children and to listen to their concerns and as a consequence sometimes end up mediating between students and house parents. They are thus an important point of contact for all our boarders.

Responsibility and reward go hand in hand in this role. The prefects have their own rooms, take on particular tasks and are provided with training. In return for their services, there are also weekends arranged for the prefects which combine training and a trip out.

At the start of life at boarding school, new faces and new routines are just two of the new challenges for our children. That’s when it helps to know there’s someone older who knows the school who you can turn to – these are our buddies.

In the Lower School, there are also reading mentors. This initiative helps to promote reading and builds reliable relationships both for day and boarding students.
Taking Responsibility –

NAU Project - Surpassing Expectations

Nau is the nickname given to the school by generations of students and The NAU Project has been set up to help Year 11 students exceed their own expectations of themselves. This initiative came about when the school returned to a three year Abitur course in 2018 which presented us with the opportunity to develop students’ interests and help them build their characters. This extra year gave us precious extra time in a formative period of our young people’s lives and we wanted to take advantage of it. And so the NAU Project came into being.

NAU Project - Surpassing Expectations Image 1 Their choice: Hiking the Way of Saint James

To sum the essence of the NAU Project up, it is to

"Go out into the world, dare to to, test your own boundaries and exceed your own expectations of yourself."

So, within this extra year, we’ve created a window of opportunity in which our Year 11s leave the school and choose an activity or project which will build their characters and help them to mature. We’ve set aside the time before the Easter holidays as a blank canvas for them. They can go wherever they please, work for or with other people, immerse themselves in another language, challenge themselves, do something new – the choice is theirs. We let them come up with their own ideas, as what’s interesting or challenging for one person may not be for another.

Spring 2019 was the first time that our students took part in this project and many of them took the idea of making one’s own way rather literally and walked several hundred kilometres on the Way of St James in Spain or The Way of St Francis in Italy. Some wanted to discover their own country with a particular topic in mind, while others worked as volunteers on social or environmental projects. Irrespective of what they eventually did, they chose and planned it themselves. You can see more about the NAU Project on this short introductory video.

Latest News: during the Corona Virus pandemic, we have to respond flexibly according to the latest advice and current infection rates. If you have questions as to what that will mean for the NAU Project, please contact Kerstin Richter, our Project Co-ordinator. 

More information

All about the NAU Project

Community Services
Together for Others

As a day and boarding school, we are a scale model of our society and we have to meet all the challenges which living with others brings. At the same time, we are a part of this society and enjoy the privilege of living a modern life in the free world. However, we don’t take this for granted and show our awareness of this privilege throughout Marienau and also in the wider community.

UNESCO Project School

Marienau holds regular project weeks as part of its membership of the UNESCO Project School initiative and also takes part in Action Days alongside regional partners.

These activities lead to vigorous debate about tolerance, collective responsibility, sustainability and how different cultures can live together. Our aim is, through these activities, that we live these ideals on a daily basis here at Marienau School.

In 2022 we set up a new co-operation with "Alegrìa ahora", an educational foundation located in Curitiba/Brasil.

Community Work Experience

The community work experience in Year 10 provides a stark contrast to the work experience in Year 11. Of course, our students do gain valuable experience in the world of work but here the focus is on something completely different i.e. “What can I do for others?”

Community work experience succeeds the community service which used to be done in Year 9. The school decided on this new format due to the return to a three year Abitur course and operational issues with the various social services.

Our Work with BG Baskets

The aim of our collaboration with BG Baskets (a wheelchair basketball team) is to help raise disability awareness.

Learning about and becoming involved in the lives of other people helps build life experience for our students. We hold wheelchair sports days at Marienau where coaches and players from BG Baskets come to us and let the students play in the wheelchairs. When the team plays then students travel to Hamburg to watch them.