Pupils in primary school are sitting at their desk and learn.

A primary school in Mannheim improves educational opportunities


In order to give all children the same opportunities for the future, the Pestalozzi School in Mannheim is launching the Integrative School Campus in the 2017/18 school year.

The city of Mannheim, in partnership with different educational partners, is introducing the learning and support concept Integrative School Campus at the primary school Pestalozzi School. Over the course of the project, two age groups will receive intensive and needs-based support from the first to the fourth grade. The goal is to open up equal educational opportunities to all pupils.

To test this new learning approach, the city of Mannheim makes use of a Social Impact Bond (SIB) for the implementation of the project. The Bertelsmann Stiftung is supporting this pilot project in order to promote equal opportunities in the educational sector and to test new instruments and partnerships for greater social impact.

Improving educational equity

Far more than a third of the pupils at the Pestalozzi School have foreign roots and grow up in non-German-speaking families. As a result, when they start school, they can have different language skills and learning abilities compared to children from German-speaking homes. It is difficult to compensate for these differences without targeted remedial support. Instead, the divide is often growing more pronounced from year to year. The Integrative Campus Pestalozzi School provides these children with targeted support so that they have the same educational opportunities at the end of the fourth year as the pupils without a migration background.

The extended Integrative School Campus’ support concept includes for example additional lessons in the core subjects German and mathematics and afternoon programs. The concept’s primary focus lies on the promotion of language skills as well as the strengthening of the pupils’ self-competence and social skills. With the Integrative School Campus, the Pestalozzi School not only aims to improve its own intercultural work, it is also keen to provide best-practice examples for equal opportunities and a needs-based learning and support culture at other schools in Mannheim. 

We expect to have an increasing proportion of children with a migration background in the future. If we want all children to have equal educational opportunities, we need more integrative programmes. The Integrative School Campus can be a good example for other schools in Mannheim to follow.

Dr Peter Kurz, Mayor of the City of Mannheim

Mannheim’s Mayor of Education, Dr Ulrike Freundlieb, also emphasises:

The Integrative Campus Pestalozzi School constitutes a progressive learning concept for intensive and needs-based support for pupils. Given the improved school and learning environment as well as the enhanced quality of instruction, all pupils from the primary school will benefit from the implemented measures. With this project, tangible success criteria are for the first time defined as so-called outcome goals, such as transitional quotas for secondary schools. This opens up new opportunities for impact-oriented management – also with regard to the financing and control of social welfare organisations.

Dr Ulrike Freundlieb, Mannheim’s Mayor of Education

Collective Impact

Different (educational) partners, which are also involved in the implementation of the project, have designed the support concept according to the collective impact approach. These partners include the Fairchance Foundation, the Therapy Centre for Dyscalculia (Zentrum zur Therapie der Rechenschwäche), Teach First Deutschland gGmbH and KinderHelden gGmbH (a mentoring programme). This impact-related partnership is based on the experience that complex problems can only be solved by working together. 

Educational disadvantage of children due to their origin, religion, ethnicity or gender is not acceptable in Germany. For a reliable, sustainable and integral promotion of children, players from education, social work and civil society must work together. The pilot project at the Pestalozzi School begins precisely there.

Brigitte Mohn, Member of the Executive Board at Bertelsmann Stiftung

Additional partners are also involved with the project with regard to funding. The social investor, BASF SE, is pre-financing the Integrative Campus Pestalozzi School.

With our engagement, we want to shape the environment at our company locations and to strengthen social interaction. This is why we support projects that enable participation and integration. Through the pre-financing of the Integrative Campus Pestalozzi School, we contribute to the promotion of children with a migrant background. That is a major plus for their educational opportunities.

Michael Heinz, Member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE

The amount of money that will be repaid depends on how well the project attains its previously defined impact goals. Thanks to this performance-based repayment scheme, the city of Mannheim only has to pay for a measurable positive impact. This risk-free pre-financing allows the city of Mannheim to implement innovative solutions and to take action at an early stage. The non-profit analysis and consultation organisation Phineo helped to develop the project, and will act as its central coordinator. Dr Andreas Rickert, CEO of Phineo gAG, also emphasises the innovative character social impact bonds can have:

The Social Impact Bond in Mannheim is testing promising and new impact-related concepts to improve equal opportunities in primary schools.

Andreas Rickert, CEO Phineo gAG

For more information on the pilot project “Improving educational opportunities for children” (Bildungschancen für Kinder verbessern), please download our information brochure!