The development status of the House of Learning

The House of Learning at Städtisches Gymnasium Olpe continues to evolve. This is where we regularly update you on progress and important milestones.


The development progress of the HoL

June 2021

First measures towards the House of Learning begin:
The Renovation of the building on Schützenstraße is going to begin this summer. A complete renovation takes place, so that after one year a completely new science wing will be created here, which unites the three sciences of Physics, Chemistry and Biology under one roof using the latest technology. Therefore, all classrooms and subject rooms are currently being emptied and prepared for the renovation phase. In addition, all parts of the building are going to be upgraded with fibre optic cabling this summer, so that the school will have state-of-the-art network infrastructure with fast internet in the course of 2021. This will free up parts of the building of the old Imbergschule for the construction of the HoL after this renovation phase. Talks on this are already taking place between the school's sponsor (the city of Olpe), the school as well as the University of Siegen and the district of Olpe (bc:olpe).

Development progress in 2020

September 2020

SGO equips itself for IB Physics. The physics collection is expanded for the execution of the Diploma Programme in the House of Learning. Funded by the School Association, the purchase amounting to almost EUR 60,000 will be used to expand the sensor technology of the existing computerised measurement acquisition system for students so as to enable them to independently perform digital experiments in such areas as mechanics, optics and radioactivity. Students will use the newly purchased iPads for digital control of the measurement acquisition systems and analysis of the results.  Other demonstration experiments are also being adapted for digital learning. In future, it will be possible to record spectral analyses thanks to a spectrometer.

August 2020

The IBO states that schools should not be disadvantaged in the certification process because of the coronavirus pandemic. It is not necessary to carry out the numerous workshops that have been cancelled in the past weeks and months in their entirety prior to certification. The consultation visit is now scheduled to take place online at the beginning of October.

March 2020

The first visit to Städtisches Gymnasium Olpe by the IBO, represented by Consultant Geraint Jones from England, falls victim to the coronavirus pandemic. The aim of the consultation visit is to determine the current development status and prepare the school for the authorisation visit at the end of the certification procedure. Numerous video conferences are held as an alternative until the visit can take place. The first curricula are finalised and regarded as good by the consultant.

February 2020

Founding event of the Olpe Education Connector (bcOlpe). The bcOlpe aims to sustainably research and support the (further) development of digital literacy in local schools. In future, the University of Siegen will be available to all school types in Olpe as a cooperation partner for teaching development. Citizens gain insights into digital learning in the 21st century from numerous workshops held in February.

Development progress in 2019

November to December 2019

The school authority makes a project decision to renovate the building section on Schützenstrasse in the 2021/2022 school year. At the same time, long-standing plans to relocate the chemistry department to this part of the building are to be put into place. This means that SGO now has its own science wing. This also defines the objective of the House of Learning (HoL), which is to be built on the grounds of the 3rd and 4th building sections on Imbergstrasse after this construction project. The HoL is an integral part of the District Town of Olpe’s planned digital district development.

October 2019

On 4 October, State Secretary Mathias Richter (Ministry of Schools and Education) and District Vice President Volker Milk visit SGO and sign a joint declaration on the establishment of an international branch at SGO along with Mayor Peter Weber and School Principal Holger Köster. The school is thus granted the resources it needs for further development. The Verein zur Unterstützung einer Internationalen Schule Südwestfalen am SGO e.V. [school association] also undertakes to support the project financially, but not to influence the school’s educational focus. Under the guidance of the marketing agency Markenstürmer, a workshop is held at the school where students, parents and teachers work together to develop a PR concept. In the following weeks and months, SGO is to be given a new logo and the website a facelift.

June 2019

The candidacy for the application process was successful! SGO will be entering the two-year certification phase in the 2019/2020 school year. In fresh talks with the Ministry of Schools and Education, the school supervisory board and the school authority, a joint declaration of support for the establishment of the international branch at SGO is made. The aim is to consolidate the further development steps in terms of staff and funding and to allocate resources..

Development progress in 2018

December 2018 to March 2019

Teaching staff vote strongly in favour of initiating the certification process. In addition to the compulsory subjects of German, mathematics and English, the subjects of history, geography, physics and biology are also expected to form part of the IB Diploma Programme. The new subjects of theory of knowledge (ToK) and creativity, activity, service (CAS) as well as extended essays (EE) need to be added. At least two teachers from each subject volunteer to develop the curricula, who must then be trained in workshops. Following that, the application for candidacy and other aspects of the House of Learning concept are worked on. Teachers Gaby Lück-Gegic and Stephan Seidel, who are coordinating the certification process at SGO, visit the coordinators’ workshop in Cambridge. The school submits the application to the IBO at the end of March. The House of Learning concept is broadened in discussions with the University of Siegen. The extremely close partnership with the university is also to comprise continuing and further education for teachers, as well as support for gifted students.

November 2018

School Principal Holger Köster and Teacher Stephan Seidel attend the first workshop regarding certification of the school as an international school. At the administrators’ workshop, they learn about the features and benefits of the IB Diploma Programme of the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO). Following that, Städtisches Gymnasium Olpe formally announces its interest in being certified by the IBO. During the first phase of the certification referred to as the application for candidacy, the school must provide evidence of existing resources and a targeted working strategy for implementing the programme by the summer of 2019.

October 2018

The Verein zur Unterstützung einer Internationalen Schule Südwestfalen am SGO e.V. [school association] is founded in the course of a ceremony. Wilfried Fischer is appointed as its first chair and is supported in his work by Deputy Chair Christian Hermann and Director Marco Butz. The financial support for the project has grown to more than EUR 3 million for the next 10 years thanks to the local business community.

September 2018

The project is presented in dialogue with District President Hans-Josef Vogel and other representatives of the Arnsberg District Government and funding opportunities for the construction of the House of Learning are discussed. The school authority (District Town of Olpe) considers the options to be the full extension of the building section on Schützenstrasse or the construction of a new building section in place of the 3rd and 4th building section on Imbergstrasse (Imberg Building).

June 2018

From then on, numerous discussions are held by District Administrator Frank Beckehoff, Mayor Peter Weber, Rector Holger Burkhart, State Parliament Member Jochen Ritter, Chamber of Industry and Commerce General Manager Klaus Gräbener and School Principal Holger Köster. In an initial discussion with the Ministry of Schools and Education, State Secretary Mathias Richter appears impressed by the idea and the commitment of the region. A school experiment similar to the recently launched talent schools experiment is discussed with regard to personnel support. The aim is to provide SGO with the staff it needs for this ambitious project over the next few years.

May 2018

The first strategic deliberations take place and are discussed with politicians, the district government and the relevant ministries. The stakeholders agree that the project should be an extension of the educational programme, which is available to all students in the region free of charge. In the first few weeks, numerous local companies declare their willingness to invest about EUR 2 million in the project over the next 10 years.

April 2018

Two schools are on the shortlist for the establishment of an international branch, including Städtisches Gymnasium Olpe. The school has a broad language portfolio – with many years of experience with an English bilingual branch, in particular. School Principal Holger Köster impresses members of the business community and the university with the House of Learning concept. As part of SGO, this learning facility is designed to facilitate the schooling of students from the region and abroad in a targeted manner. In addition to an international qualification, this should also provide bespoke career guidance tailored specifically to the needs of the region.

January to March 2018

Initial talks between the local business community and University of Siegen are held under the direction of the Siegen Chamber of Industry and Commerce on the establishment of an international school for the districts of Olpe and Siegen-Wittgenstein. Both district administrators are involved in the discussions. The idea of an independent school is rejected on the grounds of the school situation across the region. Instead, the idea of adding an international branch to an existing school emerges.

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Find out more about the international school, the House of Learning, the people behind it all and our vision for the school of the future.


Schulleitung des SGO

School management

Find out more about Städtisches Gymnasium Olpe’s management team, the commitment of everyone involved and the international school’s programmes for educating strong individuals from South Westphalia.


SGO mission statement

At Städtisches Gymnasium Olpe we attach great importance to responsibility, community, tolerance and humanity. This is reflected in our programmes and educational objectives.

Schülerin der Zukunft mit Tablet

HOL vision

The future of schooling is more than just a school. SGO and regional companies are setting new standards for the future in the area of digitisation and school development with the Internationale Schule Südwestfalen and the House of Learning.


Patrons and partners

The House of Learning is also supported by a school association established by the local business community. The non-profit Verein zur Unterstützung der Internationalen Schule Südwestfalen am SGO e.V. [school association] was founded in November 2018.