Background: The assignment of newly arrived refugee children to the differentiated German school system represents a major challenge for the responsible municipalities. In this explora-tive research approach, the current assignment procedure, in addition to the necessary assessment of performance and the detection of learning, mental, or social disabilities of newly arrived refugee children in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Germany, were investigated. Methods: Eight staff mem-bers of six relevant Communal Integration Centers (CICs) in NRW were interviewed and a qualitative content analysis was conducted. Results: The current assignment practices varied widely. The binding to guidelines differed; additionally, the school assignment or recommendation largely de-pended on personal engagement, connections, and attitudes of the relevant CIC staff. None of the CICs used standardized instruments. Instead, the staff assessed the performance with self-devel-oped strategies such as free and playful approaches or self-developed worksheets, and counted on their ‘gut feeling’ and professional experience. Conclusion: The school career and education of newly arrived refugee children in NRW is largely inconsistent and dependent on the responsible CIC (e.g., the allocation of the family) and on the counseling staff member. Additionally, it must be assumed that relevant disabilities remain largely undetected.

DOI: 10.3390/ijerph18157854
ISSN: 1661-7827