Country information for Luxembourg - Legislation and policy
Early childhood education
In May 1998 the Ministry of Education created a new class for children aged three, in order to facilitate the process of socialisation and integration (especially for migrants). This early childhood education lasts one year and is not compulsory.
The duration of compulsory school attendance has been extended from 11 to 12 years. School attendance is now compulsory from the ages of four to sixteen years (article 7; new law on education).
The last year of compulsory school attendance can be undertaken in the form of an apprenticeship (article 11, new law on education).
Pre-school and primary education
On 21 January 2009, the Parliament passed the new law organising fundamental education, the law concerning fundamental education staff and the law on compulsory school attendance.
Together, the three laws reorganise the first twelve years of schooling on the educational and organisational level, in order to guarantee better success of all pupils. They came into force in September 2009.
Since September 2009, all the pre-school and primary schools – henceforth called fundamental schools – have been organised in four learning cycles. The learning cycles replaced the traditional organisation in school years. The first (optional) cycle comprises early schooling and pre-school education. The second, third and fourth cycles are in primary education and each last two years.
The teachers of each cycle concentrate and collaborate within educational teams.
All fundamental schools are encouraged to work on the basis of competence schedules drawn up for the four learning cycles. The competence bases, however, were only to become obligatory after the completion of a validation phase in five pilot schools, called ‘schools in movement’.
New evaluation forms were to be introduced from 2009/2010 on for cycles 1 and 2. Every two years, an end-of-cycle outcome reports on the stage of development of the competences aimed at in the competence basis. Like the previous year, an intermediary outcome is established at the end of each term. It is an adapted model of the current school report. For cycles 3 and 4, the traditional school report is maintained. However, the pupils also receive an end-of-cycle outcome.
At the end of the sixth year of primary school, pupils receive guidance – within the framework of the transition from primary education to post-primary education – on one of the two orders of post-primary education.
Pupils attend the lower division of secondary or technical secondary education (until the age of 16) in order to complete their compulsory education.
Secondary education comprises general education: its objective is to transmit general knowledge in the fields of human sciences, literature, mathematics and natural sciences. The studies prepare learners for higher and university education and they are awarded a secondary school leaving certificate.
Technical secondary education essentially prepares learners for working life. It also allows them to access higher education. Technical secondary education includes three different systems:
- Technical system, leading to a technical school leaving certificate
- Technician training system, leading to the technician diploma
- Professional system, leading to the vocational capacity diploma (CCP) or the vocational aptitude diploma (DAP).
Pupils who at the end of compulsory school attendance are unable to attain the CCP have the option to follow the orientation and vocational initiation classes (COIP) created by the 16 March 2007 law.
Action locale pour jeunes
‘Action locale pour jeunes’ (Local assistance for young people) is part of the vocational training of the Ministry of Education. Its tasks are:
- to organise special measures in order to facilitate the transition from school to work life (even before compulsory education is finished), and
- to organise social and pedagogical help for young people in difficulties (when they are already working or when they follow vocational training).
École de la deuxième chance
This school was scheduled to open in September 2010 and be integrated into the public school system. It is aimed at learners aged from 16 to 24 who, due to school failure or wrong orientation choice reasons, have dropped out of school or who do not find an apprenticeship. It was established in the centre of the country and can receive up to 350 young people.
The ‘École de la deuxième chance’ (second-chance school) has a double objective:
- to help young people who dropped out to regain motivation in order to resume their education, and
- to develop the general, practical and social abilities which allow them to re(integrate) into the traditional secondary and technical secondary education classes, apprenticeships or the labour market.
Children with special needs
School Law of 1912
Despite the institution of school obligation for all children, the law of 10 August 1912, concerning the organisation of primary education, excluded children ‘suffering from physical disabilities, except those suffering from visual or hearing impairment’. Children with intellectual disabilities were not admitted to school.
Law of Special Education of 1973
With the law of 14 March 1973, changes occurred regarding the creation of special education centres and services:
The Government ensures that every child, because of his mental, sensory and emotional particularities, gets the instruction required by his state or situation in structures of special education.
According to children’s needs, the following centres were created:
- Pre-primary and primary centres and vocational training centres
- Children’s homes, boarding schools and reception houses
- Observation classes and centres
- Ambulatory resource centres
- Ambulatory education services
- Multi-disciplinary medico-psycho-pedagogical services
This law allowed children with special needs to attend a special school, but not a mainstream school.
Law of School Integration
Finally the law of 28 June 1994 amended the law of 10 August 1912, concerning the organisation of primary education, and the law of 14 March 1973, creating special education institutions and services, in favour of the participation of children with special needs in mainstream schools and of their social integration.
Following advice from the ‘Commission medico-psycho-pédagogique nationale’ and consultation with the child’s parents, the minister can exclude a pupil from school attendance because of severe reasons.
The government makes sure that every child of compulsory school age, who cannot follow ordinary or special education because of their mental, emotional, sensory and motor particularities and who has special needs, gets:
- appropriate instruction in a special education centre or institution, or
- individual help and support from a special education service in the mainstream pre-primary or primary schools.
Support and assistance measures in case of learning difficulties
At the level of each inspection district, at least one multi-professional team is created. Its mission is to ensure, in collaboration with the class teacher and, if necessary, the ‘médico-socioscolaire’ team, the diagnosis and care of pupils with special education needs and to advise the class teacher and the educational team about the implementation of differentiation measures.
These multi-professional teams include staff from special education, from logopaedics centres, special education teachers appointed to a commune of the district, and other experts in the support and assistance needed for the pupils concerned.
The special education head teacher, the logopaedics centre head teacher and the Inspector-General jointly establish the composition and co-ordination of the multi-professional teams’ work.
In dialogue with the concerned school committees, the teams ensure a regular presence in the schools.
They work under the responsibility of the concerned district inspector in the framework of the allowed means and the actions planned by the ‘commission d’inclusion scolaire’, hereafter called the ‘CIS’.
The district inspector is in charge of the educational structure of their district team. After dialogue with the members of the team, the inspector sets the operating principles, the priority order of the planned actions and the evaluation procedures of the interventions.
In each district there is at least one ‘commission d’inclusion scolaire’ whose mission is to define, at the request of the parents or the teacher, and with the parents’ consent, the support for the concerned pupils.
The CIS establishes a file which includes:
- a diagnosis of the pupil’s needs;
- the supports which can be assigned; and
- an individualised support plan.
This plan is submitted to the parents for agreement. The CIS evaluates the plan annually and make the necessary adaptations to ensure the learner’s educational progress.
This plan can consist of:
- adapting the education in class ensured by the class teacher in collaboration with the educational team;
- in-class assistance by one or more members of the multi-professional team attached to the educational team for the intervention period;
- a temporary stay in another class in order to learn certain subjects;
- education in a special education class;
- education in a special school or institution in Luxembourg or abroad.
In the latter two cases, the file is sent for approval to the national ‘médico-psycho-pédagogique’ commission.
Pre-school and primary research school founded on inclusive education
The 13 May 2008 law created a pre-school and primary research school founded on inclusive education in Luxembourg City. The mission of this school is to develop and implement teachings and an educational framework according to the principle of inclusive education, consisting of the full participation of every pupil in every aspect of school life regardless of their distinctive sociocultural, physical, sensory, cognitive, socio-affective or psychomotor characteristics. More information is available on the Ministry of Education website.