Country information for Luxembourg - Systems of support and specialist provision

Views of inclusion 

The aim of integration is the acceptance of each person in their own environment, which then allows them to participate as a full member of society.

In accordance with the ministerial directive of 4 November 1991, concerning the school integration of children with special educational needs, integration must be understood as a means to guarantee the fulfilment of potential of children with special needs. The future aim is integration into society. The right to instruction and education includes the right to common instruction and education for all children.

Pre-primary, primary and post-primary teachers and the professionals from special education centres, institutions and services are invited to establish, in line with the different educational standards, the necessary contacts to allow beneficial exchanges in creating a school for all children.

The educational mission of schools involves the bringing together and mutual respect of all children, regardless of their social, cultural, physical or intellectual differences.

Children with special educational needs can and must learn in the context of daily, usual life, which offers them the best stimulation. Children learn through and thanks to other children.

Routes to inclusion

School integration

The law of 28 June 1994, amending the law of 10 August 1912 and amending the law of 14 March 1973 concerning the organisation of primary education and the creation of special education institutions and services, indicates that children with motor, sensory, intellectual and emotional difficulties of compulsory age may be integrated into mainstream schools.

The government makes sure that every child of compulsory school age, who cannot follow mainstream or special education because of their intellectual, emotional, sensory and motor difficulties and who has special needs, receives appropriate instruction in a special education centre or institution or individual help and support from a special education service in mainstream pre-primary or primary schools.

Pupils with special educational needs can benefit from special education support services, including when attending post-primary or post-secondary school.

In accordance with this law, the ‘Service ré-éducatif ambulatoire (SREA)’ was created, which in agreement with the inspector of primary education and the local authorities or the concerned director of post-primary schools, organises support for children who, because of their intellectual, motor, sensory or emotional difficulties, have special needs and require specific pedagogical help during their school time.

The SREA is responsible for pupils with difficulties. The SREA draws up and organises orthopedagogical measures and is responsible for remedial teaching in pre-primary, primary and post-primary schools, according to the propositions made by the Commission medico-psycho-pédagogique nationale (CMPPN).

This commission requires that experts examine a child. This same board selects one or more qualified persons in order to hear the parents’ views or the responsible persons’ opinion about the optimal education for the child. These qualified persons give the board a report on the results. The board proposes options for the child in consideration of these reports. These proposals are communicated to the parents or the responsible person, who can decide between possibilities. The parents’ decision must be taken in the two months following the proposal. If after this time, the parents have not taken any decision, the child can be enrolled in a special education institution or service by decision of the minister.

Mainstream schools

The law of 28 June 1994 on school inclusion allows the participation of children with special needs in pre-school, primary and post-primary schools.

This law adds two new possibilities in schooling:

  • Total inclusion of a child with special needs education in mainstream schools.
  • Partial inclusion in a special needs education centre and supplementary inclusion, for some activities, in a mainstream class.

The law of 28 June 1994 stipulates that pupils with special needs education included in mainstream schools can benefit from support services.

Early years education

Early childhood education begins at the age of three and favours the development of language, as well as emotional, motor, intellectual and social development.

There will be two qualified persons for each class: one teacher for pre-school education and one educational professional.

This teamwork facilitates working in groups, learning differentiation and the inclusion of children with special needs.

Compulsory schooling 

Basic education

The first ten years of education form a coherent and continuous whole which lay the foundations for any later training.

According to the new law on education, pre-school and primary education are now grouped together under the name of ‘basic school’ (Article 1). The mission of basic schools is not limited to teaching children. The law specifically underlines that the school has to contribute to the education of the children and to prepare them for societal life, as well as for work (Article 6),

In order to stress the importance of the first years of educations, the law specifies the missions of pre-school education (Article 7).

Basic education is organised in learning cycles. The first cycle consists of early training (optional) and pre-school education. The three subsequent cycles correspond to primary education and each last two years (Article 1).

The normal duration of one cycle is two years. In exceptional cases, a cycle can be lengthened by one year (Articles 22 and 23). This decision, however, has to remain an exceptional one and must be taken by the teachers in close consultation with the parents.

If a child cannot reach the base of competence in two years, the educational team sets up an appropriate programme for three years. For children with serious learning difficulties, who are at risk of not reaching the bases of competences at the end of the cycle, the school inclusion commission sets up a personalised take-over plan. This programme fixes personal, realistic and demanding objectives (Article 29).

The law allows the possibility to take differentiation measures, ranging from temporary groupings of children of the same or different classes to the permission given to a pupil to follow teaching in a different stage (Article 22). 

Support for children with learning difficulties 

The support measures for children with learning difficulties range from adapting teaching and support by class teachers, to carrying out education in a special education class which is an integral part of basic education (Article 29). 

In order to guarantee a coherent approach to the children with special education needs, one or more multi-professional team(s) is/are created in every inspection district. Consisting of specialists (logopaedic teachers, educationalists, motor function specialists, psychologists, special teachers, etc.), it ensures diagnosis and appropriate provision for these pupils (Articles 29 and 30).

In order to determine the support the child needs, one or more school inclusion commission(s) is/are created in every district. This commission, which replaces the ‘commission médico-psycho-pédagogique (CMPP)’, drafts an individualised plan on the basis of a diagnosis (Article 29). For every concerned family a reference person is appointed, who establishes links with the school inclusion commission (Article 31).

Post-primary education

After the six primary school years or at the age of 12 (normally), the pupil enters post-primary education. Compulsory schooling ends at the age of 16.

The pupil can choose between two types of education:

A. Technical secondary education 

B. General secondary education 

A. Technical secondary education:

Technical secondary education prepares learners for working life. It also allows them to move on to higher education. The duration of these studies can vary between 6 and 8 years depending on the education system and the degree of specialisation. Some high schools offer given specialisations, like ‘Lycée technique agricole’ or ‘Lycée technique hôtelier Alexis Heck’.

Technical secondary education comprises three stages: the lower classes, the intermediate classes and the higher classes, as well as the preparatory stream.

A.1. The lower technical secondary classes 

The lower stage includes the three first years of lower technical secondary classes: 7th, 8th and 9th grade. This stage allows the learners to deepen their general education and to progressively reach the education or occupation corresponding to their abilities and preferences. 

In 7th grade, the teaching plan includes languages (French, German), mathematics, human sciences, natural sciences, technological education and expression, as well as religious and moral instruction or moral and social instruction. A 7th grade ‘adaption’ class is offered to pupils experiencing difficulties in following the established programme. Education here is limited to essential subjects and the class numbers are limited to ensure better support for the learners. 

According to the results obtained in 7th grade, learners are guided towards a ‘theoretical’ or ‘multi-purpose’ 8th grade class. These educational routes can be distinguished by their general orientation, the importance of the subjects taught and the teaching methods. 

Successful completion of the 9th grade allows learners to proceed to technical or vocational education. 

The decision on admission to the 10th grade is taken by the class council according to the learner’s level of success in ‘theoretical’, ‘multi-purpose’ or ‘practical’ 9th grade. The level and the kind of studies or apprenticeship open to learners depend on their performance and on the level they have reached.

PROCI pilot project

The main objective of the ‘lower stage’ (PROCI) pilot project is to allow better guidance of the pupil in 9th grade by directing them to a training programme which corresponds to their abilities and aspirations. The main education sections the project deals with are:

- Programmes: the programmes elaborated in the framework of the project establish the basic knowledge as well as the deeper knowledge and the particular aptitudes for each section. 

- Evaluation: more careful evaluation demonstrates the learner’s knowledge and detects, if necessary, their weaknesses. Different abilities are evaluated separately in languages and mathematics.

- Supervision of the pupils: PROCI pupils normally stay in the same class throughout the lower stage. A reduced teaching team supports the class from 7th grade to 9th grade.

- Orientation procedure, which is done according to the strong points of the pupil. 

The preparatory stream

The preparatory stream gives the pupil the opportunity to:

- be admitted to the lower stage classes;

- be admitted to the vocational section of the intermediate stage; or

- to enter vocational training.

The form of teaching is based on a modular scheme in groups of different levels.

For many pupils, this stream offers an opportunity to enter vocational training.

Classes of fundamental teaching

Within the preparatory stream, classes of fundamental teaching were founded in order to support the educational needs of children with learning difficulties. Children with special needs are mostly included in these classes or in other preparatory stream classes.

B. General secondary education:

Secondary education is provided in ‘lycées’ (high schools). In certain cases, the lower classes are also offered in technical ‘lycées’.

Secondary education comprises seven years, divided into two levels: 

- The lower level of 3 years, including the 7th, 6th and 5th grade;

- The higher level of 4 years, including a multi-purpose class (4th grade) and a specialisation cycle (3rd grade, 2nd grade and 1st grade).

The lower level 

The 7th grade allows the pupil to adapt to secondary education. The teaching language is German, except for mathematics, which is taught in French. Language education includes French, German and Luxembourgish.

In certain ‘lycées’, reinforced German classes are offered to pupils with a sufficient level in French and mathematics, but who have difficulties with German. Two additional German lessons are offered in order to reinforce the normal course. 

When pupils enter the 6th grade, they either opt for classic education (with Latin as a third language) or for modern education (with English as a third language). For the other subjects, the programme is the same in the two divisions. Pupils who choose Latin as a third language start English education in the 5th grade. 

The higher level

The multi-purpose class (4th grade) aims to reinforce the knowledge and to guide the pupil towards one of the seven sections of the specialisation cycle. Except for the Latin class, the programme is the same for all pupils. Initiation classes (chemistry, physics, economics) help the pupils to choose one of the seven specialisation sections at the end of the 4th grade. 

At the end of the 4th grade, the class council, in collaboration with the ‘Service de Psychologie et d’Orientation Scolaires (SPOS)’, advises the pupils on choosing their specialisation. This written advice, drawn up for each pupil on the basis of all the elements at the disposition of the class council and the SPOS, is a recommendation and is not binding. 

Education specialisation takes place in 3rd grade, when the pupil chooses, according to their abilities and his interests, one of the seven sections, namely: 

  • Section A: modern languages
  • Section B: mathematics and computer science
  • Section C: natural sciences and mathematics 
  • Section D: economics and mathematics 
  • Section E: plastic arts
  • Section F: music sciences 
  • Section G: human and social sciences.

Pupils who successfully complete the 3rd grade receive an intermediate certificate. The secondary school leaving certificate is given after completion of the specialisation cycle and after having passed the final secondary education exam. 

Transition period

Pupils who attended the preparatory stream of the technical secondary school mostly continue their studies in a vocational section, which offers the possibility of professional accreditation.

Vocational training reform

The law reforming vocational training was passed on 14 November 2008. It involves structuring the different types of training in a coherent way in order to find a response to the existing challenges, namely:

  • to improve the quality of vocational training with the intention of offering better qualifications to young people, which allows them to better integrate into economic and social life; 
  • to access vocational training throughout life; and
  • to reduce the failure rate and the number of young people leaving school without qualifications.

The reform of vocational training distinguishes four types of vocational training, namely: 

  • basic vocational training aimed at pupils with educational difficulties and leading to the ‘Certificat de capacité professionnelle’ (CCP); 
  • initial vocational training, providing general, theoretical and practical training. It leads, in two separate streams, to two different diplomas: the ‘Diplôme d’aptitude professionnelle’ (DAP) and the ‘Diplôme de technicien’; 
  • continuing vocational training, which allows adults to achieve, maintain or adapt knowledge and vocational abilities; and
  • vocational retraining, which aims at leading to paid employment, and offers vocational retraining and general education courses for jobseekers and workers at risk of losing their jobs.

COIP classes

The ‘cours d’orientation et d’initiation professionnelles (COIP)’ are aimed at young people under 18.

The support is characterised by: 

  • implementing active educational methods: learning through practical situations; interdisciplinary projects taking into account the place of the young person in civil society and in a company; 
  • social and educational framing carried out by specialist teachers; 
  • implementing a validation methodology of the young people’s abilities in order to facilitate access to training leading to qualifications or to the labour market; 
  • developing abilities bases for the COIP classes: oral and written communication, calculation, social and civic education and field training in companies; 
  • organising and evaluating the training periods; the practical abilities to be developed there and to be evaluated are defined by the abilities base; and
  • direct involvement of education agents from the ‘Action locale pour jeunes’; an individual project is developed and subsequently evaluated for each pupil. 

Project to create an ‘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.

Action locale pour jeunes

The ‘Action locale pour jeunes’ (Local assistance for young people) is part of the department of vocational training of the Ministry of Education.

Its tasks are:

  • to organise special measures in order to facilitate the transition from school to work;
  • to find those youngsters who might require its help; and
  • to organise social and pedagogical help for young people in difficulties, when they are already working or when they follow vocational training.

More information is available on the ‘Action locale pour jeunes’ website.

CNFPC – National Centre of Continuing Education

The CNFPC offers vocational training classes in many different fields. One of its main missions is to offer continuing education in vocational training for unemployed people. During this training, youngsters and adults do apprenticeships in different firms. More information is available on the CNFPC website.

Special education services 

Compulsory schooling 

The law of 14 March 1973, creating special education services and institutions, envisages that the government shall ensure that every child, due to their intellectual, sensory and emotional particular needs, shall receive within the special education structures the instruction required to meet their needs or situation. The Minister of National Education is responsible for the educational aspect, the Minister of Public Health for the medical aspect and the Minister of Family for the social aspect of special education.

According to educational needs, the following support structures have been created:

  • an ambulatory resource centre
  • special regional schools and specific institution
  • multi-disciplinary medico-psycho-pedagogical services.

The Minister of National Education assumes responsibility for these structures. Please see the Education Differenciee website for further information.

For every child receiving support within the structures of special education, the ministerial order of 2 May 1991 envisages the establishment of an individual education plan including the following psycho-pedagogical aspects:

  • personal independence;
  • communication;
  • basic school learning;
  • cultural apprenticeship;
  • psychomotor education;
  • social health and hygiene;
  • affective and social development;
  • personal responsibility;
  • initiation to professional life;
  • spare time activities.

The individual education plan aims to:

  • advise the educational and pedagogical work in general;
  • inform the parents about the principal educational options; and
  • permit an approximate evaluation of the child’s progress.

Specialised institutions

Institut pouf Infirmes Moteurs Cerebraux (IMC)

This institution receives children with all sorts of loss, diminution or perturbation of one or more motor functions as a result of encephalic injury. The institution includes a school and a home section, together with a re-education section, a home intervention section and a medical service.

Institut pour Deficients Visuels (IDV)

This institution was created in 1975. Within the framework of special education, the IDV has been transformed progressively into:

  • a centre of production and management of didactic and technological materials adapted to the needs of low vision persons;
  • a training centre for locomotion and daily independence; and
  • a centre of education, training and assistance, offering structures necessary for family, school, professional and societal integration for blind persons in Luxembourg.

Institut pour Enfants Autistiques et Psychotiques

This institution provides education, training, speech and psychomotor re-education for children and adolescents suffering from autism and psychosis.

Centre de Logopédie

This is a school for children who are deaf or hard of hearing and children with speech difficulties.

The institution includes:

  • a main establishment with pre-primary, primary and post-primary classes or groups, vocational training classes or courses, and a boarding school;
  • pre-primary, primary and post-primary classes or groups in different regions of the country; and
  • ambulatory regional courses.

This institution admits children in different sections, i.e. those who:

  • are deaf;
  • are hard of hearing;
  • have speech difficulties.

Centre d'Integration Scolaire

This centre receives children of school age with behavioural problems, for example aggressiveness, withdrawal, refusal to learn, or difficulties in adapting to a group. Educational action is individualised and usually actively involves the parents.

Centre d'Observation de Olm

This centre focuses upon observation and provision for children from 4 to 15 years with behavioural problems. The aim of the centre is the reintegration of the child back into the same structure they had to leave because of their problems.

Les Centres d'Education Differénciée Regionaux

These centres receive children of compulsory school age with various difficulties, mainly children with intellectual disabilities. There are 12 regional centres in Luxembourg. The addresses can be found on the Education Differenciee website.

Transition period

Preliminary vocational centres 

The special education centres in Clervaux, Walferdange and Warken have structures for vocational training. These centres promote the vocational training of young people with disabilities after compulsory schooling. These centres can include:

  • sections for initiation, orientation and vocational training, offering theoretical and practical training in different specialities such as woodwork, metalwork, boarding, painting, cooking, house-keeping and gardening; 
  • a service that ensures integration (if possible) and guidance for the young persons leaving the centre; and
  • a re-education service.

The preliminary vocational centre called ‘Liewenshaff’ is aimed at young people who are socially maladjusted.

Co-operation with other services

Service de Guidance de l'Enfance (Guidance Service for Children)

On 19 June 1990, a guidance service for children in the frame of special education was created. This service offers help to children who, because of educational, psychological, psychosomatic, mental or neurological problems have development and self-fulfilment problems. The service offers consultations and takes responsibility for the child and their environment.

Service Ré-éducatif Ambulatoire (SREA)

According to the law of June 1994 on school integration for children with special needs, this service was created by Grand-Ducal order on 9 January 1998.

This service is responsible for: 

  • children with special education needs (learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, behavioural disorders, sensory disabilities, motor disabilities) integrated into mainstream pre-primary, primary and post-primary schools;
  • parents seeking advice and support; and
  • teachers seeking special help, such as support teaching and special didactic materials.

The working methods are multiple and can be organised as assistance in the classroom or as an individual intervention outside the classroom:

  • psycho pedagogical re-education for children with learning difficulties;
  • responsibility for ill children to avoid learning difficulties because of a long stay in hospital; and
  • other specific interventions by different professionals.

For every child, an individual education plan is established in collaboration with:

  • the class teacher;
  • the person responsible for the child; and
  • other stakeholders.

The SREA’s interventions are organised in collaboration with the team’s professionals under the co-ordination of the person responsible for that sector of education.

The team of each sector includes:

  • the person responsible for the sector;
  • educationalists;
  • specialised teachers;
  • physiotherapists;
  • remedial teachers;
  • speech therapists;
  • pedagogues;
  • logopaedics teachers (hearing impairment); and
  • motor therapists.

Quality indicators for special needs education

Legal provisions in the field entrust the government to organise, to control and to supervise the education.

The Charter of Luxembourg (November 1996) is presented under three headlines: principles, strategies and proposals.

In the field of the strategies, the following statements, which are taken into account in the appreciation and quality of education, are to be considered:

- a flexible education system;

- a positive holistic approach;

- an individual education programme which respects the needs, interests and wishes of the person and aims to provide future autonomy;

- the rights of parents to choose the education they want for their child;

- precise and on-going assessment at all levels, which addresses individual progress, class teamwork and global educational processes;

- information and communication technologies can eliminate barriers, provide access to education and training and to motivation and individualised learning;

- co-operation among those who provide for the needs of the child;

- professional networks and/or multi-disciplinary teams;

- enhanced initial and in-service teacher training;

- the person with special needs in consultation with the parents/guardians is the main partner when making decisions;

- the national authorities should clearly define, improve, finance and implement the legislation which supports integration.

While national laws govern compulsory education, primary curricula are set up by the Ministry of Education and apply throughout the country.

The Ministry of Education controls primary education by the inspectors of primary education. At the local level (municipalities) control is exercised by the local ‘Commission scolaire’.


Share this page: