In Luxembourg, the State and the municipalities oversee elementary school and work together for the education and the supervision of more than 55 700 children aged in principle between 3 and 11 years.
Organisation of primary education was profoundly renewed by the laws of 2009 and 2017.
Enrolment at the school of the municipality of residence
Public elementary schools welcome children aged between 3 and 11. Every child who is 4 years old before the 1 of September and living in Luxembourg must go to elementary school.
Children who are 3 years old before the 1 of September may, if the parents so wish, attend a pre-school class - an optional year offered by all municipalities. In general, enrolment takes place at the beginning of the school year. Some municipalities accept enrolments for the start of the second and third term. Parents receive an enrolment form from the municipal administration.
The municipality automatically enrols the child in the school corresponding to its child’s place of residence.
Parents moving to a municipality during the year must immediately contact the municipal administration of their residence.
La commune inscrit d'office l'enfant à l'école qui correspond à son lieu de résidence.
Les parents arrivés dans la commune en cours d'année doivent contacter directement leur commune de résidence.
Organisation in cycles
Primary education is organised in four learning cycles.
Cycle 1 corresponds to pre-school education and generally covers three years. It is open for children aged between 3 and 5 years. The first year (early education) is optional.
Cycles 2 to 4 correspondent to primary education.
- cycle 2 is for children aged between 6 and 7 years.
- cycle 3 is for children aged between 8 and 9 years.
- cycle 4 is for children aged between 10 and 11 years.
In principle, each cycle has a duration of two years. At the end of each cycle, the pupil must have acquired the socles de compétences (skills bases), i.e., the learning objectives, to be able to continue with the following cycle.
In exceptional cases, pupils may cover one cycle in one year or take three years to acquire the defined skill bases.
This organisation provides for greater flexibility for the acquisition of skills.
Areas of competence of the municipalities and the State
Municipalities put at the disposal the infrastructures and equipment that are necessary for primary education. They are competent for school organization and approve the school development plan (PDS - plan de développement de l'établissement scolaire).
Since 2009, teachers are appointed by the State and then allocated to a municipality.
The State allocates the necessary resources to each municipality in form of teaching units. In the interest of social justice, the socio-economic diversity of municipalities is taken into consideration for the allocation of teaching units : this is referred to as quota (for further information regarding quotas please go to: Primary education : detailed description).
The actors of primary education
Primary education is subdivided into 15 regional directorates.
Each directorate is headed by a director and his assistant directors. Their role is to supervise the teachers and be the parents’ contact persons for specific issues.
Each class has a main teacher, called class teacher. The teaching and educational staff of the classes of the same cycle in a school form the teaching team of that cycle. Each class teacher continues to be responsible for the pupils of his/her class. The team meetings are managed by the learning cycle coordinator. The team will participle in the development of the school through the school development plan.
Each school has a school committee of which the members are elected among the school staff. The president of the school committee, who is elected for 5 years, supervises the good functioning of the school and oversees the relations with the municipality and the parents of the pupils.
Regular collaboration with parents is essential for the motivation and the progress of pupils.
To assist pupils requiring specific support in class,150 teachers specialised in the schooling of pupils with special needs (I-EBS) are recruited over 4 years and directly intervene in the schools.
For pupils with special educational needs, the support team for pupils with specific needs (ESEB) can advise the school staff as well as the parents of these pupils, either through ambulatory supervision or by submitting the proposal to the inclusion committee to involve a specialised institution.
ESEB staff can comprise teachers, pedagogues, psychologists, curative educators, speech therapists, psychomotricity reeducators and psycho-reeducators, ergo-therapists, social workers, nurses, paediatric nurses, qualified educators, educators and members of the pool of substitute teachers.
The ESEB is under the lead of a deputy director of the primary education directorate.
The municipal school committee monitors the implementation of the school organisation and the school development plans, it reviews the schools’ extracurricular programmes and budget. It includes among others the mayor or the deputy mayor, representatives of the municipal council, representatives of the school staff and of the parents.