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Education And Schools

Luxembourg - Education And Schools

Luxembourg is a wealthy country which has made education compulsory for all children. Most children enrol at state maintained schools, which don’t have tuition fees. As a result, adult literacy rates in the country are at around 99 percent. However, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) compared the educational achievements of 15 year olds in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries in 2015 and found that Luxemburg performed below the OECD average in science, mathematics and reading.

Children must, by law, be enrolled with a school for full time education from the age of 4 until they are 16. Schools may not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion or language. Parents’ status has no bearing on their child’s rights to an education or the legal compulsion for them to attend school.

Children are expected to attend their local school, within their local government community. As an expat, you can send your child elsewhere, but the process will not be easy. Given that the national curriculum is supposed to be delivered in all schools and using the same textbooks, each school aims to deliver the same educational experience. External data about school performance is not available, so you have no league tables to review when identifying school options.

Teachers are employed by the central department for education, a significant change from the pre-2009 recruitment system, in which local government appointed teachers. Pre-school and elementary teachers must have a bachelor’s degree as a minimum, whilst teachers in secondary school must possess a master’s degree.

Financial resources for elementary schools are allocated by central government to local government according to population needs. These take into account pupil numbers, but also the wealth and education levels of local communities, to ensure children from poorer households are given additional support and resources to overcome their barriers to education. Secondary schools are funded directly from central government.

Children start their school day between 8 and 9am, depending on their age. Between 11.45am and 12noon, children are expected to go home for lunch. In the modern world, this can be difficult for some families, so many schools have set up a lunch club at school. You will be asked to pay a daily fee, based on food and staffing costs, and places are limited.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, all pupils have the afternoon off. A lot of clubs and classes are run during this period, giving children the chance to develop sporting, artistic and musical skills outside the classroom. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, children return to school for 2pm, where they will be in lessons for a further two hours.

When school finishes, children can stay at an after-school club if there is one provided. A fee will be charged to cover staffing and overhead costs.

Class sizes are typically, small ranging from 16 or 17 pupils to around 29 pupils in larger schools.

Almost one in five children in Luxembourg were born abroad, and the majority of the school population cannot speak Luxembourgish. The country is keen to promote cohesion and integration, so language skills are at the core of the education system.

The numbers of international children are so high that the state has three elements of support dedicated to helping these families. The department of schooling for foreign children, the school reception unit known as CASNA, and the intercultural mediators are all sources of help and information aimed at helping children access and succeed in local schools.

The Luxemburger Wort, which is an online newspaper with pages available in English, publishes school term dates. Whilst different types of schools will have differing dates, meaning elementary schools and secondary schools may differ, state schools of the same type will have the same term dates.

The new school year starts in early September, with a week-long half term break starting in late October and running into early November. The Christmas holidays start in mid-December, but end as early as January 1st. The middle of February sees a week-long break for the country’s carnival. March and April see a two-week Easter holiday. Whitson bring another week-long holiday in mid-May, before the summer break arrives in mid-July.

Pre-school education in Luxembourg is normally delivered in an environment where adults and children speak Luxembourgish to each other. From grade one, when the children are six years old, they will be taught in German. French is introduced in grade two, and English will be taught as a foreign language later.

When children reach the age of 12, they will attend either an academic school or one tailored towards a technically based education. The child’s elementary school will recommend the best option for your child, based on the assessment tests taken throughout the year. Up to three tests per subject may be taken each term, so that teachers have a good selection of data on which to base their recommendations.

Technical schools will deliver their curriculum in French or German, depending on the language skills of their pupils, but from grade seven onwards, this reverts to French only. These schools aim to prepare pupils for work, but also deliver a wide range of subjects to study.

Those attending a classically designed academic school will be taught in both French and German, and will be expected to be fluent in both. English will be taught as an additional language, and many will also include Latin classes.

Between the ages of 16 and 19, pupils can attend a local lycée général (general high school). Some of the these also provide vocational training.

Students who successfully complete their higher-level studies will graduate with a diplôme de fin d’études secondaires (school leaving certificate). Students whose focus is technical rather than academic will receive a certificate of aptitude.

There is a small number of private schools in Luxembourg, most of which receive some funding from the state and follow the national curriculum. If you are looking for something different and have the means to pay, international schools and international baccalaureate schools may provide the solution.

St George’s International School, which teaches according to the English and Welsh curriculum, and the European School, which offers a breadth of international lessons and languages across two school sites are both popular international schools in Luxembourg City.

Luxembourg’s first International Baccalaureate (IB) school opened in 1994. Today, four schools offer the IB curriculum that leads to a diploma. The Athénée de Luxembourg and International School of Luxembourg deliver their teaching in English, whilst the Fräi-Öffentlech Waldorfschoul Lëtzebuerg and Lycée Technique du Centre both teach in French. The IB diploma is an internationally recognised alternative to the Luxembourgish school leaving certificate.

Due to its small size and population, the nation only maintains one university, which was established in 2003. The University of Luxembourg has three separate faculties, offering a range of bachelor and postgraduate degrees. Master’s and doctorate degrees are offered on a research basis. Some technical secondary schools also offer higher education courses, in the areas of business and management, healthcare and the arts.

However, a number of overseas universities have set up sites in Luxembourg, providing a wider range of study opportunities.

Students on most bachelor degree courses do not pay tuition fees, including those who arrive from abroad. An enrolment fee will be charged, which is a few hundred Euros a year depending on the course.

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

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Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.