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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Continuing professional development for teachers working in early childhood and school education

Belgium - French Community

9.Teachers and education staff

9.3Continuing professional development for teachers working in early childhood and school education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Organisational aspects

Non-school childcare facilities

As part of the reform of the legislation setting the authorisation scheme for early childhood facilities, it is stipulated that "the organising authority shall draw up, in consultation with the staff of the childcare facilities, a continuous training plan in relation to the childcare project and for its duration. The continuous training plan is implemented notably through the participation of the staff in modules included in a continuous training programme set up every 5 years by the Government, on the proposal of the Office of Birth and Childhood (ONE : Office de la Naissance et de l'Enfance). The independent (co-)childminders and the staff of other childcare facilities participate in continuous training in relation to the training plan, up to a minimum of two days per year on average over the duration of the plan".

Furthermore, the Quality Code provides that all childcare settings should encourage childminders, regardless of their basic qualifications, to follow continuous training on the professional nature of the caring function and on the knowledge about the child’s development.  Depending on the sector, more precise obligations are defined.

The objective pursued through these obligations is principally to offer everybody an opportunity to reflect with others on their educational practices, notably in the light of changes that have taken place in the social and educational fields, as well as recent educational methods. The training is even more relevant if it is part of a project, nourished by an overall reflection on childminding, self-reflection, and the input of scientific information and specific knowledge.

For the Free-Time Reception sector, childminders and reception project managers within the CLE programme follow a minimum of 50 hours of continuous training every 3-year period.


The decree setting out the continuing training programme aimed at professionals looking after children aged 0 to 12 years (including parents who look after children in a parents’ day nursery), is reviewed every three years. Its duration will soon be extended to 5 years. In order to support professionals and volunteers in their training obligations, the Office for Birth and Childhood (ONE) subsidises each year a training offer specifically designed for them. For the 2020-2021 cycle, this represents a total of 2,080 days (1,029 for the early childhood sector, 1,031 days for the Free Time Care sector and 19 days with a mixed audience). Within the framework of the subsidised offer, action principles and organisational details are defined : they include promoting geographical accessibility and the fair distribution of provision between the different target groups, ensuring that waiting lists are established to manage registrations, ensuring a balance between knowledge, practical skills, the capacity to develop and interpersonal skills, providing training courses which are specific to the different childcare functions and to the different types of childcare facility, and encouraging training projects defined on the basis of the specific childcare plan. The ONE subsidises three types of training activity: individual training, networked training of professionals and support for teams in the field.

The training programme also aims at supporting the professionalization of the actors in the context of the objectives defined in the decree quality code. Namely :

  • to encourage professionals to engage in a process of reflection and an approach of continuing training ;
  • to aim for a holistic approach to the child ;
  • to introduce support arrangements for action plans which promote reflection by professionals on their practices and which boost professionalism ;
  • to develop reference tools and make them available to professionals.

For the implementation of the programme, the ONE works with 26 approved operators for the early childhood sector (25 are subsidised) and with 30 operators for the Free-Time Reception sector (27 are subsidised).

Alongside the services provided by the Office of Birth and Childhood (ONE), professionals can also count on training subsidised by other sectors, on training support measures (incentives for childminders) but also on the investment of the organising authorities in this area (the French Community Youth Service, training-cheques, etc.).

Pre-primary, primary and secondary education

Two decrees dated 11 July 2002 have defined the arrangements for organising in-service training.

The status of continuing training

Continuing training is obligatory for all definitely appointed or hired teaching staff (as well as for staff designated or hired on a temporary basis if it is included in their schedule) on the basis of 6 half-days a year. Voluntary continuing training (i.e. in addition to these obligatory 6 half-days) is limited to 10 half-days a year in ordinary pre-secondary education if it takes place during the teacher’s working hours, unless there is an exemption. In ordinary secondary education and specialised education, the reference period during which the compulsory training must be taken is three years, and the teacher is limited to 6 half-days per year of voluntary continuing training during working hours. Outside working hours, there are no limits on the duration of voluntary training.

The organisation of continuing training

Continuing training is organised by a specially created Institute for In-Service Training, or at network level (or controlling authority level if the controlling authority does not subscribe to a representation body), or at school level. The Institute for In-Service Training does not directly train the teachers, but makes use of training operators (Hautes écoles, universities, teachers’ associations, continuing education agencies, etc.).

The training operators are :

  • members of the managerial and teaching staff, members of the auxiliary education staff, members of staff of the General Department of Inspection and members of the technical staff of the Centre for Psychological, Medical and Social Services ;
  • other physical persons who are national or international experts ;
  • continuing education agencies and youth organisations recognised by the French Community ;
  • universities ;
  • hautes écoles ;
  • teacher training colleges and institutes ;
  • arts colleges ;
  • social advancement education institutions ;
  • part-time arts education institutions ;
  • architecture colleges ;
  • training centres ;
  • public or private companies ;
  • non-profit associations ;
  • sports federations ;
  • representatives of the Council of Europe, the European Community or the OECD ;
  • the Institute for In-Service Training.

The Government sets the conditions which training operators must additionally meet, in order to accredit their capacity to provide training. In particular, these conditions relate to the operator’s experience, to the training provided in the past, and to the professional and financial guarantees offered.

The Steering Committee is responsible for evaluating and regulating the system.


Training organised by the Institute for In-Service Training is aimed at all institutions organised or subsidised by the French Community (inter-network training). Among other things, the objective of these training programmes is to ensure consistency with the Decree on the Missions of Schools, by ensuring in particular :

  • training in the capacity to implement formative assessment and a skills- and techniques-based pedagogy which makes it possible to achieve the levels defined by the Core Skills ;
  • training in the various forms of differentiated pedagogy ;
  • training in the creation of educational and assessment tools which are adapted to the achievement of the objectives set by the Core Skills.

In addition to these goals, there may be others which are specific to the level of ordinary secondary education and to specialised education.

Pupils during their teacher’s in-service training

In ordinary pre-primary and primary education, classes may be suspended for a maximum of six half-days per year to allow teachers to attend obligatory training. Outside these half-days, arrangements must be made for the pupils of a teacher who is in training. To this end, teachers are replaced by other members of staff, by trainee teachers or, within the limits of the budgets set by the government, by members of staff engaged on a temporary basis or by organised educational, cultural or sporting activities.

In ordinary secondary education and specialised education, arrangements must be made for the pupils of a teacher who is in training, and these are similar to those described for pre-primary and primary education.

Incentives, supporting measures and funding for participation in continuing professional development (CPD) activities

Two decrees dated 11 July 2002 have made in-service training compulsory for teachers in ordinary or specialised pre-secondary and secondary education.

Participation in training organised in application of the decree on in-service training for staff members of educational institutions is free of charge. Teachers have their travel costs reimbursed and receive a meal allowance of €8.70 per day. They normally receive documents prepared by the trainers. Members of staff who are participating in training are considered to be in active service.

On the other hand, since the Arrêté du Gouvernement of 05/06/2014, primary and lower secondary teachers are encouraged to get a specific Master degree in education. Indeed, if they have completed it, they will then receive the salary level of upper secondary school teachers. 

Similarly, teachers who are qualified to teach in upper secondary education but who are employed in lower secondary education can follow a specific 60-hour training course which, if successful, enables them to receive the same salary as if they were teaching at the higher level (Decree of 30 April 2009).