Primary education normally lasts for six school years and is usually attended by students between six and eleven years of age. All primary schools are affiliated with a preschool; together they constitute basic education. They are often located in the same school building.
The legal foundation for primary school education is stated in the foundational decree passed by the German-speaking Community parliament on 31 August 1998 and the standard basic education decree passed by the German-speaking Community parliament on 26 April 1999.
The latter decree specifies standards for uniformly and bindingly establishing, closing, re-opening, merging, reorganising, job evaluation, admission requirements, organising working hours, and information on the range of classes for all school administered or subsidised by the German-speaking Community.
The educational objectives aspired to by all schools on behalf of society, so to speak, are first stated in an initial subclause of the foundational decree of 31 August 1998. A subsequent second subclause outlines the educational objectives, which state that students are to be taught as many skills as possible and lead to mastering certain, subject-specific core skills as a minimum requirement, according to the decree of 16 December 2002. In 2006 and 2007, teacher task forces appointed by the ministry initiated fundamental considerations on the issue of skill-based teaching and learning, which lead to formulating general core skills and expected proficiencies in mandatory subjects and establishing general frameworks. On 16 June 2008, the Parliament of the German-speaking Community passed the decree establishing the core skills and frameworks of the education system. Part of these decrees became legally binding for all schools in 2009-2010, and the rest in 2010-2011 or later. The proficiency expectations and frameworks replace the core skills previously mentioned.