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Eurydice

EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Initial education for teachers working in early childhood and school education

Luxembourg

9.Teachers and education staff

9.1Initial education for teachers working in early childhood and school education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Institutions, level and models of training

Early childhood education and care

Luxembourg’s education landscape includes more than 800 education and care services, mini-crèches and 460 parental assistants who offer educational care spaces to more than 62 000 children aged 0 to 12. These facilities are educational living spaces applying the pedagogical principles of non-formal education to promote the development and well-being of the child. They contribute to providing all children with equal opportunities to start and succeed, regardless of their background.  

The importance of non-formal education in education policy was recognised in 2013 with the creation of a broad-based Ministry of Education, Children and Youth. Since 2016, education and childcare facilities have had a public service mission, which consists in integrating children into the life of their community and preparing them for society and school.

The structural quality of education and care facilities is defined by the amended law of 8 September 1998 regulating relations between the State and bodies working in the social, family and therapeutic fields.

The quality of the educational work of education and care services, mini-crèches, parental assistants and youth centres is essential to foster the development of children and young people and to promote their social integration. The national reference framework for non-formal education for children and young people is the cornerstone of the quality assurance system.

The 2008 Youth Law aims to support educational quality and provides for a quality assurance system to monitor the quality of educational processes.

Childcare and education facilities and mini-crèches as well as youth centres have a quality assurance policy which includes:

  • The obligation to draw up a general concept of action
  • Keeping a logbook
  • The obligation of continous training for the socio-educational staff
  • External evaluation by regional agents.

Childminders (parental assitants) apply a quality assurance policy which includes:

  • The obligation to produce an establishement project
  • The obligation to follow continous training
  • External evaluation by regional agents.

Continuing professional development is compulsory for all ECEC providers. It is specified in particular in the amended grand-ducal regulation of 28 July 2017, in Annex II "Guidelines for the elaboration of the general action concept and the logbook applicable to education and childcare services".

Additionally, guidelines on language education in early childhood care were introduced by the grand-ducal regulation of 1 March 2019 (see Eurydice article 4.3 - Educational Guidelines)."Professionals in the sector (...) need in-depth knowledge about children's language acquisition in mono- and multilingual conditions, which must be imparted to them in the context of initial and continuing training measures."

ECEC providers

Article 7.(1) of the amended grand-ducal regulation of 14 November 2013 on the approval to be granted to managers of childcare and education services specifies the professional competences of ECEC educational personnel:

  • For at least 60% of the hours of childcare in settings for young children, staff members must have either a diploma of secondary education (classic or general) or a recognised higher education qualification in the psychosocial, pedagogical or socio-educational fields

  • For a maximum of 30% of the hours of supervision, the staff may have one of the following qualifications:
    • (a) Authorisation to practise a health profession in Luxembourg
    • (b) Professional qualification (or higher education certification) in the fields of music, art, language, or motor skills
    • (c) Vocational capacity certificate (CCP) or a vocational aptitude diploma (DAP) in the psychosocial, pedagogical or socio-educational fields.

Supervisory staff undergoing training for one of the above-mentionned professional qualifications may only account for a maximum of two-thirds of the 30% quota of supervisory hours.

Parental assistants

According to the law of 15 December 2017 regulating the activity of parental assistance, Art.5, the approval as parental assistants is granted only to persons who can prove that they have the required professional qualification meeting the cumulative following conditions:

1. One of the following training courses:

  • (a) Diploma in the psychosocial, educational, socio-educational or health fields
  • (b) Training certificate for socio-family assistant
  • (c) Training certificate for parental assistance

2. Pre-training in preparation for the practice and organisation of parental care activities

3. Ability to understand and express oneself in at least one of the three languages specified in the law of 24 February 1984 on the language regime.

Persons who have so far only completed the pre-training course may, pending fulfilment of the other conditions above, be granted a non-renewable provisional authorisation for a period not exceeding three years. 

 

Elementary education

Initial training for elementary school teachers is held by the University of Luxembourg. Leading to a Bachelor of Science in Education (bachelor en Sciences de l'Éducation, 240 ECTS credits), this training is based on a concurrent model: From the very beginning, general courses are combined with pedagogical projects and internships inside and outside the school context.

The four-year programme (8 full semesters of study, including 1 compulsory semester at a foreign university) prepares students to work in the 4 cycles of elementary school, in classes of preparatory track of general secondary education, and in the supervision of children with specific and individual needs. It thus replaces the former, separate programmes for primary and pre-school teachers.

Additionally, future teachers may also undergo teachers’ training in foreign countries:

Secondary education

Training of secondary school teachers corresponds to the consecutive model: future teachers first complete higher studies of four or more years in the subject of their choice. In order to get access to the profession, they then take an entry examination (examen-concours), which is organised by the ministry of Education, Children and Youth (MENJE; ministère de l'Éducation nationale, de l'Enfance et de la Jeunesse). Successful candidates get enrolled into a two-year training period (stage pédagogique) during which they are already teaching at a secondary school while attending a teacher education programme at the Training institute of national education (IFEN). The training is organised in modules and leads to a certificate which is issued on the basis of a completed portfolio which has to be evaluated by a commission. At the end of the training, nominated teachers benefit from a one-year period for further training in order to reinforce their professional skills.

Admission requirements

Elementary education

Candidates may study in Luxembourg or abroad. In order to study at the University of Luxembourg, they have to hold a secondary school leaving diploma from a Luxembourgish school or a recognised diploma from a foreign country. Future students further have to take an entry examination (examen-concours d’admission) in mathematics and sciences as well as in reading comprehension in French, German, Luxembourgish and English.

Secondary education

In order to take part in the teacher education programme (formation pédagogique des enseignants du secondaire) organised by the Training institute of national education (IFEN), teacher candidates are required to have successfully passed the entry examination organised by the Ministry of Education. Applicants must meet the followin admission criteria:

  • they need to be citizens of an EU Member State in which they hold citizen’s rights
  • they have to offer guaranties on their morality
  • they have to be physically and psychologically able to teach
  • they have to prove adequate language skills in the three administrative languages: Luxembourgish, French and German. Language teachers must have spent at least two academic years in a country where the target language is spoken.

According to the type of career envisaged, candidates have to hold the following qualifications:

  • Secondary school teachers (A1) need to hold a bachelor and a master diploma
  • Technical education teachers (A2) need to hold a bachelor diploma
  • Masters of technical education (maître d’enseignement technique – B1) need to hold a master craftsman’s diploma (brevet de maîtrise) or an advanced vocational diploma (brevet de technicien supérieur).

Further details concerning the recruitment procedure are given in article 9.2 on teachers' conditions of service.

Curriculum, level of specialisation and learning outcomes

Curriculum definition

According to the law of 30 July 2015 establishing a Training institute of national education (IFEN; Institut de formation de l’éducation nationale), a training period is defined at the beginning of the career for all teachers in elementary and secondary education.

All courses are based on a reference framework of professional competences to be developed by teachers, trainees and employees, (grand-ducal regulation of 22 August 2019), which determines the practical arrangements for the course, the early career training cycle, the teacher training certificate and the period of advanced training.

During the probationary period for civil servant teachers, or the initial training cycle for employees, nine areas of professional competence are to be developed:

  1. Acting as a professional
  2. Integrating one's action into a collective dynamic
  3. Cooperating with parents
  4. Designing and implementing learning situations
  5. Organising the functioning of the class group
  6. Assessing learning
  7. Mastering psycho-pedagogical and disciplinary knowledge
  8. Communicate with pupils and partners inside and outside the school
  9. Mastering information and communication technologies (ICT) applied to teaching.

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes professional competences

(source: IFEN, 2017. Référentiel de compétences professionnelles ciblées pour les stages enseignement fondamental et secondaire)

Teaching staff

Teaching is provided by University staff and by external experts. During their internships, pupils are accompanied by a tutor from the University of Luxembourg and an experienced teacher of the given elementary school (formateur de terrain).

Elementary and secondary education

Curriculum

The programme of the Bachelor of Science in Education is built along three main axes: pedagogy, research and professionalisation.

It aims at developing eight domains of competence:

  1. Conduct independent research
  2. Link theory and practice
  3. Analyse authentic school contexts
  4. Define problems and needs
  5. Develop personal questioning (shared with others)
  6. Design and implement original and innovative teaching practices and/or resources
  7. Document and reflect on teaching interventions
  8. Implement a systematic working approach.

The programme is structured in modules, which take the form of lectures, seminars, tutorials, mentorships, fieldwork and online courses.

During the first two years, students follow compulsory courses, often in the form of lectures. From the 5th semester onwards, lectures are increasingly replaced by seminars. During each semester (expect during the mobility semester), students need to complete a field time (“temps de terrain”). This way, they learn to develop and implement their own interventions as a teacher, taking into account the individual and socio-cultural resources of the students.

The diagram below gives an overview of the programme structure:

Programme structure of Bachelor of Science in Education (in french)

(source: University of Luxembourg)

For teachers qualified to teach in cycles 1-4, the induction course of maximum 2 years consists of three parts:

  1. General training on the legal and regulatory principles concerning public servants and State employees in general and basic education
  2. Special training enabling the teacher to opt for training courses that are part of the offer of the course or the offer of the IFEN (subject to validation by the regional director)
  3. The coaching of trainee teachers by a pedagogical advisor ensure their successful professional integration.

The pedagogical training prepares the basic teachers to:

  • Initiate and develop basic skills in children
  • Teach them to read, write and count.

Secondary education

The teacher education programme (formation pédagogique des enseignants du secondaire) prepares teachers for three fundamental missions:

  1. Developing the pupils’ knowledge and competences
  2. Regulating, evaluating and supporting the pupils’ socialisation
  3. Managing a classroom.

Curriculum definition

The curriculum has been defined in the annexe of a grand-ducal decree regulating teachers' training as well as their probationary period (règlement grand-ducal modifié du 3 août 2010 concernant la formation théorique et pratique ainsi que la période probatoire des enseignants de l’enseignement postprimaire).

The council (conseil de formation pédagogique) will:

  • Issue an opinion on the programme and budget proposals submitted by the teaching institution (the university)
  • Issue an opinion on the implementation of the training (stage pédagogique)
  • Propose the overall direction that should be given to the teacher education programme
  • Evaluate the training according to the agreement that has been concluded between the university and the ministry.

The council is composed of three representatives of the ministry of Education, three principals of general or technical secondary schools and five secondary school teachers.

Reference table of required skills

In order to allow candidates to develop the necessary competences, a reference table of the required professional skills (référentiel des compétences) has been defined in the annex of the training’s regulatory framework.

The contents of the training are organised around these skills:

  1. Communicating with internal and external partners
  2. Setting up a professional project
  3. Understanding the institutional framework of the school system
  4. Managing learning activities – where appropriate, with other teachers
  5. Regulating learning processes in a formative perspective, considering the pupils’ diversity
  6. Mastering information and communication tools
  7. Making use of school-related and sociocultural information concerning the pupils in a multilingual and intercultural perspective
  8. Controlling aptitudes and knowledge in a summative perspective
  9. Linking together psycho-pedagogical knowledge and subject-related knowledge
  10. Helping pupils to become autonomous and to set up their personal project
  11. Conducting a continuous research on one’s own practice
  12. Participating actively in school development
  13. Fostering the pupils’ responsibility at school as well as in their sociocultural environment.

Main principles and domains

The training is organised according to the following principles:

  • Dual system, combining courses at the university with working experience in a secondary school
  • Academic training organised in modules
  • Progressive integration of the student into the education system, by means of a tutorial system.

It addresses four different fields:

  1. Scientific knowledge relating to the teacher’s profession
  2. General didactics focused on providing tailored support for individual learners
  3. Specific didactics relating to the subjects taught
  4. Institutional knowledge relating to the school’s regulatory framework and the expectations of society.

Each student has to realise a personal and professional project in order to be prepared to react effectively to different teaching and learning situations.

Teaching staff

In order to ensure the principles of the dual training system, different categories of teachers have been specified by the above-mentioned grand-ducal regulation:

  • Tutors (tuteurs) ensure the students’ gradual introduction to their teaching mission. They are chosen among the civil servant teachers of those secondary schools which are authorised by to train future teachers. Working under the authority of the school’s principal and in close cooperation with the subject coordinators (coordinateurs de discipline), they are prepared by a specific training provided or authorised by the university
  • Trainers (formateurs) intervene in the different modules and may also act as tutors in a secondary school. They may belong to all kinds of staff employed by secondary schools or by the university
  • Subject coordinators (coordinateur de discipline) are appointed for each discipline. They guarantee the coherence between the theoretical and the practical part of the training, ensure the coordination of the tutoring and conceive different stages and modules of the training. They are chosen among the civil servant teachers and need to have a professional experience of at least three years.

The three different functions are compatible.

The initial training for sports teachers and for language teachers is the same as for teachers of the secondary level.

Teacher educators

The qualifications and trainings for teachers providing teacher education have been presented above.

Qualifications, evaluation and certificates

Elementary education

Certification

As mentioned above, elementary school teachers (instituteurs) should be able to teach children aged from three to twelve years.

Future teachers who successfully accomplish their studies at the University of Luxembourg obtain a vocational bachelor of Science of Education (bachelor en Sciences de l’Éducation) of 240 ECTS credits.

Additionally, qualifications issued in foreign countries may also be recognised:

  • Qualifications issued by EU member States have to correspond to the European commission’s directives on the recognition of diplomas
  • Diplomas issued by non-EU countries have to be recognised by the ministry of Higher Education and Research.

Evaluation

Each course of the bachelor of Science of Education is evaluated by one of the following means:

  • Written test at the end of the term
  • Continual evaluation throughout the term
  • End-of-term work: memo, presentation, essay, project
  • Continual evaluation & written test
  • Continual evaluation & end-of-term work.

Marks are awarded on a scale of 0 to 20 points.

During the last year of the programme, the student has to draw up a scientifically-founded paper (travail de fin d’études) of 18 000 to 25 000 words. Written in German or French, the paper has to analyse an educational problematic related to school life. The paper should demonstrate the student’s aptitude to plan, to conduct, evaluate, analyse and present a work of educational research.

During the preparation of the paper, the student is supported by a tutor. The final work is evaluated by the tutor and a second evaluator.

Secondary education

Certification

The teacher education programme leads to a certification which is recognised by the ministry of Education and which gives its holders access to the probationary period as a secondary school teacher. The certificate contains a grade, which is defined by the Exam Commission.

Evaluation

At the end of the fourth’s term of the teacher education programme, a final report (bilan final) is established by the subject coordinator and by the trainer who has ensured the student’s mentoring (jury de bilan final). If a future teacher has successfully passed the four modules, and if he has compiled a complete portfolio on his learning process, the jury suggests the examination commission (commission d’examen) to validate the portfolio and to award a grade to the student. The grade is proposed by the jury upon consultation with the different trainers (formateurs). If one or several modules are negative, the jury proposes a prolongation of the training period (stage pédagogique) and the student suggests an individual curriculum addressing the weaknesses that have been observed by the jury.

Alternative training pathways

Elementary education

Supply teachers

In elementary education, supply teachers may enter into education via alternative training pathways:

persons wishing to work as supply teachers first have to realise a four-week probationary period (stage) in an elementary school. In order to be admitted to this, they have to hold a secondary school leaving diploma or a recognised equivalent. They further have to pass a test on their linguistic competences in the three official languages Luxembourgish, French and German. Persons who have passed the probationary period are awarded, by the regional governing body (direction de région), a certificate which entitles them to act as supply teachers.

Supply teachers first receive fix-term contracts, which may be transformed into permanent contracts if they successfully pass an in-service training during their first 12 months of service. The training is provided by the Training institute of national education (IFEN; Institut de formation de l'éducation nationale). It foresees a pedagogical and methodological part of 120 hours as well as a practical part. Evaluation is based on exams as well as on a portfolio documenting the teacher’s acquisition of competences, a dossier on classroom work and two in-class learning activities. Successful teachers are awarded a training certificate (certificat de formation), which allows them to obtain a permanent contract.

Secondary education

Apart from secondary school teachers who follow the teacher education programme of the University of Luxembourg, the Minsitry of Education may engage so-called teaching assistants (chargés d'éducation). Employed as public employees (employés d’État), they ensure teaching as well as extracurricular activities.

Chargés may only be engaged for a minimum of 10 lessons per week and if no certified teacher is available.  They have to hold a bachelor’s diploma or, for subjects such as arts and crafts, a master craftsman’s diploma. Just as secondary school teachers, they have to master the three official languages.

During their first year of service, chargés have to attend a 60-hour in-service training, which is organised by the IFEN. Chargés d'éducation who have successfully passed the programme and obtained a qualification certificate (certificat de qualification) may be included into the national reserve (réserve nationale de chargés d'enseignement pour les lycées et les lycées techniques) under a permanent contract as public employees.