Luxembourg's elementary school is structured in 4 learning cycles, the last three of which are in primary education. This chapter deals with primary education, i.e. cycles 2 to 4 of elementary school:
- Cycle 2 concerns children aged 6 to 7 years
- Cycle 3 is for children aged 8 to 9 years
- Cycle 4 is for children aged 10 to 11.
As for elementary school's pre-primary cycle 1, it is intended for children between the ages of 3 and 5 and corresponds to early and pre-school education (see Chapter 4, ECEC provision for children of 3 years and more). In Luxembourg, children have a legal right to schooling from the age of 3. Compulsory education begins at the age of 4.
Public and private elementary education aim at gradually developing:
- Pupils’ competencies in languages, mathematics and science
- Their intellectual, emotional and social aptitudes as well as their capacity for judgement
- Their awareness of time and space as well as their understanding and respect for the world around them, gained through observation and experimentation
- Their motor skills, athletic and physical abilities
- Their manual, creative and artistic skills
- Their sense of citizenship, responsibility and respect for others.
The objective is to make learners able to pursue their education and to carry on learning throughout life.
(Art. 6 of the modified law of 6 February 2009 on the organisation of elementary education, Coordinated Text on 20 September 2018, Education Code p. 117).
The main laws concerning elementary education are the laws on:
- Compulsory schooling: modified law of 6 February 2009 on compulsory schooling
- Organisation of elementary education: modified law of 6 February 2009 on the organisation of elementary education
- Elementary school staff: modified law of 6 February 2009 on elementary school staff
- Study plan: modified grand-ducal regulation of 11 August 2011 establishing the study plan for the four cycles of elementary education.
Types of institutions
Primary education is provided by public, private and international elementary schools. Public schools' infrastructures and equipment, as well as operating costs are borne by the communes. Teachers' salaries and the facilities' initial construction costs are borne by the State. In accordance with the law, each elementary school has to provide the 4 learning cycles, maintain a library and ensure that students have access to information and communication technologies (ICT). A school may consist of one or several buildings.
The vast majority of elementary schools offering primary education in Luxembourg are public institutions. There is only one private school offering the official Luxembourg curriculum.
In 2019/20, out of a total of 57 432 pupils enrolled in elementary schools, 89% (51 003 pupils) were registered in public elementary schools. Of these, 98% (49 910 pupils) followed the Luxembourg national curriculum and 2% (1 093 pupils) were enrolled in an international curriculum offered within the public school system.
In that same school year, 11% (6 429 pupils) of all elementary school children were enrolled in private establishments, most of them (98%) in alternative educational pathways. Only 105 children enrolled in private schools were following the official national curriculum, making up 0.2% of the 50 015 pupils following the Luxembourgish national syllabus.
(source: MENJE, 2020. Chiffres de la rentrée 2020-2021)