Inspection and quality monitoring of formal and informal education in all phases of children's and young people's development falls within the remit of the ministry of Education, Children and Youth (MENJE) and the services placed under its authority.
This centralised approach aims to achieve coherence among all types of educational pathways, at all levels and across all pathways, with the aim of undertaking relevant systemic improvements.
Early Childhood and School Education (ECEC)
The ministry of Education, Children and Youth (MENJE) manages the ECEC providers' accreditation and the quality monitoring of the ECEC structures. ECEC centres' accreditation by the MENJE is based on the amended law of 8 September 1998 regulating relations between the State and organisations working in the social, family and therapeutic fields. The amended grand-ducal regulation of 14 November 2013 specifies the requirements and obligations to which ECEC service providers have to comply.
For more information, please see Education and care service for children – accreditation on the government website for citizen information.
Within the ministry of Education, Children and Youth (MENJE), the National Youth Service (SNJ) established by the law of 24 April 2016 ensures the control and monitoring of educational quality of non-formal education providers (education and reception services, parental assistants, youth centres). On the website enfancejeunesse.lu, the SNJ presents a range of publications on various aspects of non-formal education.
Quality assessment and monitoring in ECEC settings or with parental assistants is carried out by some twenty regional officers working for the National Youth Service (Art. 35 of the law of 24 April 2016). The SNJ's regional officers inspect each education and care establishment and each parental assistant on average twice a year. They check, among other things, the logbook (respectively the establishment's development project) and the staff or parental assistant's continuous training activities.
The National Office for Children (ONE) is a public administration of the ministry of National Education, Children and Youth, responsible for the implementation of social assistance to minors and young adults in psycho-social distress (law of 16 December 2008). This service offers assistance tailored to the needs of the child and/or family in order to improve the family situation.
Several services operate under the authority of the MENJE carrying out studies and analysis while supporting the quality assessment of the educational provision and the overall school system. The result of their observations is submitted as recommendations to the MENJE.
- Since 2018 (loi du 13 mars 2018), Luxembourg has an independent evaluation structure for the overall assessment of the school system, the National Observatory on School Quality (ONQS). This body has the mission to ensure the systemic consistency and quality of education in all educational pathways and at all levels. Its area of competence covers from the beginning of elementary school (from early childhood education onwards) to the end of secondary education. The ONQS's factual findings and analysis of the school system as it is currently operating are the starting point for possible improvements and reforms. Its factual findings and analysis of the school system as it is currently operating are the starting point for improvements and reforms. Each year, the Observatory publishes a thematic report on a priority area selected jointly with the minister of Education. Once every three years, it publishes a national report on the school system (see: Evaluation Report 2020).
In order to complete its information on the current situation of the school system, the Observatory may meet with national representations of parents, pupils, students, teachers, and municipalities, as well as with professional chambers.
- The Coordination service for educational and technological Research and Innovation (SCRIPT) is in charge of the implementation of educational policy priorities and thus contributes to the development of school quality. In cooperation with research institutes, SCRIPT coordinates educational research activities at national level.
Elementary education (pre-primary and primary levels)
Inspection and quality monitoring of elementary schools is carried out at regional level by the 15 directorates of elementary education. Following consultation with the presidents of the school committees, the directorates of elementary education arrange the appropriate measures for school inclusion, monitor the implementation of the school development plans and determine the priorities for the school staff's professional development. Within the directorate of elementary education, a deputy director is responsible for the inclusion of pupils with special needs. He/she heads the committee on inclusion. The support teams for pupils with special educational needs (ESEB) are part of the directorates.
In secondary education, school projects are promoted, managed, coordinated and evaluated independently by the Coordination service for school establishment projects (CCPÉ; Centre de coordination des projets d'établissement), which is a legally and financially independent structure operating under the authority of the MENJE. Its aim is to foster school development in accordance with the identified needs of each school.
The Luxembourg Centre for Educational Testing (LUCET) is a research and transfer centre of the Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences at the University of Luxembourg. Its activities focus on research and development projects in the context of national and international assessment programmes (e.g. standardised tests, PISA, etc.).
The mission of the School mediation service (Service de médiation scolaire) is to support school integration at the individual level by dealing with specific complaints and intervening in difficult situations. The objective is to obtain the retention in secondary school of young people at risk of dropping out. Furthermore, the service aims at improving the inclusion of pupils with special needs. It also intervenes to improve school integration of children with an immigrant background. The school mediators' website informs the target audience (parents of adult pupils, adult pupils and education professionals) about recourse and assistance. The mediator interacts with educational institutions and the minister to find solutions and possibly improve the education system. The mediation service's intervention may be asked after all other forms of appeal within the system have been exhausted.
The instruments put in place to support the development of school quality involve several school partners.
1- In elementary schools, the development and implementation of projects involve following stakeholders:
- School committee and its president
- Communal council and school commission
- Parents' representatives
- Pedagogical teams
- Regional directorate.
2- In secondary schools, school development schemes and school projects are part of the relative autonomy of schools (amended law of 25 June 2004 on the organisation of secondary and technical schools, Art. 7). The projects are designed and implemented in a process involving the school community:
- School principal
- School development unit (CDS; cellule de développement scolaire, composed of members of the school management and the school conference and assigned by the principal for a renewable period of 3 years), with the support of the CCPÉ
- Education Council, composed of teachers', students' and parents' representatives, for approval of the activities defined in the school autonomy context, and of the distribution of the budget.
Approaches and methods for quality assurance
Early Childhood and School Education (ECEC)
In the field of early childhood education and care (ECEC), the ministerial agreement which gives the providers professional their authorisation represents an external quality assurance mechanism. The structural quality of establishments is guaranteed by the amended law of 8 September 1998 regulating relations between the State and organisations working in the social, family and therapeutic fields.
In order to be entitled to work as a professional, all child and youth care providers must hold a licence issued by the ministry of Education, Children and Youth (MENJE).
The criteria and conditions under which approval is granted are set out in the amended law of 8 September 1998 regulating relations between the State and organisations working in the social, family and therapeutic fields. This law also specifies the terms and conditions for financial support from the State.
The quality of childcare and non-formal education facilities is assessed according to two main criteria:
- Structural quality: child-educator ratio, group size, available infrastructure, etc.
- Process quality: pedagogical approach of the educational team, programme of activities, interaction between educators and children or young people.
The National Youth Service (SNJ) describes on its website which quality assurance measures have to be applied in childcare and non-formal education settings in order to qualify for state financial support. The following information applies to ECEC:
- Legal basis of the service voucher system: amended law of 4 July 2008 on Youth (unofficial coordinated text for practical use by providers of childcare and education services)
- Explanations on quality assurance in childcare centres
- General action concept and logbook for education and care services
- Guidelines for the establishment project, the activity report and the quality assurance for parental assistants.
The guidelines to be followed in the action field of non-formal education include the national reference framework on non-formal education for children and young people. This framework is binding for all child and youth services receiving financial support from the State, for the various education and childcare services and for childminders who provide home-based services, insofar as they participate in the childcare voucher system.
Monitoring is carried out by the ministry of Education, Children and Youth, and coordinated within the SCRIPT (Service de coordination de la recherche et de l'innovation pédagogiques et technologiques) by the division of data processing on the quality of school support and educational provision. It involves a set of national and international tests.
These tests are designed to assess students' learning achievements in different areas of competence and at key moments in their educational pathway. Monitoring is carried out in elementary education as well as in the lower cycle of secondary education.
The results obtained by the students on these tests represent a snapshot, at a given moment, of their academic skills in various disciplines. They thus cannot reflect the improvement achieved by the students as they have been learning.
Since the start of the 2017/18 school year, elementary schools and high schools are required to draft a school development plan (PDS; plan de développement de l’établissement scolaire). Each school defines its own approaches in the policy areas essential to the success of its students. There are six areas for elementary schools and seven for secondary schools. For each of these areas, national objectives are specified in a reference framework. Schools and lycées are autonomous in their choice of practices deemed best suited to the needs of their pupil population.
Elementary education (pre-primary and primary levels)
15 teachers specialised in school development (I-DS) are assigned to the Coordination service on educational and technological Research and Innovation (SCRIPT).
Article 12bis of the law of 29 June 2017 specifies the policy fields concerned by the PDS in elementary schools:
- Quality improvement of learning and teaching
- Assistance to pupils with special or specific educational needs
- Organisation of pedagogical support and measures for support and differentiation
- Cooperation and communication with parents
- Integration of information and communication technologies
- Cooperation with the education and childcare service.
The ministry's 15 directorates of elementary education organise following tasks at regional level:
- Administrative management and pedagogical supervision of the schools in their region
- Consultation and support for professionals
- Professional integration of young teachers and educators
- Management of relations between teaching staff within schools and external relations (school-pupil and school-parent issues).
In consultation with the school committees' presidents, the directorates organise the measures for school inclusion and monitor the implementation of the school development plans.
In addition, they set priorities for the professional development of stakeholders in order to support effective and trust-based collaboration between schools and non-formal education and care providers.
Support for secondary schools is provided by staff from the SCRIPT's Division of school development, whose role is to provide assistance to the school development units, which are responsible, among other things, of drawing up the PDS. Each school is offered individual and personalised follow-up.