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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Support measures for learners in early childhood and school education


12.Educational Support and Guidance

12.3Support measures for learners in early childhood and school education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Definition of the target groups

In Luxembourg, specific support measures are proposed for:

  • Pupils recently arrived in Luxembourg
  • Pupils with difficulties related to at least one of the official national languages (Luxembourgish, French, German)
  • Pupils with special educational needs.

This article will focus on measures for newly arrived pupils and learners who having difficulties with the national languages.

Support measures for pupils with special educational needs are described in articles 12.1 Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education and 12.2 Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education.

Specific support measures

Elementary school

Information and guidance

Recently immigrated pupils and their parents are welcomed and guided by their commune of residence.

Information on schooling is provided in several languages by the ministry of Education, Children and Youth (see the MENJE website).

Moreover, parents can ask for the service of an intercultural mediator who can help, free of charge, with verbal and written translation of documents and, on request, with support in class. A range of different languages are available, together with those usually spoken in the Grand Duchy.

The recruitment and missions of the ministry of Education's intercultural mediators are defined by the grand-ducal regulation of 10 May 2012.

Special lessons

A number of special lessons are proposed in order to integrate pupils who show difficulties with some or all of Luxembourg's official languages (German, Luxembourgish and French).

In elementary education, the offer comprises:

  • Welcome classes (cours d'accueil) proposed to newly arrived pupils aged between 6 and 12 years who do not yet master the national languages. These classes involve intensive tuition of the host country languages. Since 2009, welcome classes have been offered as complementary to regular tuition, the beneficiaries being already integrated as regular pupils in a class corresponding to their age and their former educational career; welcome classes help pupils improve their language skills
  • Remedial lessons (cours d'appui), in addition to the above-mentioned welcome classes; these are offered at communal level to all pupils facing academic difficulties
  • Integrated classes in the pupils' mother tongue (cours intégrés) taught in Portuguese; these courses were introduced in 1983 with a view to preserving and developing pupils' language skills in their mother tongue, thus giving learners a more solid foundation for additional languages.

Since 1991, lessons in Portuguese for Portuguese pupils have been integrated in the regular timetable of some elementary schools. This possibility has been offered by some communes, concerning a range of different subjects, e. g. introduction to the sciences. A survey on the impact of integrated classes was published in 2005. [PDF].

Support within regular lessons

  • Integration into pre-school education and mother tongue assistants: children below the age of six years are integrated into pre-school classes where they learn Luxembourgish; at some early and pre-school level classes (cycle 1 of elementary school), if there is a high proportion of children of Portuguese origin, a so-called mother tongue assistant may be present in class on a regular basis for a certain number of hours per week
  • Intercultural education and language awareness (éducation interculturelle et éveil aux langues): activitis organised by elementary school teachers to encourage all pupils an open attitude towards other languages and cultures. These activities are mainly aimed at arousing the pupils’ curiosity with regard to the similarities and differences between the various languages; develop their ability to observe, analyse and reflect on languages; increase their motivation to learn languages and encourage a positive attitude towards the linguistic and cultural diversity. The didactical material is made available to the teachers by the Ministry of Education and the Centre for Intercultural Documentation and Animation (CDAIC; ikl - Centre de documentation et d'animation interkulturelles).

    The project 'Dat sinn ech' aims at helping children aged between four and eight years to discover cultural diversity.

Secondary education

Information and guidance

Recently arrived pupils aged 12 years and above and their parents are welcomed and guided by the Reception desk for newly arrived Pupils (CASNA; Cellule d'accueil scolaire pour élèves nouveaux arrivants).

Documentation on schooling in Luxembourg is provided by the ministry of Education in different languages (see the brochures on the ministry's website).

Moreover, parents can demand the service of intercultural mediators who speak a range of different languages and help with issues related to schooling and education.

The missions and recruitment of intercultural mediators is defined by grand-ducal regulation of 10 May 2012.

Special classes in 'classical' (ESC) general secondary education

In principle, access to general secondary education is reserved to pupils with very good school results. Pupils may supported by:

  • ALLET classes (allemand langue étrangère): offered at lower general secondary education to pupils leaving elementary education with very good French and mathematical skills, but with weaknesses in German; these classes aim at helping pupils overcome their difficulties in German in order for them to continue secondary education in regular classes; in ALLET classes, German is taught as a totally foreign language, whereas in mainstream education the proximity of German to Luxembourgish makes learning German easier for Luxembourgish speakers
  • International baccalaureate (IB): general baccalaureate offered by 4,583 schools in 150 countries throughout the world. The IB diploma is recognised as a qualification equivalent to the secondary school diploma. Classes leading to an IB in general secondary education address pupils recently arrived in Luxembourg who opt for general secondary instruction in French or English.

Special classes in 'general' (ESG) technical secondary education

  • Welcome classes for pupils aged from 12 to 15 years (classes d'accueil): open to newly arrived pupils during the whole school year; these classes focus on learning French and guide pupils towards an insertion class or a regular class whenever the class council esteems that the pupil is ready. The maximum number of pupils in a welcoming class is fixed at 15
  • Insertion classes (classes d'insertion): introduced in 1989, these classes address pupils between 12 and 15 years old who have attained a good academic level in their native country, but lack the language skills they would need for the Luxembourgish education system; learners in insertion classes follow the regular curricula of lower technical secondary education while being offered more intensive language tuition in French (STF classes) or German (STA classes); pupils wishing to attend insertion classes have to pass an entrance exam
  • Welcome classes for young adults (16 to 17 years) (CLIJA; classes d'accueil pour jeunes adultes): transitory classes offering intensive language tuition in French to prepare young adults either for secondary technical education or for working life
  • Programmes taught in French (classes à régime linguistique spécifique): classes open to learners aged 15 years and above, not exclusively newly arrived to the country; students fulfilling all conditions of access except the ones related to German language get the opportunity to enrol in certain programmes of vocational education and training that are entirely held in French (except for German language lessons). These classes are offered for programmes leading to:
    • Secondary school leaving diploma (diplôme de fin d’études secondaires)
    • Technician’s diploma (DT; diplôme de technicien)
    • Vocational aptitude diploma (DAP; diplôme d’aptitude professionnelle)
    • Certificate of vocational ability (CCP; certificat de capacité professionnelle)