Enrolling a young person in the public general secondary education system

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After completing primary education, students are guided towards the different education paths in the public general secondary education system or the public technical secondary education system. Each path offers a specific type of education. Theoretically, it is possible for a student to switch from one type of education to another, especially in the first 3 years. School is compulsory for young people up to 16 years of age.

General secondary education (lycée classique) seeks to transmit general knowledge in subjects such as literature, social sciences, mathematics, natural sciences, economics, and the arts, and culminates in the awarding of a secondary school leaving diploma that enables access to universities and other higher education institutions. General secondary education comprises 7 years of schooling and is free of charge. The first year is called 7e (septième) and the last 1re (première).

For the first 3 years, i.e. from the 7e to the 5e, the language of instruction is German for all branches of study except for French and mathematics. English is taught starting in the 6e (modern education stream), or the 5e (traditional education stream, Latin section). Starting in the 4e, all branches are taught in French except for German and English classes, in which the target language is used.

Some private schools also offer general secondary education.

Alongside the public education system, there are alternative education structures which also offer general secondary education.

Who is concerned

Students who have completed primary education and whose guidance decision (that certifies satisfactory knowledge in the the basic subjects taught in primary education) is favourable for this education pathway.

How to proceed

Conditions for admission and enrolment in a lycée.

Conditions for admission

A student is admitted to a 7e secondary education class based on a guidance decision drawn up by the guidance board at the end of Level 4 of the basic education system (6th year of primary school) and sent to the student's parents by post.

To register, the student must adhere to that guidance, although an appeals process is available should their parents disagree with the decision.

The enrolment process

The form used for enrolment in a general secondary education school (lycée) must be obtained from the student's teacher.

In theory, the student is free to choose the secondary school they wish to attend. If the number of enrolment applications exceeds the number of available places, the student is enrolled in a secondary school located in the catchment area for the commune where they live, offering the type of education specified in the guidance decision that was issued at the end of the basic education programme.

The secondary school enrolment application file must contain:

  • the original copy of the guidance decision, or of the document certifying the successful outcome of their appeal;
  • a duly completed application form (to be obtained from the teacher);
  • a photocopy of the report card from the last year of basic education, certified as conform by the school teacher.

The registration period is from the end of June through the beginning of July. After enrolling, the parents will receive confirmation from the lycée director, who will provide the following information:

  • date of the first day of school;
  • supplies to be purchased;
  • code of conduct and internal regulations of the institution;
  • institution profile and guidelines;
  • school charter.

Structure of general secondary education

General secondary education (lycée classique) comprises 7 years of study (from 12 to 19 years of age) divided into two levels or divisions:

  • the lower division (classes of 7e, 6e, and 5e);

  • the upper division, consisting of a general (polyvalent) year (4e), and 3 specialisation years (classes of 3e, 2e, and 1re);

In both the lower and upper divisions, students are continuously assessed and receive an end-of-year academic report card indicating whether they have successfully completed their year and whether they have been admitted to the next higher year. There is no end-of-year examination.

Lower division

The 7e class is meant to enable students to adapt to secondary-school education and give them an idea of their chances of success in this type of education.

Except for French and mathematics, which are taught in French, the language of instruction is German. Languages taught include French, German and Luxembourgish.

In some lycées, enhanced German classes (Allet classes) are offered to students who have an adequate level in French and mathematics but who are behind in German. Allet-class students have 2 additional German lessons.

In all 7e classes in the general secondary education and public technical education (EST) systems, including classes in the preparatory stream and reception classes, the focus is on a skills-based approach to teaching German, French, mathematics, natural sciences and arts education.

The lower division comprises 3 years: the secondary education (ES) classes of 7e, 6e and 5e.

In contrast to the traditional system of marks and averages, the skills-based approach gives a more nuanced picture of the student's learning process by placing the emphasis on their successes.

On entering the 6e, the student chooses:

  • either the traditional education stream (with Latin as a 3rd language; English is taught from the 5e);
  • or the modern education stream (with English as a 3rd language).

For the other branches, the programme is the same for the 2 streams.

The structures are such that students can switch from one education stream to another, especially in the first 3 years.

Upper division

The upper division comprises 4 years of study: the 4e, 3e, 2e and 1re. It consists of a general (polyvalent) year and 3 specialisation years.

General (polyvalent) year (4e)

The goal of this year is to consolidate the knowledge acquired over the previous years, and to guide the student toward one of the 7 specialisation-year sections. Other than the Latin course, the programme is the same for all students. Introductory courses in chemistry, physics and economics help students in their choice of 1 of the 7 specialisation-year sections.

At the end of the 4e, the class guidance counsellor, in collaboration with the Psychosocial and Scholastic Assistance Service (Service psycho-social et d'accompagnement scolaires - SePAS), provides students with guidance as to their choice of specialisation in the form of a written opinion. The opinion, which is drawn up individually for each student on the basis of the elements available to the class guidance counsellor and the SePAS, is only a recommendation and is not binding.

Specialisation years (3e, 2e and 1re)

Specialisation begins in the 3e class, in which the student chooses, depending on their capacities and interests, 1 of the 7 proposed sections, i.e.:

  • Section A: modern languages;
  • Section B: mathematics and computer sciences;
  • Section C: natural sciences and mathematics;
  • Section D: economic science and mathematics;
  • Section E: plastic arts;
  • Section F: musical sciences (simultaneous attendance at a conservatory or school of music);
  • Section G: humanities and social sciences.

On successful completion of the 3e, the student is awarded an intermediate certificate attesting to the successful completion of 5 years of post-primary education.

On completion of the specialisation years, and after having passed their secondary school leaving examination, the student is awarded the secondary school leaving diploma.

Who to contact

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