In Luxembourg, Luxembourgish is the language used to communicate. At school, the pupils are taught to read in German. The languages of instruction at the basic educational level are Luxembourgish, German and French.
Recently arrived pupils who do not have the necessary language skills, may temporarily be entitled to take a 'welcome class' (cours d'accueil). The objective of this class is to provide pupils with the necessary language skills so as to be able to follow the course programme in their regular classes, and to help them with their integration into the educational cycle that corresponds to their age.
Who is concerned
This initiative is available to all children between 4 and 11 years of age (independently of their nationality) whose parents have recently moved to Luxembourg.
How to proceed
Enrolling in a welcome class
A pupil joining the basic education programme during the school year and who does not have a sufficient command of Luxembourgish (1st educational level), German or French (2nd, 3rd or 4th levels) to resume school at their grade level, has to take one or more intensive welcome courses each week in addition to their usual class (classe d'attache) in order to learn the language(s) needed for their successful integration.
Pupils must be registered at the education department of the commune where they live, or at the commune's secretariat.
The following items must be presented:
- an ID document;
- the family record book or marriage certificate and the childrens' birth certificates;
- registration certificate (also available from the census office) and, where applicable, a permanent residence permit or residence permit.
Newly arrived children who are entering a basic education programme in the course of the mandatory school year are registered on the decision of the director of basic education, in the school year that corresponds to their age and prior schooling.
Subjects taught and number of lessons
The subjects that may be taught in the welcome courses are:
- intensive German, followed by an introduction to French;
- intensive French, followed by an introduction to German;
- introduction to Luxembourgish;
- mathematics, taught in French, for pupils without sufficient knowledge of German.
The number of lessons and subjects taught in a welcome course are set according to the academic and language assessment for the pupil, which is determined in conjunction with whoever has parental authority, and according to their individual educational training plan, which is prepared at the time of registration by the regular class teacher, in collaboration with the teacher in charge of the welcome classes and the teaching staff.
The number of lessons in the welcome course is gradually decreased over the course of the level, depending on the pupil's progress and language acquisition. Conversely, pupils take more classes with their form class.
Organisation of the welcome classes
The goal of the welcome classes is to facilitate pupil integration into the regular classes (either partially or completely), by providing them with intensive classes in the languages used by the school. Each pupil is registered in a form class for the level corresponding to their age. To begin with, the pupil is enrolled on a limited number of courses with their peers in their form class. Depending on their progress, the extent of this integration is gradually increased.
Pupils who have newly arrived in the country learn the languages intensively, and depending on the language(s) they already know. At the beginning, teaching is limited to a single language;
In the 1st level of basic education, the pupil receives an introduction to Luxembourgish in one or more lessons per week, which may be divided.
Pupils who are registered in the 2nd, 3rd or 4th level and who do not have sufficient knowledge of German or French to be able to take the basic education curriculum are also entitled to take a welcome course. This aims to ensure intensive acquisition of either German or French and, where applicable, an introduction to the other of these two languages.
In the 2nd level of basic education, a pupil who does not yet know how to read and who does not yet know any school language learns German by taking an intensive course. This is also the case for pupils who only speak French.
An introduction to Luxembourgish may be given when significant progress in German has been made.
A pupil who already knows how to read and who does not know any of the school's languages, or French, attends the 2nd year of the 2nd level of education. Such pupils would take an intensive German course. Where applicable, they begin learning French in their form class. An introduction to Luxembourgish may be given when significant progress in German has been made.
In the 3rd level of basic education, a pupil who does not yet know any of the school languages learns German by taking an intensive course. This is also the case for pupils who only speak French.
Subsequently, a pupil who does not know French takes an introduction to French course, once significant progress in German has been made. A pupil who knows German takes an intensive French course. They can began taking the introduction to Luxembourgish course once significant progress in either German or French has been made.
In the 4th level of basic education, a pupil who does not know any of the school languages takes an intensive French course. A pupil who knows German takes an intensive French course. A pupil who knows French takes an intensive German course. They can begin taking the Introduction to Luxembourgish course once they have made significant progress in either French or German.
Provided the pupil has acquired the basic elements of the corresponding skills base at the end of the 2nd or 3rd level, they are considered fully integrated into a regular basic education class and can take the respective curriculum in the 3rd or 4th level. At the end of the 4th level of basic education, the pupil completes the guidance process which regulates the passage from basic education to post-primary education.
Specialised welcome classes
In the event of special needs that go beyond what the commune is able to provide for, one or more specialised welcome classes may be created.
Pupils in these classes will receive education in the language(s) of the school, along with developmental and learning curricula. In theory, pupils do not stay in a welcome class for more than one year. If necessary, they will receive additional support or welcome classes in the following school year.
At the end of each school trimester, pupils receive an assessment which documents their progress. This supplements the interim assessment, where applicable.
International school offer
Over the years, Luxembourg has developed its international school offer. It is currently possible to take an European Baccalaureate, an International Baccalaureate or to follow the British Curriculum.
Some schools also extend their offer to the primary school level.
Primary school level classes
The International School Differdange & Esch-sur-Alzette offers French, English and German speaking sections in primary education.
The Lënster Lycée offers first year primary classes in the English and German-speaking sections.
The Lycée in Mondorf-les-Bains offers first-year primary classes in the French and English sections.
The International School Michel Lucius offers English classes at the primary level that follow the Cambridge curriculum for basic subjects.
Teachers, parents and school authorities can make free use of an intercultural mediator.
Mediators can be present when pupils and parents arrive, translate information about prior schooling in the country of origin, provide oral or written translations, assist with any medical or psychological care related to school, and occasionally also help in class.
Mediators speak, in addition to the languages common in Luxembourg, one or more of the following languages:
- Capeverdian Creole;
- Guinea-Bissau Creole;