In Luxembourg, Luxembourgish is the language used to communicate. At school, students are taught to read in German. The languages of instruction at the Basic School (Ecole fondamentale) level are Luxembourgish, German and French.
If a recently arrived student does not know the necessary languages, they may temporarily take a 'welcome class' (cours d'accueil). The goal of this course is to provide students with the necessary language tools to be able to follow the lesson in their regular classes, and to help them integrate as fully as possible into the level that corresponds to their age.
Enrolling in a welcome class
A student joining the basic education program during the school year who does not have a sufficient command of Luxembourgish (1st level), German or French (2nd, 3rd or 4th levels) takes one or more intensive welcome courses each week outside of their 'form class' (classe d'attache) in order to learn the language(s) needed to enter at their grade level.
Pupils register at the education department of the commune where they live, or at the commune Secretariat.
The following items must be presented:
- ID document;
- family record book or marriage certificate and children's birth certificates;
- registration certificate (also available from the census office) and, where applicable, a permanent residence permit or residence permit.
Newcomer children who are entering basic education programs during the mandatory school year are registered further to the decision of a district inspector, in the level 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 students 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 student, which is determined in conjunction with whoever has parental authority, and according to their individual academic 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 their progress and language acquisition. Conversely, students take more classes with their form class.
Organisation of the welcome classes
The goal of the welcome classes is to facilitate student integration into the regular classes (either partially or completely), by providing them with intensive classes in the languages used by the school. Each student is registered in a form class for the level corresponding to their age. To begin with, the student 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.
Students 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 student receives an introduction to Luxembourgish in one or more lessons per week, which may be divided.
Students 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 student 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 a student who knows French. An introduction to Luxembourgish may be given when significant progress in German has been made. A student 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 students 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 student who does not yet know any of the school languages learns German by taking an intensive course. This is also the case for a student who knows French. Subsequently, a student who does not know French takes an introduction to French course, once significant progress in German has been made. A student 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 student who does not know any of the school languages takes an intensive French course. A student who knows German takes an intensive French course. A student 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.
At the end of the 2nd or 3rd level, provided the student has acquired the basic elements of the corresponding skills base, they are fully integrated into a regular basic education class and take the respective curriculum in the 3rd or 4th level. At the end of the 4th level of basic education, the student 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.
Students in these classes will receive education in the language(s) of the school, along with developmental and learning curricula. In theory, students 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, students receive an assessment which documents their progress. This supplements the interim assessment, where applicable.
Teachers, parents and school authorities may request the help of an intercultural mediator, free of charge, who speaks (in addition to the current languages of Luxembourg) one or more of the following languages: Albanian, Cape Verdean Creole, Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, Serbo-Croatian or Russian. Mediators may assist when students 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 help in class.
All information concerning the schooling of children that have newly arrived in the country may be obtained from the Department for the schooling of foreign children (Service de la scolarisation des enfants étrangers) (Phone: (+352) 247 85207) or the Newly Arrived Student Welcoming Unit (Cellule d'accueil scolaire pour élèves nouveaux arrivants – CASNA) (Phone: (+352) 247 85277; firstname.lastname@example.org).
L-1118 - Luxembourg
Postal box L-2926 Luxembourg
Fax: (+352) 247-85123
L-1118 - Luxembourg
Postal box L-2926 Luxembourg
Fax: (+352) 247-85140