In Luxembourg, school attendance is compulsory from age 4 to 16. However, children children can start Spillschoul as early as age 3.
What are the different cycles of elementary school in Luxembourg? How do you enroll your child? What extra-curricular support is available? Which organizations can support you throughout your child's school career? You'll find all the answers on this page.
School rhythm in Luxembourg
The start of the school year in Luxembourg generally takes place on September 15 and ends on July 15. Schoolchildren are entitled to one-week vacations:
- one week in November for the All Saints' vacation
- two weeks in December/January for the Christmas period
- one week in February for the carnival vacations
- two weeks' vacation in March/April for the Easter period
- a week in May/June for Pentecost.
Other international private schools may apply a different school rhythm. Please contact the school concerned for further information.
Basic schooling in Luxembourg
General operation of the basic school
Luxembourg's basic school system caters for children up to the age of 12. Schooling is a right in Luxembourg, regardless of gender, race, religion or language.
Any child registered in a commune is automatically enrolled in the public school of the commune of residence. However, parents can also choose to send their child to a private school of their choice, either an international school or a Luxembourg school.
Basic education in Luxembourg is provided for children for the first 9 years of their schooling. School attendance is compulsory for all children over the age of 4, as of September 1 of the current year.
Primary school education is divided into 4 basic learning cycles. From the age of 4, children must attend school until they are 12. If they remain in the Luxembourg school system, they will then attend a Luxembourg high school.
As a general rule, children attend school 3 full days, Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8am to 4pm, with a 2-hour lunch break, and 2 half-days in the morning on Tuesday and Thursday.
Cycle 1 Education "Précoce" and preschool "Spillschoul
Cycle 1 for children aged 3 to 5
Cycle 1 is designed for children aged 3 to 5. Precocious" schooling is optional from ages 3 to 4, then compulsory for the 2 years of pre-school known as "Spillschoul" from ages 4 to 5.
A child can optionally enter early education from the age of 3. Up to the age of 4, you can choose to have your child looked after or cared for at home. Any child who has reached the age of 4 by September 1 must start school in the current year.
Learning in cycle 1 of the basic school
Cycle 1 of early education promotes children's socialization. It aims to develop intellectual curiosity and cognitive skills. Exchanges take place in Lëtzebuergësch, regardless of the child's mother tongue. Lëtzebuergesch is the lingua franca of all children who have attended the Luxembourg public school system. However, children are now introduced to the French language at this stage.
Cycles 2, 3 and 4 of the basic school
How cycles 2 to 4 work for children aged 6 to 11
From the age of 6, children join cycle 2 of the basic school for 2 years. Cycles 2.1 and 2.2 correspond to the start of basic schooling. It covers children aged 6 to 7.
Cycles 3 and 4 also run for 2 years. Cycles 3.1 and 3.2 are for children aged 8 to 9, and cycles 4.1 and 4.2 are for children aged 10 and 11 before they enter high school.
Learning in cycles 2 to 4 of the basic school in Luxembourg
Cycles 2 to 4 promote language learning. This is the major strength of Luxembourg's basic school system.
During the 6 years of elementary school, children learn to read and write in German. This is the traditional language of literacy and learning from Cycle 2 onwards. They will also learn French.
Some Luxembourg schools test French-language literacy.
Subjects taught include German, mathematics, science, drawing, singing and music, etc. History-geography is taught from cycle 4 onwards. The aim of each cycle is to enable children to acquire a range of skills and competencies that will enable them to move on to the next cycle.
At the end of the 6 years of basic elementary school, children then logically joinLuxembourg's secondary education system, or lycée.
Public basic school enrolment
When you register with your commune of residence, your child is automatically enrolled in the commune's public school.
As a result, as soon as your child reaches the compulsory school age of 4, you will automatically receive an invitation to the next school year. Your child will then join your local basic school.
However, you can choose to send your child to a public school outside your commune of residence. To do so, you must submit a request to the local administration of the school in question before May 1 preceding the next school year.
You can also choose to send your child to a private school. In this case, you'll need to provide your local authority with a certificate of attendance, attesting to the fact that your child is properly enrolled.
If you registered in your commune after March 1, or if you do not receive a letter by April 15 before the start of the school year, please contact your commune's education department directly.
Language teaching in Luxembourg schools
In the Luxembourg system, teaching is based on the country's 3 official languages : Lëtzebuergesch, German and French. Spillschoul" has traditionally been based solely on spoken Lëtzebuergesch. Very recently, it was decided to integrate French at this stage.
As soon as they enter cycle 2 of basic education, children start learning to read and write in German. They continue to learn different subjects in German, and reinforce their knowledge of French .
Lëtzebuergësch remains the main language of communication between students and teachers throughout the Luxembourg school system.
Guidance after primary school in Luxembourg
Principle of post-basic school orientation from cycle 4.1 onwards
Secondary education in Luxembourg begins at age 12, with entry to the lycée. Enrolment depends on the number of places available, based on a geographical school map.
As early as cycle 4.1, find out about the range of schools in Luxembourg to determine your child's orientation. However, it is possible to enroll your child in a private or public international or Luxembourg high school, outside the school map. Your child's admission will be based on a dossier. You will need to provide proof of your child's schooling to your commune of residence, in the form of a school attendance certificate.
Classical or general stream orientation process
From cycle 4.1 onwards, regular quarterly parent-teacher interviews help prepare the child's orientation. A total of six interviews determine the child's orientation towards "classical" or "general" secondary education.
A first opinion on this orientation is formulated at the end of cycle 4.1 by the teachers. The end-of-cycle report and the interim report are given to parents during the second interview at the start of the 3rd term of cycle 4.2. The orientation interview takes place during the 3rd and final interview of cycle 4.2.
French, German and mathematics are the 3 main subjects that determine entry to lycée. The classical stream is reserved for the best students.
The orientation decision is based on the child's academic results over the 2 years of Cycle 4 (4.1 and 4.2) and on specific assessments. If parents wish, they can also consult a psychologist.
Would you like your child to follow the curriculum and programs of your home country, or a private school? See our page on international schools.
La Maison Relais, a public after-school care facility
When you register with your new commune of residence, remember to find out about the childcare facilities available at the local Maison Relais or Foyer Scolaire. Children are looked after there outside school hours. Maisons Relais usually also provide lunch.
Priority is given to children attending local schools. Opening hours range from 7 a.m. before school, to lunchtime, to 6 p.m. in the evening. Children are looked after during school and after-school hours, except at weekends. The mMaisons relais also close for 2 or 3 weeks a year, at Christmas and during the summer vacations.
Schooling for foreign or newly arrived pupils
Foreign children who have recently arrived in Luxembourg benefit from strong support in their schooling. They benefit from reception classes and language support courses to help them integrate .
For further information, contact your local education department.
Multilingual intercultural mediators (Albanian, Cape Verdean, Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, etc.) are available to facilitate communication between foreign parents newly arrived in Luxembourg and the school and/or teachers. This service is free of charge.
Alternatives to Luxembourg's basic system
Does your child have a poor command of the Luxembourg language? Would you like them to learn in their native language (English / French / German)?
More and more opportunities are opening up for foreign pupils outside the basic Luxembourg system. They can join other systems from an early age, while remaining in the public system.