Luxembourg boasts an excellent education system. The government runs the vast majority of schools for free, and schooling is compulsory for all children from age four to 16.
Language teaching is central to schooling in Luxembourg. All schools teach in one of the three official languages, namely Luxembourgish, German or French, with the secondary two also forming part of the curriculum. The language barrier can be a deterrent for expats looking for a school for their children, and many therefore opt to send their children to an international school where they can continue with their home country’s curriculum in their home language.
That said, with such a large portion of the population being foreign, the government has put steps in place to help foreign students integrate into the school system. Some schools also teach English as an additional language.
Public schools in Luxembourg
Public schooling in Luxembourg is rather complicated. It is divided into different cycles and streams. Children will enrol in preschool at the age of four and move on to primary school two years later. The following six years of primary school are divided into three different cycles, each lasting for two years, and ending when the child is 11 years old.
At this stage, a choice must be made between classic secondary education (lycée classique) or a vocational education programme (secondaire générale). The first year of secondary education is the same in both streams, after which the subject matter becomes increasingly focused on the student’s preferences. Students will graduate from secondary school at either 17 or 18, depending on their course and can then either move on to tertiary education, a technical college or start working.
Schools in Luxembourg require students to be proficient in at least one of the local languages, and somewhat knowledgeable in the others before enrolling. To accommodate international students, the government has rolled out intensive home courses that the students can complete before attending a school in the country. These courses will begin with majority language lessons, which will gradually be replaced with actual school lessons in the official languages.
There are also welcoming and insertion classes for secondary school children who are new to the Luxembourg education system. These classes aim to help students learn the languages and prepare them for the transition to general classes.
Private schools in Luxembourg
There are a few schools in Luxembourg with alternative teaching methods to that of the public education system. These are either run by the government or are semi-private institutions. Private schools in Luxembourg teach an entirely different curriculum from the national curriculum, while some follow Montessori or Waldorf teaching methods. Some of these schools even teach their curriculums in English. School fees at these institutions are state-subsidised and are therefore relatively affordable.
These schools could be a good middle ground for international students who wish to learn in English but cannot afford the fees at an international school.
International schools in Luxembourg
Luxembourg is home to several international schools that teach foreign curricula in a foreign language. These schools may be the best option for those wanting to continue their home country’s curriculum in their home language. There are also several international schools teaching the International Baccalaureate programme.
Fees at international schools are exorbitant and expats should negotiate a school allowance into their employment package if wanting to go this route. We recommend expats apply for international schools well in advance, as placement is competitive.
Special-needs education in Luxembourg
Luxembourg has many services in place to assist children with special educational needs. Depending on the needs of the child, they will either attend a mainstream school, be partially integrated into both a mainstream and a special-needs school, or attend a local or international special-needs school.
The schooling of children with special educational needs is personalised and the support the child will receive is also dependent on their needs. At every level of schooling, there are different government departments and organisations in charge of identifying children’s special needs and finding services to support them.
If attending a mainstream school, the services available to children with special educational needs include after school homework assistance, special classes and extra lessons during the holidays or after school hours.
Children with mental or physical disabilities can receive benefits from the government to pay for the care the child requires. Parents must apply for these benefits with the Family Allowance Office.
Tutors in Luxembourg
Expat parents may want to consider hiring a local tutor to assist their child with learning the local languages, adjusting to the school curriculum or helping them with any subjects they may be struggling with.
Luxembourg has a range of companies and individuals who provide tutoring services. There are options available for private at-home tutoring lessons, as well as attending lessons at a tutoring school. Luxembourg-based tutoring companies include Etic Academy, Réussit’school and Cours at home.
Before hiring a private tutor or signing on with any tutoring companies, we recommend that parents enquire at their child’s school or ask other local or expat parents for recommendations.