Schooling for Children with Special or Additional Educational Needs in Luxembourg
If your child has a special or additional educational needs diagnosis and you are moving to Luxembourg, or even if your child is already attending school in Luxembourg, it is a good idea to explore the various options available to you. The first step is to establish what your child needs. You may ask his or her current school some of the questions we discussed in Ongoing Support. This will help you to either ascertain whether their current school has the resources, expertise or ability to support your child or what you need to ask of a new schooling environment. Generally it is better to negotiate support with their current school as moving can be stressful especially if your child is already struggling. However, there maybe a time when you need to consider an alternative. In the following section we will introduce the possibilities available in and outside Luxembourg.
There are six options (in principle) that are generally available for children with special needs in Luxembourg :-
- full integration of the child into a traditional state-run school
- full integration into a state-run school with an appropriate language section (where applicable)
- full integration into a Luxembourg special needs school
- partial integration into a special needs school complemented by a traditional state run school
- full integration into a private school (where possible)
In addition some parents choose to find an alternative schooling option outside Luxembourg either in bordering countries or at boarding schools in other countries.
Integration into the Luxembourg School System
The aim of integration is taken here as the acceptance of each person in their own environment, which then allows them to participate as a full member of society. In accordance with the ministerial directive concerning the school integration of children with special educational needs (Luxembourg 4th November 1991) integration must be understood as a means to guarantee the fulfillment of potential of children with special needs. The future aim is integration into society. The right to instruction and education includes the right to common instruction and education for all children. Therefore every child whatever their needs has a right to an education in Luxembourg from 4 years old – 16 years old.
If you are New to Luxembourg
The Luxembourg Ministry of Education provides a service for newly arrived pupils in Luxembourg known as the CASNA (Cellule d’accueil scolaire pour élèves nouveaux arrivants). CASNA help to assess the most suitable school for children who speak a foreign language, and provide information in a number of languages (including English) for parents. They should also be able to suggest appropriate schools or refer you to the most relevant service if your child has some special or additional educational needs.
Reception Desk for Newly Arrived Pupils (CASNA)
(CASNA – Cellule d’accueil scolaire pour élèves nouveaux arrivants)
Address: 58 boulevard Grande-Duchesse Charlotte, L-1330 Luxembourg
Telephone: (+352) 24 78 52 77
CASNA also produce an essential “Welcome to Luxembourgish Schools! – Information for Foreign Parents and Students” guide brochure, which can be downloaded here.
Investigating your Options
These options will depend on the severity of your child’s diagnosis or disability and their ability to access learning in the languages offered. Initially if your child presents with potential learning difficulties in a mainstream school they may be assisted by the SDIP (Service de Détection et d’Intervention Précoce). The SDIP is the Education Department in charge of identifying children with psychological or psychiatric disabilities, with the approval of the parents or guardian.
Service de Détection et d’Intervention Précoce (SDIP)
Address: 14 avenue de la Gare, L-1610 Luxembourg
Telephone: (+352) 26 29 77-1
Fax: (+352) 26 29 77-20
The SDIP works with another department called CPOS (Centre de Psychologie et d’Orientation Scolaires) in charge of finding out the best educational options and providing help for children with learning disabilities.
If your child has more severe problems they might be referred to the EDIFF (Service de l’Education différentiée). This organisation consists of multi-disciplinary teams working with children who have previously been diagnosed with special needs and who are already integrated in mainstream schooling or are looking for specialist education. However, they also offer assessment, help and support to children, presenting with other educational or psychological problems, as well as to their parents and teachers.
Ministère de l’Education Nationale et de la Formation Professionnelle Service de l’Education différenciée (EDIFF)
Full Integration into a Traditional State-run School
In reality there are many variables that will effect whether your child with special or additional needs will be able to integrate fully into a traditional state-run school. These will include: how long they have already been in the system (before diagnosis); whether they speak Luxembourgish, German or French; their age (primary or secondary); and whether the teacher and/or school have the knowledge or ability to support your child.
Full Integration into a State-run School with an Appropriate Language Section
For many children with special or additional educational needs (and children in general) one of the biggest challenges in Luxembourg is the need to be proficient in other languages, especially if their mother tongue is not German or French. In recent years there are more options available through state-run schools with a particular language section. At present there are three state-run Secondary schools in Luxembourg that offer an education in English and a primary school in Differdange (EIDD).
Children in general have to pass a test in English and further tests to attend the Lycée Athenee. However, whether any of these schools have knowledge and ability to support your child will depend on his or her individual needs.
Secondary (11+ years): IGCSE and A’ Levels
Secondary: International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma
Address (École Primaire): 2 rue de la Montagne, L-4630 Differdange, Luxembourg
Address (École Secondaire): 50 rue Emile Mark, L-4620 Differdange, Luxembourg
Primary (all years); and Secondary (at present Year 1 only): European Baccalaureate® (EB) Diploma
Full Integration into a Luxembourg Special Needs School
Special needs education (éducation différenciée) is designed for children who have specific education needs and cannot follow a traditional curriculum. In Luxembourg there are several different schools and the main official body dealing with special needs education is EDIFF (Education Différenciée). The decision to send a child to one of these schools is taken by the parents and a committee (Commission Médico-Psycho-Pédagogique Nationale – CMPPN). There are several different schools depending on the child’s diagnosis. School classes are limited in size to enable a personalised education depending on each child’s specific needs.
Partial Integration into a Special Needs School Complemented by a Traditional State-run School
If your child is accepted into one of the state-run special needs schools then a programme may be negotiated where a child attends both special needs and a traditional school nearby. This will be decided by the Commission Médico-Psycho-Pédagogique Nationale (CMPPN) – as above.
Full Integration into a Private School
There are a range of private schools (fee-paying) in Luxembourg who provide an alternative to the state-run schools. Depending on the school they will all have their own policy for integrating children with special or additional educational needs. However, they are not obliged to accept any child that they do not think that they have the resources, knowledge or ability to support. It is a good idea to be prepared to state your case for your child’s acceptance with documented evidence of any diagnosis, support documents from your child’s doctor/psychologist and/or reports from previous schools.
Some Other Schools you may want to Consider (State-funded and Fee-paying):
The Eis Schoul is a small primary school situated in Kirchberg that takes children with special needs. They have a specialist team of teachers, psychologists and other support professionals. They have limited places but can take children with English as their first language. Their charter (principles of the school) can be downloaded here in English. The languages of instruction are predominantly Luxembourgish, German or French.
The Lycée Ermesinde is situated in Mersch and offers an alternative to other state-run secondary schools. It is in their philosophy to get away from the teacher-centred classroom towards a student-centred learning environment that takes place in and outside the classroom. The school community is composed of teachers, “éducateurs” and so-called specialists (professionals responsible for “complementary activities”: gardening, cooking, performing arts, foreign languages, and arts. The languages of instruction are French, German and English. You can read their guiding principles in English here.
St. George’s International School is situated in Hamm and offers education for children from 3-18 years old. They follow the International Primary Schools Curriculum and the British National Curriculum (Gcse/A’levels). The language of instruction is English.
Address: 36 boulevard Pierre Dupong, L-1430 Luxembourg
Telephone: (+352) 26 04 40
Fax: (+352) 26 04 47 04
The International School of Luxembourg is situated in Merl and offers education from 3-18 years old. They follow the International School System that leads to an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma. The language of instruction is English.
The Waldorf School of Luxembourg is situated in Limpertsberg and offers education for children from 4-18 year olds. Founded in 1983, they offer a humanist, non-competitive approach developed by Rudolf Steiner in 1919. Waldorf education is based on a profound understanding of human development that addresses the needs of the growing child. Learning is inter-disciplinary: integrating practical, artistic, and conceptual elements. The approach emphasizes the role of the imagination in learning. Luxembourgish and German are the languages of instruction in the primary section whilst French is the main language in secondary section and for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma.
Address: 192 rue de Romains, L-8041 Strassen, Luxembourg
Telephone: (+352) 26 39 69 1
The École Maria Montessori is situated in Strassen and offers education for children from 3-12 years old . The school follows a Montessori approach, developed by Maria Montessori which is characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological development, as well as technological advancements in society.
The Montessori classroom, sometimes called the ‘children’s community’, is a carefully prepared environment designed to facilitate the development of the children’s independence and sense of personal empowerment. In this environment, children move freely within it, selecting work that captures their interest. Every child is responsible for their own environment. Children are encouraged to learn and experience on their own. The teacher’s role in Montessori education is not primarily to impart knowledge – rather to observe the children and pay attention to each child’s needs and provide the stimulus that corresponds to each child’s maturity and interest.
The languages of instruction are predominantly French and German.
Homeschooling is when the parents decide to take responsibility for their child’s education in the home setting. It is possible and legal, although not widely practised in Luxembourg. Education is compulsory for children from ages 4-16 years old and is governed by the law on education, Loi du 6 février 2009 relative à l’obligation scolaire. Article 9 of the law states “Elle peut aussi être dispensée à domicile sous les conditions déterminées par la loi” and therefore provides the home education option.
On how best to proceed, you need to understand the conditions set out in the law previously mentioned. Click here to download the document.
Contact your local commune for further information and for details of your local educational inspector. You must have approval from your local educational inspector before you start to homeschool. They will set out the path and requirements for Luxembourgish homeschooling.
Useful Links: Information about Homeschooling in Luxembourg
Lux Homeschooler: Website to exchange ideas and experiences about homeschooling with other families; building a community which represents an alternative to school.
Home Schooling in Luxembourg: An explanation of the laws governing homeschooliong in Luxembourg.
Schools in Other Countries or Boarding Schools
Some families consider schools in the bordering countries of Belgium, France or Germany. This may be especially helpful if your child speaks the language and would benefit from instruction mostly in one language.
Address: Schengen-Lyzeum Perl, auf dem Sabel 2, 66706 Perl, Allemange
Telephone (Germany): (+49) (0) 68 67 – 9111-200
Telephone (Luxembourg): (+352) 24 78 51 20
The Lycée Germano-Luxembourgeois de Schengen is situated in Perl and welcomes students from Germany and Luxembourg. It combines elements of two school systems. The language of instruction is mostly German. Some subjects are taught in French. The recognition of diplomas that can be obtained at the end of school are guaranteed by both countries.
You can visit Special Needs UK – the UK’s first dedicated website for special needs – for comprehensive information on an extensive range of schools and support groups for children of all ages with special needs. You can use their databases to search for the right special needs school or support group for your child, review upcoming events for those with educational special needs or working in the field.
More House School situated in Surrey UK provides high quality education and pastoral care for boys aged 8-18 who are intelligent and thrive in a specialist learning environment, due to a Specific Learning Difficulty.
Further Support Outside of School Hours (Mainly for Children in Mainstream Luxembourgish State-run Schools)
The CPOS provides services for children in secondary school with difficulties in following the mainstream curriculum. These include:
- After school homework assistance (enrolment form available at schools)
- Special classes specific to pupils facing learning difficulties either within or after normal school hours
- Lessons during school holidays for children having to retake one or more exams
- Lessons for under 18s with significant schooling problems
Getting Support for all the Family
It can feel quite overwhelming when trying to make decisions regarding your child’s education especially when your child has additional educational needs. It is important to take one step at a time and remember that there is no right or wrong choice. As parents we all do the best we can for our children within the knowledge, resources and experiences we have at the time. If you can, try and find trusted friends or family to talk to. Siblings of children with special needs may need this support too.
If you are concerned about your child or have any questions about parenting in Luxembourg you can contact the Online Parent service in English at the Kanner Jugend Telefon.
KJT also offer an Online Children & Youths service in English at www.kjt.lu
Last updated: Wednesday 15th February, 2017