Moving into the Luxembourgish school system
Switching between Luxembourg's local school system and international schools is often said to be complex and the initial choice difficult, or even impossible, to reverse.
But the government has a dedicated service to help integrate children culturally and linguistically.
For those moving from a foreign curriculum to the Luxembourgish system, whether the child is newly-arrived or going through the process of moving into the local system after spending some years in an international school, Luxembourg's education ministry has 'welcome classes' to help smooth the process.
Changing systems is also possible vice versa, for those who feel an international or European curriculum would better suit their future plans or for children who are not language-oriented and struggle to keep up with the local system's linguistic demands.
Some families stay longer than expected
Welcome classes are available to primary and secondary school pupils and consist of intensive language lessons in French or German, running in parallel with the child's year class, to enable the pupil to continue with his or her education in other subjects while learning the new language at an accelerated pace.
"They're special classes for children for a transition period of a year, to have the necessary languages to integrate into the system at primary and secondary level," psychologist and coordinator for the education ministry, Louise Crosby, told the Luxemburger Wort.
The number of hours spent at the language classes depends on the child's age and language skills. The child does not automatically resit the year and can continue with the same year class.
Welcome classes were introduced for children who arrive in Luxembourg from abroad but also for those wishing to switch after starting within a different system in Luxembourg.
"Some people may think they will stay in Luxembourg for just a couple of years but then stay much longer, so you need that flexibility and options for the children to integrate into the system here later if they wish," Inspector for European Schools, Max Wolff, said.
'Luxembourgish Bac is of a very high standard'
Asked how crucial parents' choice is when deciding in which system to place their child when they first arrive in Luxembourg or when the child reaches school age, Crosby highlighted it is "not a decision you can't change".
"In Luxembourg there are different options, there's diversification in schools and it's increasing more and more," she added. "There are many options for everyone, also for students who are from here and that's what Luxembourg is good at – integration."
While many speak about the integration of foreigners into Luxembourgish society and the possibility for foreigners' children to join the local system, equal weight must be put on the opportunities for children in the Luxembourgish system to access other systems at a later stage.
"One of the main reasons for the switch from the Luxembourgish system to an international school is language," Wolff said.
Crosby added that the Luxembourgish Baccalaureate is "of a very high standard" and said not everyone is language-oriented and "those students could benefit from that [international] system".
She highlighted that the flexibility between systems is there for everyone and that some students might feel they would be better prepared for what they want to do at university in a different education system and decide to switch.
(Heledd Pritchard, email@example.com, +352 49 93 459)