Summer school

Thousands of pupils hit the books ahead of return to school

Luxembourg schools remained largely open during the last school year but thousands have signed up for summer school lessons to catch up Photo: Matic Zorman / Maison Moderne

Luxembourg schools remained largely open during the last school year but thousands have signed up for summer school lessons to catch up Photo: Matic Zorman / Maison Moderne

More than 7,000 school students will be trying to catch up on their curricula during this year’s summer school, introduced in 2020 to help fill gaps left by the pandemic.

The summer school is optional for students and more than 5,500 primary pupils and nearly 1,770 secondary school students have signed up for this year’s edition, which starts on 30 August for two weeks.

“Two summer school lessons a day still allow you to make the most out of your summer vacation. This is an opportunity to rework subjects from the previous school year or to prepare for the new school year,” education minister Claude Meisch (DP) said in a statement.

Luxembourg’s schools were largely open during the 2020-2021 school year, except for a week around the Carnival school holiday break in February. However, individual students or entire groups missed out on classroom teaching because of quarantine rules.

In addition, in upper-level secondary years, students alternated between classroom and online teaching to minimise the chance of infection and reduce the number of students on site and on school transport.

Founded after schools suffered major disruptions during the 2020 lockdown and following months, the education ministry has decided to make the summer school a permanent offering. It provides a mix of lessons students can follow at home or under supervision at a school.

The number of students registered to take part rose from around 5,900 last year, with the highest demand for German and French lessons at primary level. While pupils learn Luxembourgish in pre-school, they learn to read and write in German at primary level as well as learning French, a challenge for many families, especially those who don’t speak any of these languages at home.

Luxembourg had the highest percentage of pupils of foreign origin, at 55%, in the 2019 Pisa study, comparing student achievement among 79 countries worldwide. At 83%, it also had the highest percentage of pupils who speak a different language at home to the languages they are taught in school.

More than 500 teachers, teaching assistants and other volunteers help run the summer school. Independent study materials made available online already on 15 July have been downloaded 33,850 times.

A helpline for parents, students and teachers also remains open by 8002-9090.

The government this week is expected to unveil its back-to-school concept and anti-coronavirus measures for the return to the classroom. Meisch last week said that 87% of teachers and around half of students aged 12 or over are vaccinated.

The Luxembourg school year starts on 15 September.