What it costs to prepare for school in Luxembourg
Before the new school year started, we decided to find out how much it would cost to buy a complete set of school clothes, the necessary notebooks, textbooks, and pens, as well as additional supplies. Once again, parents from the Luxtoday chat came to our rescue.
How to start studying
Since I was moving on a work contract, I started preparing my child for school in advance - as early as December 2021. In our case, the process was remote and quite simple. We transferred our son from one international school to another international school and they had the same program - Cambridge. So we didn't need any tests, we just took his grades.
As a result, our application was in December 2021 and our child's enrollment was in January 2022, which was quite convenient. We also decided to finish this year remotely in the previous school, as there were no vacancies in the classes in the middle of the year.
In Luxembourg, children are required to attend school as soon as they register with the municipality. We wrote a letter to the Ministry of Education with a detailed justification of why, how and why we wanted to study at a distance. After some time we received a reply and were approved for distance learning until the end of the school year.
As a result, the child had two school changes. The first was the public international school Lycée Michel Lucius and the second, which we will attend this year, is a private International School of Luxembourg (ISL).
What you need to buy before the school year
If we're talking about public school, it was very simple.
There was no need to buy textbooks. They were all provided at the school.
In addition to the textbooks, my child received an iPad. We had to pay a deposit of 50 euros for the iPad. There was a lot of interaction with the iPad: there were assignments for class work, homework, and communication with teachers.
What we really had to buy was stationery. But there were no strict requirements for that, all the needs came up during the process. That's a big difference from ISL, but I'll tell you more about that later. Stationery didn't make much sense either, because most of the work was done either on an iPad, or in the form of presentations on a PC, or directly in workbooks. As far as I know, there are no iPads in elementary school, so it's a different story.
As for equipment, we had a backpack, and we didn't need uniforms: neither sports nor casual. So you could wear whatever you wanted, as long as you didn't have piercings, tattoos, or an open belly. In general, it was very free.
This year my child is going to ISL, where the situation is a bit different. The school sends a list of stationery to buy in advance. The list is quite impressive when you think about it.
- A4 notebooks,
- A5 notebooks,
- some markers,
- erasable pens, and a lot of other things.
The whole thing cost me about 200 euros. You think it's just a little thing, but when you start shopping for the list, it's really a lot of money. I don't know how much my child will need because I have heard different opinions from parents of children who study there. Some needed everything, some only half of it.
My conclusion is that it is better to send a child to school with a minimum set of everything. You need something to write with, somewhere to write with, and everything else should be added along the way as needed.
This school also needed special calculators. The kind of sophisticated ones that can calculate functions. To make sure they are the right ones, the school buys them. We spent about 80-90 euros for them. We also need a normal calculator for normal calculations.
The next expense is the mandatory sports uniform. In ISL everything is branded and sold in a special store, the address of which will be sent to you in advance. The uniform consists of several items, and of course you take everything in pairs so that there is some kind of replacement. Everything costs about 100 euros.
Total outfit costs amounted to about 400 euros.
Where to buy school supplies
One of the most obvious options is Amazon. It's not available in Luxembourg, but it's present in the neighboring countries of Germany and France, and all are delivered without any problems. I have two accounts. What I don't have in the German one, I order in the French one and vice versa.
There are also local shops that I really like. You can find them on the Letzshop website. They are good because they present local products - they also have special labels. You get to support local businesses, which is really cool. What's great about these stores is that they're close to you and you can buy what you need.
If you want to order online, it is better to do so at the end of July. Near the beginning of the school year, the excitement increases because everyone remembers to pack their child for school, and an order from Amazon can take two weeks to arrive.
And be prepared for everything to be expensive. For example, A4 notebooks, 60 sheets - 5 pieces 28 (!) euros. Folders you need for several subjects, also about 7-8 euros each. Calculator, ordinary, not scientific, - 45 euros. A set of markers in 8 colors - 7 euros.
How not to go broke shopping
In fact, not all stores have such frightening prices. It is always possible to look for anything in Auchan. There are often discounts. Only buy things that are too cheap and of poor quality, you do not want them to fall apart after 2-3 weeks.
Some schools provide textbooks, some require you to bring your own. You can also borrow them from the library. You come at the beginning of the year, get a book, and return it at the end of the year. If it is in good condition - well done. In bad condition - you pay :)
The main lifehack that works here is the child allowance. I was very surprised to find out that the people in the government here realize that raising a child is expensive. And I was even more surprised that after a few years the child benefit did not go up to 5-10 Euro as it was the case in my home country.
In Luxembourg you can really count on help. There are monthly allowances for children that you get just for having them, and there are also special one-time payments for school. For a child over the age of 12, it is just under 200 euros, which can cover a significant part of the cost of school supplies, uniforms and so on.
A very interesting point - the older the child, the more allowance for him. This is quite logical, because teenagers have new needs, and the necessary things for the same school becomes more. Take the same calculator, for example. It is unlikely that a junior high school student will ever need it!
That's why, despite the high prices, you won't feel so empty if you buy everything you need in Luxembourg.
What else the money goes to
Textbooks, notebooks and uniforms are understandable and expected expenses. But parents in Luxembourg pay for more than that. Although the general costs are familiar to everyone, there are still some differences.
The organization of the food service here is quite interesting. Most schools work with a single caterer. Children have a special card with which they pay for their school meals. All a parent has to do is refill the card in time or pay the bill afterwards.
For adults, there is also a special app that helps them keep track of the amount of money they have in their account. It also shows what the child buys in the cafeteria. This not only prevents them from spending money on something obscene in the canteen. If they eat a pizza every day, you will know about it immediately.
Some schools allow you to pre-order food on the same app. The child will come and pick up what you've chosen for him or her. Pay on the spot.
In addition to meals, there are various excursions, especially overnight trips. These are paid for separately. This is a very popular story. Unfortunately, our school didn't have any trips last year. In public schools they're often financed by the school. In private schools, of course, there's less funding, more from parents. But the kids here also go away for a week, to Germany, for example.
Training and sections
Private lessons, classes and clubs may be an additional expense. Once again, there is a lot of support in Luxembourg for everything to do with children's development. For example, we paid 400 euros a year for our son's swimming lessons. He trained 3-4 times a week. We could only dream of such a price with such an intensity of training in my home country.
It will cost approximately 400 euros to get your child ready for school. Also take into account the approximate cost of trips and activities, the cost of food, and any additional expenses. Yes, it is very expensive to support a school child, but government benefits can help.
The main problem is finding information. If you want to find something for your child (and for yourself too), you have to go through a huge number of articles and booklets, not always in English. So what you do at Luxtoday is very cool and useful. Thank you :)
Read more about how to choose a school, how the education system works, and who educates children in our Knowledge Library: