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EDUCATION

The Netherlands is committed to choice in education. • The OECD international rankings for school systems puts the Netherlands as one of the highest in performance. • The Dutch rank highly in many fields of education. Over 46% of Dutch 25-34 year olds hold a degree in higher education, which is significantly higher than the OECD average of 44%. • The Netherlands is among the world’s top countries for equity in education opportunities. • Children of all nationalities are leerplichtig (under a learning obligation) at 5 years old for 12 years of full-time education, and one or two years part-time (until achieving a diploma). CHOOSING A SCHOOL • International education is available at both statefunded and private schools throughout the country, and nineteen primary schools have implemented bilingual education. • More than 1.130 primary schools in the Netherlands offer English classes from group 1 (age 4), and about another further 117 teach German, French or Spanish. From group 7 (age 10) all schools are obliged to teach English as a subject. • Schools following particular religious or pedagogic principles have had equal state funding as public schools since 1917. LOCAL OR INTERNATIONAL? • Your finances, location, the age of your children, and how long you are likely to stay in the Netherlands are factors to consider when selecting a school. • Many companies reimburse international school fees as part of your relocation package, and • reimbursement could be exempt from income tax. • TIP: While teenagers might appreciate the educational and social continuity provided by an international school, younger children might get a greater sense of belonging by attending a local school if you plan to stay for a while. APPLYING FOR A SCHOOL • Every city/town has its own school application policy. Inquire as soon as you can with the municipality and/ or school of your preference how it works in your area. • In most cities the schools work with a waiting list and you’ll need to sign up as soon as possible. Amsterdam, Haarlem and The Hague, on the contrary, have a different policy; a school lottery. • Openbare schools (which are run by a foundation that has originally been set up by the municipality) are technically not allowed to refuse admission, unless full. • On the schools’ websites they announce when you can visit the school (open day/info session). Most schools don’t give private appointments. • On www.scholenopdekaart.nl (in Dutch) you can find more information about the schools, as well as their results. Here you can also find a link to the school 56

inspection reports. The visual representation of green (good), orange (weak), and red (very weak) will give some idea of performance. Note that this applies to state-funded schools and Dutch international schools only. Costs • Primary and secondary state-funded education is free, parents are asked to contribute a voluntary amount that varies from school to school (usually below 100 euros per year). • Additional payments can include school trips, lunchtime supervision (tussenschoolse opvang) and after-school care (naschoolse opvang/BSO), (which the school usually sub-contracts to an external day care organisation). Education policy • The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science sets quality standards, attainment targets and social objectives. • Individual schools ‘fill in the details’ of the curriculum and budget allocation. • Education policy includes bilingual opportunities, connecting education with the job market, global citizenship, and maintaining the quality of schools. School holidays • Major holidays for Dutch schools are set nationally, but with staggered start/finish times between three regions. The summer vacation lasts for six weeks, and after every 6-7 weeks of school, the students have 1-2 weeks off. • Private international school holidays can be different. For school holidays per region, look at www. schoolvakanties-nederland.nl/ (in Dutch). TYPES OF SCHOOL State-run (openbare) schools • Openbare schools (non-denominational) provide secular education, but sometimes teach according to specific philosophic or pedagogic principles like Montessori, Dalton, Waldorf/Steiner, etc. • Openbare schools are governed by the municipal council or a public legal entity or foundation set up by the council.

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Expat Survival Guide 2020 - The Netherlands  

The Expat Survival Guide assists your first essential steps: finding a home and job, organising permits, setting up finances and healthcare,...

Expat Survival Guide 2020 - The Netherlands  

The Expat Survival Guide assists your first essential steps: finding a home and job, organising permits, setting up finances and healthcare,...

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