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Special (bijzondere) schools • Most special (bijzondere) schools are denominational (Catholic, Protestant, Islamic, Hindu, etc.), or follow specific philosophic principles. • Special (bijzondere) schools are governed by a board or the foundation that set them up. • Financially, they have the same status as openbare schools and are basically free (usually their parent contribution is slightly higher compared to the openbare schools). International schools • International schools offer education for global students of any nationality. • Dutch International Primary Schools (DIPS) and Dutch International Secondary Schools (DISS) also have international education at reasonable fees thanks to government subsidies – made for non-Dutch families living temporarily in the Netherlands and Dutch families returning from, or preparing for, an overseas assignment. • These schools offer the International Primary Curriculum (4 to 11 years), the IGCSE (11 to 16 years), or the International Baccalaureate programmes at primary (4 to 11 years) and middle years’ level (11 to 16 years). All DISS teach the IB-Diploma programme (16 to 19 years). • A new curriculum, IBCP, offers a career-related alternative to the IB-DP in the final years (www.ibo.org). • Private International schools: These schools teach an international curriculum, or a specific country’s national curriculum: American, British, French, German, Japanese, Indonesian, etc. Their fees are much higher compared to the subsidised international schools. Special needs schools • The national ‘Appropriate Education’ (Passend Onderwijs) policy is designed to enable as many children with minor learning difficulties as possible to be educated in mainstream schools. • Additionally, there are dedicated schools for children who have more severe or complicated learning difficulties. • Lighthouse Special Education in The Hague caters to international special needs children providing extensive assistance in English. Entry is by referral.

comprehension skills, mathematics, study skills, and (optionally) world orientation; a combination of history, geography, biology and world religions. • All primary schools are obliged to take part in one the five available end tests. • The assessment of the teacher is the decisive factor for referral to secondary education.



• Children usually start school the day after their 4th birthday. • There are eight years of primary schooling: “Group 1” upon entry, moving up a group every year. • Based on various factors including the pupil’s test scores from past years, intelligence, attitude towards learning, eagerness to learn, interests, and motivation, the group 8 teacher assesses what level of secondary school education would fit each pupil best. • Later in the year, the pupils take the ‘End Test for Primary Education’, a standardised aptitude test consisting of questions testing Dutch language and 58

DUTCH SECONDARY EDUCATION (VOORTGEZET ONDERWIJS, VO) • From 12 years of age, pupils choose between vocational or pre-university programs based on their abilities, interests, and the teacher’s recommendation in group 8. • In the first years all pupils study the same subjects (to different academic levels), known as the basisvorming, followed by a second stage (tweede fase) in which students choose a specialist profile. • Most secondary schools combine multiple levels in the first year (brugklas). • VMBO: A four-year prep school for vocational secondary education. Those who achieve the highest level (theoretische leerweg) can enter HAVO studies in the 4th year. They must continue studying until age 18, or until they obtain a basic qualification (minimum MBO level 2). • MBO: Secondary vocational education. MBO programmes vary from one to four years. If a student has successfully completed the Dutch VMBO, or the international middle school programmes IGCSE, or IB-MYP, but is not admitted to the IB-Diploma Programme, the MBO can prepare pupils for work or University of Applied Sciences (HBO) if level 4 is achieved. A number of English-language programmes are offered. • HAVO (five years): Senior general secondary education. Provides entrance to University of Applied Sciences (Hogeschool/HBO), or 5VWO. • VWO (six years): Pre-university education. Prepares students for academic studies at a research university (WO). VWO schools can be athenaeum, or gymnasium, the main difference being that Ancient Greek, Latin and Classical Studies are core subjects in gymnasium programmes.

• There are over 130 schools with a TTO bilingual stream, most of them being offered at VWO level. Only students that master the Dutch language at an appropriate level will be admitted (www.europeesplatform.nl/tto). • English is a compulsory subject at all secondary schools. VMBO pupils study one modern language, and HAVO/VWO pupils at least two. Other core areas include Dutch, mathematics, history, humanities, sports, arts and sciences. • Like primary schools, some secondary schools are based on a religion, or an educational philosophy.


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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,...