Dutch school inspections get more constructive than fault-finding

The Education Inspectorate will soon be implementing a new method of inspecting schools in which it will be focusing more on constructive criticism and less on fault finding.

The inspectorate has been running a test project with a new method at 700 schools since the start of this year. This new method includes improving quality by being less of a fault finding policing force and being more open to discussion. The findings of this test project will be included in the development of a new form of supervision, which will be implemented from 2017, the Volkskrant reports. A survey the newspaper did at randomly selected schools shows that the school leaders are satisfied with the new approach.

The Education Inspectorate has been working on changing its methods since 2014, when Minister Jet Bussemaker and State Secretary Sander Dekker of Education insisted on a change. The ministers want to encourage schools to keep working on improvements, even if they already meet the basic standards.

New measures include having the schools evaluate themselves and inspectors allowing more time for discussion with teachers and leaders. "We will continue to monitor the risks, but in addition we will give stimulating supervision", Inspector General Monique Vogelzang said to the Volkskrant. "We will continue to strictly follow schools that do not meet basic quality standards and improve standards. With schools that have the basics in order, we currently do not act. We are going to change that." The Inspectorate will check whether these schools really do meet the requirements they set for themselves and whether they are being ambitious enough.