Primary school pupils in poorer neighborhoods lagging behind

Primary school classroom
Primary school classroomPhoto: racorn/DepositPhotos

Pupils in primary schools in disadvantaged Dutch neighborhoods are significantly behind their peers in regular neighborhoods, according to a study by research agency MWM2 commissioned by ABN Amro, Stichting Kinderpostzegels and education fund Jeugddeducatiefonds, newspaper AD reports.

The researchers questioned 300 teachers, counselors and primary school directors. 

Three quarters of teaching staff at schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods said that their pupils struggle with concentration problems, compared to around half in other neighborhoods. 87 percent said that pupils struggle with the language, compared to 23 percent in other neighborhoods. 70 percent of teaching staff in disadvantaged neighborhoods said their pupils have learning problems, compared 30 percent in other neighborhoods. And 66 percent said that their pupils have behavioral problems, compared to 41 percent in other neighborhoods.

According to the teachers, one problem is that pupils in disadvantaged neighborhoods tend to have less help from their families on school work. 69 percent of teachers in disadvantaged neighborhoods said that some of their pupils get little support from family when it comes to learning, compared to 10 percent in other neighborhoods. One teacher told the researchers that the parents of some children speak speak "little to no" Dutch and are therefore "unable to support their children in learning".

The respondents believe that children in disadvantaged neighborhoods do not have equal opportunities, as they deal more with a complex home situation. There is more unemployment, poverty and crime in these neighborhoods.

Hans Spekman, director of the Jeugddeducatiefonds, is shocked by the figures. "That he chances are so unevenly distributed is even worse than I thought", he said to the newspaper. "That has to change."