Teacher shortage: More pupils starting secondary school with learning arrears

Primary school classroom
Primary school classroom Photo: racorn/DepositPhotos

Secondary schools increasingly have to give extra lessons to pupils in the bridge classes to catch up on backlogs from primary school, sector organization VO-Raad said to newspaper AD. The organization noticed that more and more pupils are staring high school at below the desired level, and fears that the situation will only become worse if no solution is found for the teacher shortage in primary education.

The large cities in the Netherlands in particular are hit hard by a shortage of teachers in primary schools. An Amsterdam school even had to close it's doors permanently last year, because it could not find enough teachers. Another group of 16 Amsterdam schools were closed for a week while staff scrambled to come up with a solution to the shortages they face. 

VO-Raad has received "the first signals" of a declining level among primary school graduates, especially in places where the teacher shortage is the largest, chairman Paul Rosenmoller said to the newspaper. "Teachers see that by no means all pupils reach the desired level at primary school and have to repair a lot. That problem only increases with the teacher shortage," he said. 

If some extra lessons cannot bring a pupil up to the desired level, they may have to continue their education at a lower level, Rosenmoller said. "This situation is really the worst for the children. They cannot use their talents sufficiently." The situation also means a greater burden on teachers at secondary schools, he added.