Even though primary schools and special education schools have been open again for two weeks, about 500 pupils are still not in school and have not had contact with their teachers, according to a poll by the general association of school leaders AVS among a thousand schools, NOS reports.
Monday is step one of the Dutch government's step-by-step plan to ease the Netherlands out of the intelligent lockdown it is in due to the coronavirus. Today primary schools, contact professions like hairdressers and therapists, certain sports clubs, and driving schools can reopen.
Teachers want schools to only reopen when it is safe and all risks have been investigated, according to a survey by education union AOb among its members. Following the RIVM directive to keep 1.5 meters apart will mean splitting each class into three or four groups, and that is physically nearly impossible, AOb chairman Eugenie Stolk said.
Young people with a disability such as Down's syndrome are forced to leave school at age 18 in some regions of the Netherlands, while they are legally entitled to education until they are 20, according to a study by Reporter Radio. Special education schools stress that continuing education is crucial for these young people's development, NRC reports.
The Dutch cabinet announced on Friday it had reached an agreement with teachers unions and employers to boost government spending in education by roughly 460 million euros, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in an interview on broadcaster NOS. The deal puts an end to a planned November 6 strike by primary and secondary school teachers and special education instructors teachers union AOb told the broadcaster.
The teacher shortage is taking on worrying forms, according to education union AOb. Four in 10 primary- and secondary schools are already dealing with a chronic shortage in teachers. In special education, the problems are even worse - two thirds of schools don't have enough teachers, the union concludes based on its own research among 6,200 teachers, the Telegraaf reports.
"There is often talk bout shortages, but nobody knew exactly how many teachers it was", AOb chairman Liesbeth Verheggen said to the newspaper.
The influx of pupils in special education is so large that schools are struggling to cope. The classes are overcrowded and that can lead to unsafe situations, according to a study by NPO Radio 1 program Reporter Radio and De Telegraaf, NOS reports.
Half of a directors of primary schools and special education schools in the Netherlands want to stop hiring staff through employment agencies because they are too expensive, the Volkskrant reports based on a poll among nearly 600 school directors. "Hiring a replacement through an agency for four months costs 20 thousand euros more than someone we recruit ourselves", one director said to the newspaper.
Dozens of special education schools in the Netherlands are struggling with too many pupils. Classes are too large and more and more kids have to wait at home for a spot for them, according to a study by Reporter Radio, NOS reports.
All pupils in secondary special education will soon also get a diploma at the end of their school career. Minister Arie Slob for Primary and Secondary Education wants to give these pupils more recognition and therefore submitted a bill to achieve it.
"All pupils deserve a reward at the end of high school", the Minister said in a statement. "That is why we are going to ensure that pupils in secondary special education now also receive a diploma." The expectation is that the first special education diplomas will be issued in the 2021/2022 school year.
27 percent of girls in secondary special education say that they were forced to engage in sexual acts at least once, compared to around 7 percent of girls in mainstream education, Rutgers and Soa Aids Netherlands reported on Thursday. This concerns pupil from so-called cluster 4 schools, intended for children with serious behavioral problems or mental health problems, NU.nl reports.
STIP, a special education high school on Europalaan in Utrecht, was evacuated on Thursday afternoon due to a telephonic threat. One suspect was arrested, the Telegraaf reports.
Where the threat came from, and what exactly it entailed, is not yet clear. The police are taking it seriously and are investigating the incident.
Police officers in bullet proof vests were present at the school on a large scale. All pupils and teachers were safely evacuated from the school, the STIP director said to the Telegraaf.
The Dutch government will give primary schools and schools for special education more money next year to reduce teachers' workload. The Ministry of Education will divide 236 million euros among the 7 thousand schools next year. And that amount will increase in the coming years, RTL Nieuws reports based on figures from the Ministry.
This year 248 schools in the Netherlands can call themselves excellent, 49 more than last year, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science announced on Monday.
A school is considered excellent if its quality of education is very good and it excels in some way, such as its lessons fitting very well with the situation in its neighborhood, or its way of teaching being inspiring, innovative and motivating. An independent jury assess whether a school deserves the recognition, and the Inspectorate of Education awards the predicates, which are valid for three years.