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Belgium-Flemish-Community:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

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Overview Belgium (Flemish Community)


Belgium-Flemish-Community:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Historical Development

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Political and Economic Situation

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation and Governance

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of Private Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Qualifications Framework

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Funding in Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Higher Education Funding

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Adult Education and Training Funding

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Early Childhood Education and Care

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of Childcare

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in Childcare

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in Childcare

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of Pre-Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in Pre-Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in Pre-Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of the First Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in the First Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in the First Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of the Second and Third Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in the Second and Third Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in the Second and Third Stage of Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of Vocational Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in Vocational Secondary Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Organisation of secondary-after-secondary education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teaching and learning in secondary-after-secondary education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Assessment in secondary-after-secondary education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Belgium-Flemish-Community:First Cycle Programmes


Belgium-Flemish-Community:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Second Cycle Programmes

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Distribution of Responsibilities

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Main Providers

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Main Types of Provision

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Teachers and Education Staff

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Management and Other Education Staff

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Management Staff for Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Quality Assurance

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Educational Support and Guidance

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Mobility and Internationalisation

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Mobility in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Belgium-Flemish-Community:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Reforms in School Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Reforms in Higher Education

Belgium-Flemish-Community:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Belgium-Flemish-Community:European Perspective




Types of offices

Three types of offices can be distinguished for teaching staff in special/mainstream elementary and secondary education.

  • Recruitment office
    • Recruitment offices management and teaching staff in mainstream Elementary education: nursery-school teacher, teacher, religion teacher, non-confessional ethics teacher, physical-education teacher
    • Recruitment offices management and teaching staff in mainstream secondary education: teacher, religion teacher, accompanist
  • Selection office (e.g. vice-principal, technical advisor, …),
  • Promotion position (e.g. School Head, technical advisor-coordinator).

For staff training in schools and schools communities see

Relevant legislation

There is a tradition in the education system of entering into central CLAs (collective labour agreements). The CLAs sometimes apply for two years, and sometimes for the entire duration of a legislature.

The decrees of 27 March 1991 concerning community education (now GO! Education of the Flemish Community) and subsidised education and the subsidised pupil guidance centres form the cornerstone of the legal-status arrangement of staff working in elementary and secondary education, special education, boarding schools, Part-time Arts Education, Adult Education and the pupil guidance centres. The Decree of 25 February 1997 also features a number of legal-status provisos for Elementary education. Likewise, the ‘decrees concerning education’ followed by a Roman number which have been promulgated on a yearly basis legislate for the legal status.

(personnel status for community education & personnel status for subsidised education).

Planning Policy

Every year, a new labour market report is published in which the Flemish Ministry of Education and Training and Flemish Public Employment and Vocational Training Service jointly analyse the supply and demand on the education labour market and make their prognoses. In the labour market barometer, the situation is monitored from month to month, and the situation from school year 2008-2009 up to now is compared with the period before the financial and economic crisis.

For the conclusions of the labour market report, see 14.2-2.4.

In order to coordinate supply and demand more smoothly in education, the VDAB set up a teacher database for elementary and secondary education in conjunction with the Department of Education and Training.

The number of lateral entrants – teachers who only move into a job in education after work experience in another sector – has remained stable and is limited to several hundred.

Since school year 2009-2010, teachers aged 65 or over have been allowed to carry on teaching, and pensioners (regardless of the nature of their pension or the sector in which they used to work) may also start working as teachers. They are paid as a temporary member of staff, taking into account their years of service (seniority).

Staff who carry out extra duties in education can also count on better pay. Performance or income from outside education will no longer impact on the performance within education. Everyone working in education can be paid up to a maximum of 140%.

Entry to the Profession

General conditions of admission (Decrees of 27 March 1991):

  • Citizenship of a European Union Member State or one of the countries affiliated to the European Free Trade Association (exceptions are possible as the Flemish Government can grant exemptions);
  • Enjoying one’s civil and political rights (also in this case the Flemish Government may grant an exemption which goes hand in hand with the aforementioned exemption);
  • Compliance with the linguistic requirements. Dutch is the official teaching language;
  • Being of irreproachable character, substantiated by a certificate of good conduct issued within the past 12 months;
  • Medical suitability.

Required linguistic knowledge

To be appointed to a job in education, a number of levels of linguistic skills are defined on the basis of the classification of the European Reference framework for languages (ERK). These levels differ according to the office which a member of staff carries out in education. The CEFR distinguishes six levels of language knowledge, where:

  • level A is the language knowledge level of the basic user,
  • level B is the level of the independent user
  • level C is the level of the skilled user.

Each of these three levels has two sub-levels, which results in levels A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2 and where A1 is the lowest level and C2 the highest. See: the Taalunie website:

Level C 1 applies to:

  • management and teaching staff of elementary, secondary, adult and part-time artistic education;
  • the School Head, administrative staff and teachers in Adult Basic Education of a Centre for Adult Basic Education;
  • members of the pedagogical guidance services, the inspectorate and philosophy-of-life courses inspectorate and guidance teams.

For positions not filled by management or teaching staff and for modern languages teachers, level B2 is required. For teachers of Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, Czech, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Japanese, Polish, Russian, Serbo-Croat and Turkish at a Centre for Adult Education, level B1 is required.

Teachers who are asked to teach compulsory French as a second language in Elementary education (both in Flanders and in the Brussels Capital Region, must have a command of the French language at level B1 for reading and writing and B2 for listening and speaking.

As long as the staff do not comply with the linguistic requirements, they cannot qualify for permanent appointment. For them, schools have to apply for a temporary language derogation for a maximum of three years.

A staff member who is unable to demonstrate the required linguistic skills for an appointment in education by means of a qualification or certificate can prove his/her skills in Dutch or French by means of a language examination organised by a CAE (Centre for Adult Education). One Centre for Adult Education per province can be designated to hold such examinations.

The rules also apply to the French-speaking schools within the territory of the Flemish Region. Here it specifically concerns the knowledge of French as a teaching language, the knowledge of Dutch as a management language and also the knowledge of Dutch where it has to be taught as a second language. (Circular letters pers/2010/01 and pers/2010/02).

Skills' certificates

The Flemish Government has laid down the skills' certificates within each level of education. This is done for each office and in secondary education for each subject, stage, branch of education (GSE, TSE, VSE, ASE), while in Adult Education, this is done per module and/or training programme. A skills’ certificate comprises a basic diploma, a certificate of teaching competence (teacher training) and/or useful experience.

There are three types of skills' certificates, i.e. “required”, “acceptable” and “other”.

Teachers with a "required" skills' certificate have followed a specific form of previous education in function of the subject they teach. The diploma requirements in relation to the level depend on the type of subject, the stage, the branch of education, the module and/or training programme.

An "acceptable" skills' certificate means that one has a basic diploma of the same level as the required skills' certificate but not in the specific field.

A certificate of teaching competence (teacher training) is a prerequisite for either a “required” or an “acceptable” skills' certificate.

The school boards are free to choose between candidates with a required or an acceptable skills' certificate when recruiting new staff. In principle, schools should always give priority to people with a “required” or an “acceptable” skills' certificate. However, schools may exceptionally deviate from this general rule and appoint someone with an "other skills' certificate". In this case, teachers shall have a basic diploma of a certain (minimum) level. Three years of "useful experience" suffices for some subjects. gives an interactive overview of skills' certificates.

Stages in the teaching career

A teaching career is made up of three key stages:

1) At the start of a teaching career the teacher is always given a temporary appointment of definite duration. This is an appointment of no more than one school year either in a vacant or non-vacant position. The member of staff must meet the financing or subvention conditions (see above). No further conditions are in place.

2) After a minimum of three school years a temporary member of staff can reach the second stage in their career: the temporary appointment of continuous duration (TADD). This is a uniform priority system for teachers working within community education and subsidised education alike. This type of appointment transcends school years and can be made either to a vacant or non-vacant position. The conditions are:

  • Having taught for at least 720 days, spread over a minimum of three school years. 600 of these 720 days must have been actually performed;
  • A last evaluation took place and its result was not “insufficient”.

3) A third stage in the teaching career is the permanent appointment.

  • Permanent appointment to a recruitment office (e.g. teacher), both within GO!, community education, and within subsidised education is conditional on:
    • A number of person-related conditions (the financing and subvention conditions) being met;
    • The teacher having accumulated a minimum of 720 days of service of which at least 360 days in the office to which the member of staff is to be permanently appointed,
    • Having held a position of continuous duration on the 31 December preceding the permanent appointment.
  • A permanent appointment to a selection office (e.g. vice-principal) or a promotion position (e.g. School Head) is a promotion (see 9.2.9). No additional conditions regarding years of service apply to either.


The redesigned teacher training programme creates much more intensive guidance and support for those taking their teaching experience and trainee teachers [see 9.1].

Professional Status

Teachers are a type of employees in subsidised private education and a type of public servants in official education. In its capacity of financier, the Flemish Government has laid down the terms for recruitment, appointment, evaluation, promotion, dismissal etc. The teachers’ status is regulated by two decrees of 27 March 1991 which provide for a specific status for teachers in community and for teachers in subsidised education respectively, which differ from the normal status of staff in the public and private sector due to the specific nature and special needs of the field of education. However, the differences in the legal statuses of staff working in community education and subsidised education will gradually be erased.

Depending on the type of contract, a distinction is made between contractual, temporary and permanent appointments.

  • There are different types of contractual appointments for which specific regulations have been established, and for which provisions have been established which ensure that they acquire employment and position seniority on the basis of their earlier work.
    • contractual staff members who come under the Department of Education and Training (CODOs); these people have an open-ended contract and can build up permanent-appointment rights;
    • subsidised contract staff (GECOs) appointed under conventions between the Flemish Minister for Education and the Flemish Minister for Employment;
    • GECOs appointed in schools on the basis of individual conventions between the organising body and a minister responsible for employment;
    • contract staff appointed on the basis of the school’s operational resources (COWEs). See circular letter Pers/2003/06 (2/4/2004)
    • See circular Pers/2003/06.
  • A temporary appointment may be for a fixed or continuous duration. A fixed-duration appointment is valid for a maximum of one year. However, a temporary appointment of continuous duration (TADD) is valid throughout the school years.
  • The benefits of a permanent appointment versus a temporary appointment are the guarantee of a steady position and salary, a place on the reserve list in the event of redundancy, and the subsequent right to reassignment and re-employment, the access to a number of leave systems, and the right to a state pension.

The webpages 'Een job in het onderwijs' ('A job in education') give more information about this area.

Since 1 September 2012, staff members in elementary education have been able to obtain job rotation or re-assignment to a position (as primary or nursery teacher) other than the one to which they have gained permanent appointment. This is subject to their agreement and on condition that they have the requred certificate of competence for the position. (Circular 13CC/VB/ML).

Placing redundant teachers on the reserve list, reassignment and re-employment

Permanently-appointed members of staff who have lost their position or whose duties have been reduced for reasons beyond their control come under the system of ‘placing redundant teachers on the reserve list, reassignment and re-employment’. This means that they are placed on a reserve list if they lose their position and get preferential treatment when vacancies arise; schools must give priority to these teachers. Reassignment takes place within the same office. Should this prove impossible the organising body or the reassignment committee can 're-employ' the teacher in question. Re-employment means appointment to a ‘different office’, such as principal to the office of teacher and teacher to the office of teacher but for subjects for which he/she has not obtained the required qualification.

For schools which belong to a schools community, the reassignment and re-employment obligations fall to the schools community.

When staff members are placed on the reserve list they receive (a) redundancy pay (allowance). In certain cases staff members on the reserve list are obliged to accept their reassignment or re-employment. In some cases they may also be available to carry out pedagogical tasks.

For these reassignments and re-employments various reassignments committees per educational sector were established per school group (in community education) and per school community (in Elementary education and secondary education). The Flemish Reassignment Committee within the Ministry of Education and Training has the authority to take decisions (at all levels of education) but also acts as an appeal body which deals with notices of objection. This committee consists of a chamber for GO! and a chamber for subsidised education.


Each educational network operates its own deontological code for its teaching staff. The pedagogical counselling services, CPGs and the inspectorate also have their own deontological codes.

Members of staff must promote the interests of education, the institution and the pupils and the consultants. They shall fulfil the tasks entrusted to them with diligence and behave in a correct manner towards the pupils, parents and the general public. They will refrain from anything which may harm the trust of the general public or which may affect the honour and dignity of their position. They are not allowed to accept donations, gifts, remunerations or any other types of benefits. Their authority may not be used for political or commercial ends. They must observe professional secrecy (e.g. after class deliberating councils). They may not interrupt their office without the prior permission from the hierarchical authorities.

In subsidised education the duties ensuing from the specificity of the pedagogical project must be observed (incompatibilities must be notified in writing by the school board/ organising body before they commence their employment). The Decree explicitly states that private issues which have no bearing on the relationship between the pupil and the member of staff or school life cannot lead to disciplinary measures from the school board or organising body.

In GO! members of staff must observe neutrality and shape the pedagogical project of GO!. This declaration of neutrality can be found on 'neutraliteitsverklaring'

Replacement Measures

Schools offering elementary and secondary education, Part-time Arts Education and Adult Education are entitled to a replacement once a member of staff is absent for 10 consecutive working days.

Shorter absences have always posed a problem for schools. As of school year 2008-2009, a new system, which has been trialled since 2006, was introduced to cover short absences of staff in elementary education. This system only covers members of staff appointed to a management or teaching-staff recruitment office in elementary education.

Under this new system, every school receives a contingency of replacement units which is pooled and administered at cooperation-platform level and which can be deployed as local needs require or priorities demand.

A “cooperation platform” is understood to mean: schools collaborating within

  • a schools community;
  • a joint venture between one or several schools communities and one or several educational institutions which are not affiliated to a schools community;
  • a joint venture between several schools communities.

Replacement units can only be allocated on condition that a covenant between the organising body or bodies and the representative trade unions sitting on the competent cooperation-platform negotiation and/or consultation committee has been concluded (see 2.7.5).

Using the replacement units, a staff member can be appointed for up to one school year, provided arrangements are made in the agreement.

Since 1 September 2009, staff filling in for short-term absences in overtime or as an additional job have been on better pay.

(See Circular letter PERS/2005/23)

Supporting Measures

Throughout their career, teaching staff are supported by the pedagogical counseling services [See].


Staff members of GO!, receive a salary and the staff members of subsidised education receive a salary allowance which is paid directly and on a monthly basis by the Flemish Community.

The salary in the education sector depends on the following factors:

  • the office held (types of offices and staff categories - recruitment or selection office or promotion position)
  • the status (temporary or permanent appointment);
  • the administrative situation (active, non-active…);
  • the skills’ certificates and the thereto-related salary scales;
  • the nature of the position (principal position, part-time position) and the scope of the position;
  • the years of service (seniority);
  • the personal and family situation (additional financial benefits such as holiday pay, child allowance, travel expenses, end-of-year-bonus...)
  • other allowances such as, pre-and after school childcare allowances and allowances for lunch-time supervision.

The salary scales are linked to a well-determined skills’ certificate and consist of a starting salary (minimum), a number of periodic pay raises (annual, bi-annual and at the end of the career) and a maximum salary in accordance with salary seniority. The salary seniority only starts to run once the minimum age has been reached. The salary-scale levels are linked to the increase in consumer prices. The salary scales may be consulted on the website of the Department of Education and Training. ( )

Besides the actual salary a member of staff can, in well-defined circumstances, qualify for the following allowances: home and post allowance, a non-acquired salary scale, e.g. compensation for specific certificates and diplomas, holiday pay, end-of-year bonus, maternity allowance, child allowance, travel expenses (when using bicylce or public transportation), funeral allowance, trade-union premium, allowances for lunch-time supervision and pre- and after-school childcare.

In fact teachers have a special salary status in the sense that they are paid in accordance with the services rendered (on the basis of the number of teaching periods taught) but are not in a position to choose the number of teaching periods they wish to teach. Political measures which were proposed to introduce more flexibility regarding the number of teaching periods teachers can teach (and thus their salary) met with opposition.

Under CLA XI of 10 December 2010 for education, the extra costs incurred by a staff member in connection with his/her role are reimbursed by the organising body, if the principal has given prior consent for the costs to be incurred. Resources whose costs have been paid for by the organising body remain the property of the latter.

Teaching staff

per level

Pay scales
Starting salary
'With a maximum number of years' '''salary seniority

Nursery education

17 347.42
30 212.35

Primary education (teacher)

17 347.42
30 212.35

SO- group 1 (lower-secondary school teacher)

17 347.42
30 212.35

SO - group 2 (licentiate/

higher-secondary education teacher)

21 726.55
38 312.63

The salaries are in € amounts at 100%, they must be multiplied by a coefficient of 1.5769 (index on 1/09/2012)

Source: Department of Education and Training pay scales

Working Time and Holidays

Working hours of teachers are expressed in teaching periods of 50 minutes and not in hours of work.

Usually, this also applies to the assignment load in one-cycle programmes of higher education but there is a trend to change over to periods of 60 minutes.

Working time

The Elementary Education Decree introduced three concepts into Elementary education: the assignment, the school assignment and the main assignment.

  • The assignment comprises all the tasks carried out by the member of staff, both in and out of school (e.g. at home).
  • The school assignment consists of all the tasks the teacher performs at school itself, i.e. the main assignment (teaching duties) and a number of other tasks. In this connection, the government has stipulated (Decision of the Flemish Government of 17 June 1997) that the weekly school assignment in mainstream and special elementary education consists of no more than 26 clock hours and that taking part in parent meetings or staff meetings are not included in this.
  • The main assignment is, in principle, the teaching duty.

Full-time weekly main assignment

Number of teaching periods

Mainstream elementary education


Nursery school teacher


Primary school teacher


Religion teacher, non-confessional ethics teacher, physical-education teacher


Special elementary education

Nursery school teacher general and social education


Primary school teacher general and social education, religion teacher, non-confessional ethics teacher, physical-education teacher and the Braille compensation-techniques teacher in education-type 6


In secondary education, Adult Education and Part-time Arts Education teachers’ working hours are still expressed in the numbers of hours of actual teaching.

  • In mainstream secondary education the number of weekly teaching periods, depending on the stage the teacher is teaching and the office (general subjects, technical subjects, art subjects or practical subjects) amounts to a minimum of 20 teaching periods and a maximum of 29 teaching periods of 50 minutes.
  • In special secondary education the weekly teaching periods total a minimum of 22 teaching periods for general education and social training teachers and 24 teaching periods for teachers providing vocationally-oriented training, with a maximum of 24 and 28 teaching periods respectively.
  • In adult education the weekly assignment varies between 20 teaching periods and 25 50-minute teaching periods, depending on the branch of study in which the teaching is provided.
  • In part-time artistic education the weekly assignment comprises either 22 teaching periods (for a teaching assignment in the lower or intermediate stages) or a minimum of 20 up to a maximum of 22 teaching periods of 50 minutes (for an assignment in the higher stage and the specialisation year).

Holiday arrangement

  • The annual holidays consist of the official holidays and a number of days set by the individual educational institutions themselves. The annual holidays consist of the Christmas holidays (2 weeks), the Easter holidays (2 weeks), the Summer holidays (2 months), the autumn mid-term break and the spring mid-term break (1 week each) and a number of statutory holidays (+/- 4 days). Secondary education institutions have the option to take one day off extra while the institutions providing elementary education, ElE, and special secondary education are entitled to two optional days off. Holidays are paid and are equated to a period of service activities. However, temporary teachers are reported off duty on 30 June.
  • Temporary leave
  • Furthermore, teachers can avail of:
  • Special leave (in the event of a wedding, birth, death of a family member...)
  • Exceptional leave due to events of force majeure (illness or accident of a family member residing under the same roof as the teacher);
  • Absence to fulfil civic duties or civic assignments (court cases, local elections, ...);
  • Absence for childcare purposes in view of adoption or fostering; 
  • Reduction in working time on account of social or family reasons or due to personal circumstances;
  • Leave to hold certain public offices, political leave.
  • As is the case in the other sectors, teachers may also take a career break. Under certain conditions, temporarily and permanently-appointed members of staff as well as contract staff may interrupt their professional activities for a certain period of time and still receive an allowance.Since 1 January 2012, the period for the ordinary career break has been reduced from 72 to 60 months.
  • More information is available on

Promotion, Advancement

Opportunities for promotion in education are rather limited, thus, a teacher’s career is chiefly a level one.

Promotion is possible through appointment to a selection office or promotion position.

  • Selection offices are the offices of vice-principal, technical advisor and coordinator, in secondary education, and those of vice-principal and technical advisor in Adult Education.
  • Promotion positions are the offices of School Head Elementary education, principal in Secondary Education, principal in Adult Education, principal in Part-time Arts Education and technical advisor-coordinator in Secondary Education and Adult Education.
  • In addition, there are a number of positions in both levels of education which may be considered to be a promotion. These are the positions of directeur-coördinatie schools community in elementary education, staff member of an elementary-education schools community, coordinating director of a secondary-education schools community and general director of a school group in GO!, or of an organising body in subsidised education.

To somewhat cut across the levelness of careers and to better cater for the specific competences and interests of teachers, job and task differentiation has been introduced (e.g. stage coordination, mentoring). Since 2008, EUR 13 million has been invested in this annually.


Traditionally, mobility between education and other sectors has been very limited. The new teacher-training programmes improve the training of so-called uncertified teachers (people with professional experience in other sectors), though it has also made it more taxing. The options for secondment for teachers are limited. Transfers of permanently-appointed staff between schools is also rather limited.

Within education legislation, there are various possibilities for undertaking modified or different work. Circular PERS/2011/06 summarises these possibilities.


A temporary member of staff may resign voluntarily provided he gives 7 calendar days’ notice (15 days in the case of temporary appointments of continuous duration). However, the School Head (GO!) or the organising body (subsidised education) may agree to a shorter notice period. Permanently-appointed members of staff may also hand in their notice. In that case a minimum notice period of 15 calendar days applies unless a different term can be agreed with the organising body.

The principal (GO!) or organising body (subsidised education) may also dismiss any temporary member of staff appointed for a definite period of time for urgent reasons without any prior notice. This in cases where an offence has been committed which is grave enough to render the continuation of the temporary appointment immediately and permanently impossible.

Both temporary and permanent staff can be officially dismissed from their office without any prior notice. This applies to cases where members of staff, for no legitimate reason, barring cases of force majeure, fail to resume their duties after a period of legitimate absence and remain absent for a consecutive period of more than 10 calendar days.

Permanently-appointed members of staff and temporary staff appointed for a continuous duration may be discharged or dismissed following a disciplinary measure. When a member of staff is dismissed or made redundant the permanently-appointed member of staff will be permanently removed from office. In this case, a notice period is observed which corresponds to the number of working days required to qualify for unemployment benefits.

The discharge implies that the member of staff is not only dismissed, but also loses their acquired pension rights. This member of staff cannot, therefore, qualify for a pension as this is specified for teaching staff.

However, other sanctions have been enacted by decree for permanently-appointed staff and temporary staff appointed for a continuous duration such as:

  • A stain
  • Docking of salary
  • Suspension in the case of disciplinary measures
  • Placement on the reserve list in the case of disciplinary measures
  • Return to a temporary appointment
  • Demotion.

Aside from disciplinary measures, evaluations (see can also constitute grounds for dismissal if and when a member of staff receives the final mark 'insufficient' at the end of his/her evaluation once or several times during his/her teaching career.

Within the evaluation framework, a permanently-appointed teacher or a temporary teacher appointed for a continuous duration is dismissed if he receives two final markings ‘insufficient” in two consecutive final evaluations or if he receives three final markings “insufficient” on final evaluations throughout his or her career.

A temporary teacher (non-TADD) is dismissed if his final evaluation is concluded with “insufficient”.

Retirement and Pensions

The pension scheme for teaching staff is a federal (Belgian) area of competence. The scheme is identical for all educational levels, but highly complicated.

At the end of 2011, a decision was made at federal level to raise the minimum pensionable age and the required number of years of service. As a result, a fixed minimum age limit no longer exists: this was previously 60 years. The law of 28 December 2011 has introduced changes to the pension scheme. Among other things, these involve: 

  • increasing the minimum pensionable age and
  • increasing the number of years of service required to create entitlement to a State pension.

The right to retire has to be determined individually for each staff member.

Moreover, the system whereby staff members could be placed on a reserve list due to personal circumstances prior to retirement has been changed. Previously, staff members could opt to be placed on the list at the age of 58 (or 56 for nursery teachers) if they had at least 20 years of service and were not yet entitled to a pension.

Staff members born after 31 August 1947 and before 1 September 1954 are entitled to a bonus in the form of an additional period on the reserve list.The bonus consists of a period expressed in months, which amounts to 6.5% of the pay seniority (expressed in months) held by the staff member on the first day of the month following the month in which he/she reaches the age of 55. (See Circular PERS/2002/03.)

The new scheme means that nursery teachers born on or after 1 January 1959 will still be entitled to a two-year period on the reserve list. For all other staff members born on or after 1 January 1958, the reserve list system has been scrapped. A transitional scheme has been devised that gradually reduces the period of placement on the reserve list. At the same time, the amount of the reserve list allowance will be reduced to a percentage of its current level.
The reserve list start date will now be shifted along with the staff member's minimum pensionable age. The requirement of 20 years of service in order to be placed on the reserve list has been kept, as have the commencement dates of 1 September, 1 January and 1 April.
On 11 May 2012, the Flemish government reached an agreement with the trade unions to reform the reserve list scheme (see table below). This agreement will now be transposed into a Decision of the Flemish Government.

Date of birth
Earliest placement on reserve list before pensionable age (P)
Staff members appointed to the position of nursery teacher or nursery teacher general and social training
Before 1 September 1954
P-4 years + bonus

From 1 September 1954 and before 1 January 1958
P-4 years

From 1 January 1958 and before 1 January 1959
P-3 years

From 1 January 1959
P-2 years
Other staff members
Before 1 September 1954 P-2 years + bonus

From 1 September 1954 and before 1 January 1957 P-2 years

From 1 January 1957 and before 1 January 1958 P-1 year

From 1 January 1958 No right to reserve list placement

The amount of pension received is based on the number of years of service and the average salary of the last five years of service. In future, the pension amount will be calculated on the basis of the number of years of service and the average salary of the last ten years of service.

Few teachers work until the pensionable age of 65 years. Most avail themselves of the early retirement schemes.

In the light of both the shortage of teachers and the Generation Pact, the Flemish government decree of 4 September 2009 introduced extra flexibility into the regulations on overtime, second jobs and returns to active service (even after retirement), and improved the remuneration. This package applies to the whole of the education sector and to all personnel categories. (Circular 13CC/IF/GDH).

Since 1 September 2012, it has been possible for staff members to be kept in full employment after reaching the age limit of 65 years (renewable by successive maximum periods of one school year). (Circular PERS/2009/11 and PERS/2012/05).
In 2012, a report was published on Pensioners in Employment in Education 2010, 2011, 2012 [PDF, 22 p.] In March 2012, just under 100 pensioners between the ages of 60 and 65 and 44 pensioners over 65 were working in education.