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Netherlands:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

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Overview Netherlands

Contents

Netherlands:Political, Social and Economic Background and Trends

Netherlands:Historical Development

Netherlands:Main Executive and Legislative Bodies

Netherlands:Population: Demographic Situation, Languages and Religions

Netherlands:Political and Economic Situation

Netherlands:Organisation and Governance

Netherlands:Fundamental Principles and National Policies

Netherlands:Lifelong Learning Strategy

Netherlands:Organisation of the Education System and of its Structure

Netherlands:Organisation of Private Education

Netherlands:National Qualifications Framework

Netherlands:Administration and Governance at Central and/or Regional Level

Netherlands:Administration and Governance at Local and/or Institutional Level

Netherlands:Statistics on Organisation and Governance

Netherlands:Funding in Education

Netherlands:Early Childhood and School Education Funding

Netherlands:Higher Education Funding

Netherlands:Adult Education and Training Funding

Netherlands:Early Childhood Education and Care

Netherlands:Organisation of Early Childhood Education and Care

Netherlands:Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Education and Care

Netherlands:Assessment in Early Childhood Education and Care

Netherlands:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Early Childhood Education and Care

Netherlands:Primary Education

Netherlands:Organisation of Primary Education

Netherlands:Teaching and Learning in Primary Education

Netherlands:Assessment in Primary Education

Netherlands:Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures in Primary Education

Netherlands:Secondary and Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Netherlands:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

Netherlands:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

Netherlands:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Netherlands:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Netherlands:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Netherlands:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Netherlands:Organisation of Vocational Secondary Education (MBO)

Netherlands:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Secondary Education (MBO)

Netherlands:Assessment in Vocational Secondary Education (MBO)

Netherlands:Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Netherlands:Higher Education

Netherlands:Types of Higher Education Institutions

Netherlands:First Cycle Programmes

Netherlands:Bachelor

Netherlands:Short-Cycle Higher Education

Netherlands:Second Cycle Programmes

Netherlands:Programmes outside the Bachelor and Master Structure

Netherlands:Third Cycle (PhD) Programmes

Netherlands:Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Distribution of Responsibilities

Netherlands:Developments and Current Policy Priorities

Netherlands:Main Providers

Netherlands:Main Types of Provision

Netherlands:Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Netherlands:Teachers and Education Staff

Netherlands:Initial Education for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Conditions of Service for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers Working in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education

Netherlands:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Netherlands:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Netherlands:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Management and Other Education Staff

Netherlands:Management Staff for Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Staff Involved in Monitoring Educational Quality for Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Education Staff Responsible for Guidance in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools

Netherlands:Management Staff for Higher Education

Netherlands:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Higher Education

Netherlands:Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Quality Assurance

Netherlands:Quality Assurance in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Netherlands:Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Educational Support and Guidance

Netherlands:Special Education Needs Provision within Mainstream Education

Netherlands:Separate Special Education Needs Provision in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Guidance and Counselling in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Support Measures for Learners in Higher Education

Netherlands:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

Netherlands:Support Measures for Learners in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Netherlands:Mobility and Internationalisation

Netherlands:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Mobility in Higher Education

Netherlands:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Netherlands:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Netherlands:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Netherlands:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Netherlands:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Netherlands:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Netherlands:National Reforms in School Education

Netherlands:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Netherlands:National Reforms in Higher Education

Netherlands:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Netherlands:European Perspective

Netherlands:Legislation

Netherlands:Institutions

Netherlands:Bibliography

Netherlands:Glossary

Curriculum, Subjects, Number of Hours

Primary education is regulated by the Primary Education Act (WPO). It prescribes, for instance, that schools have to provide at least 7,520 teaching hours over the eight years that children attend school. Under the WPO schools must provide teaching in the following curriculum areas:

  • sensory coordination and physical exercise;
  • Dutch;
  • arithmetic and mathematics;
  • English;
  • a number of factual subjects, including geography, history, science (including biology), social structures (including political studies) and religious and ideological movements;
  • expressive activities;
  • self-reliance, i.e. social and life skills, including road safety;
  • healthy living.

The WPO does not lay down the number of teaching hours in each of these areas.

Frisian as a compulsory subject
Frisian is a compulsory subject for primary schools in the province of Friesland, but they may apply to the provincial executive for exemption if less than 5% of pupils at the school have a Frisian background.

Non-core subjects
Schools may choose to teach extra subjects in addition to the core curriculum, such as religious education, French or German. Parents can give their opinion on extra subjects through the school’s participation council but the school takes the final decision.

Attainment targets

Attainment targets for primary education have been laid down by the government. Schools are expected to organise their teaching in such a way that all the subject matter to which these targets relate has been covered by the end of primary school. The targets define in broad terms the core curriculum at primary schools and ensure that pupils are prepared for secondary school.

A booklet is available (in Dutch only) that describes the attainment targets in the following core areas:
• Dutch;
• English;
• Frisian;
• arithmetic/mathematics;
• social and environmental studies;
• creative expression;
• sport and movement.
Attainment target cards are also available as a classroom resource.

The subjects French and German do not fall within the attainment targets, though schools may include them in their curriculum. The statutory attainment targets for English provide a model for French and German.

Science and technology
The government wants schools to devote more time to science and technology. These areas are also addressed in the attainment targets. Businesses and colleges for higher technical education help primary schools give their pupils an introduction to technology.

Diversity and sexuality
On 1 December 2012, learning to show respect for sexuality and diversity, including sexual diversity, were introduced as attainment targets in primary, secondary and special education. This is part of the broader aim of teaching children to treat others with respect.

Languages
Subjects are usually taught in Dutch. However, some 650 schools offer early foreign language education. The most common foreign language taught at primary school is English, followed by German, French and Spanish. Foreign language programmes usually start in year 1 (at the age of 4).

Methods and materials

Mainstream primary schools and special schools for primary education are free to choose their own teaching methods and materials. Teaching materials are the property of the school. In the Netherlands, the production, distribution and sale of teaching materials is a commercial activity.

The Knowledge Centre for Teaching Resources (KCL), which falls under the National Institute for Curriculum Development (SLO; in Dutch only), helps schools select teaching materials by providing an overview of all the textbooks and teaching materials available for primary education.

The Ministry has charged the SLO with further elaborating the attainment targets in the form of more detailed content and activities (formerly referred to as intermediate targets and learning trajectories) These suggestions for content and activities offer guidance to teachers, but they are also useful for pupils, designers of teaching materials, trainers and counsellors, school inspectors and other parties involved in primary education.

Use of ICT

The use of computers and other ICT equipment in primary education is not laid down by law, but nearly all teachers use digital learning materials. Some 75% of primary school classrooms have an electronic blackboard and schools have, on average, one computer for every five pupils. Software makes up 29% of teaching materials in primary schools. Teachers and headteachers use ICT tools, such as the Education Database (BRON; in Dutch only), to improve the organisation of education, and pupils’ progress is recorded in an online pupil monitoring system.

Schools can apply to centres of expertise such as Kennisnet (in Dutch only) for support in all issues concerning ICT – from hardware to applications.