Indians in Netherlands > My Experiences > Schooling from 0 to 18yrs
Updated:
You can send your kids to Dutch school or International school (English medium). Starting 2014, some Dutch schools also teach few subjects in English. Most Indians put their kids to International school (English medium) after they turn 4 years old because of the uncertainty that they may return to India. But those who are sure that they will stay here for long prefer the Dutch school.
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Timelines are as follows (in years) for Dutch school goers:
00 to 02 – no school
02 to 04 – Peuterplaza (partime, 2 or 4 days a week, 1 session a day); a play school
04 to 12 – Primary education, Group 1 to 8. Ends with CITO exam that determines your child’s future!
Based on how your child performs in the CITO, the below education applies:
12 to 18 – School for bright students; called VWO; prepares the child for university education
12 to 17 – School for average students; called HAVO; prepares child for vocational universities
12 to 16 – School for the below average; called VMBO; prepares child for vocational jobs
16 to 18 – Continuation from VMBO only; called MBO
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International school goers:
00 to 02 – no school
02 to 04 – partime, 2 or 4 days a week; 1 session a day; just a play school
04 to 11 – Primary education, Group 1 to 8. Follows International Primary Curriculum
11 to 16 – Secondary education group. Follows International Baccalaureate Curriculum (= to HAVO)
16 to 18 – International Baccalaureate Diploma (= to VWO)


Schooling for age 2 and 3:
Only playschools are available. Sending kids to playschool is optional, but something that most parents do. You can send your kids to either a Dutch playschool (search for Peuter Plaza) or an international school. International school is expensive. Popular opinion is that, except that your child has a chance of learning English at an earlier age, there is no other advantage. So most parents send their kids to Dutch playschools till the age of 4.
There is no specific start date for playschool. If your child is over 2 years and there is a vacancy in the school you have applied for, you get a call from the school about the vacancy. Make sure you apply for a school when the child turns 1.5 years.
The school will be for 2 or 4 days a week. It will be only for 1 session in a day – either morning or afternoon. Fees for Dutch playschool will be about €60 to €120 per month depending on 2 or 4 days a week. For international school, fees will be in the range of €250 per month. In a batch there will be about 16 kids. It is allowed to take vacation at anytime for these schools
You child leaves this school the day he/she turns 4 years old.


Schooling for age 4 onward:
Tip: To save some tax on the school tution fee, please go thru the Taxes post.
The day the child turns 4, he/she will step into the primary school. The entry class is called ‘foundation group’ till July. From August, it will be called Group 1. When the child is 5 years or very close to 5 in August, he/she will go to Group 2. Then on, Group number will increase by 1 each year.
Schooling is mandatory starting the day the child turns 5. It is not allowed to take vacation outside of the school holidays without a good reason. For the school vacation calendar see  http://www.schoolholidayseurope.eu/netherlands.html
There are different types of schools. Popular ones are International schools and Dutch schools.
International schools: Choose English medium schools. They are few in number and are available only in select cities. It is better to call up to get a feel of the admission possibility and process. The Amsterdam International School is very popular but wait time is over a year. Other schools are also pretty full. Some schools are in Almeer, Amsterdam, Amstelveen, Den Haag, Eindhoven, Tilburg, Breda, Utrecht, Hilversum and Maastricht. The link given below has a better list. Fees depends on the popularity and the location. Usually it is in the range of €4000 to €6000 per year. A few in Amsterdam are even more expensive since they are not aided.
Dutch schools: These are quite a few in number. Govt schools are cheap (in concept, free). Private ones are more expensive. Medium of teaching is Dutch. Everything else is same as International schools.In the initial years of schooling, the standard of teaching is low. Emphasis is to allow the kid to do what he/she likes to do. So families moving to Netherlands with school going kids carry a few Indian text books (maths, science and language) for that class and the next year.Most kids not only go to school, but also to some extra curricular activities. Except for swimming that can start even at age 6 months(!), age 4 onward is considered ideal time to start extracurricular activities.
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A good website for further information is: http://www.expatica.com/nl/education/school/dutch-education-system-explained–31083_9746.html

Disclaimer: This is my best effort and no responsibility will be taken for any inaccuracy

12 thoughts on “Schooling from 0 to 18yrs

  1. Rahul

    Hi Madhu, thanks for all the information in this site. Need one help. I may be working from Netherlands for long term (may be starting next year). I have a 7 year old daughter and need to know the good English schools that she can get admitted to, the relevant cost, admission process etc. I hear that there is a long waiting time to get admitted also. Will appreciate if you can guide me on this.

    Reply
    1. Neha

      Hi rahul,
      Did you find any schools that have English as medium of teaching?

      Reply
  2. Raj

    Hello Friends,

    I would be grateful if you can help me out on following points:

    1. schooling option in Utrecht ( girl child will turn 3years next month)
    2. Do the govt. /employer support for the school fees ?
    3. If yes, is this support 100% of fees or else?

    Regards.
    Raj

    Reply
    1. Madhu

      Raj, your questions already have pointer or are answered in the blog! You will have to dig thru the links for further details using the pointers.

      Reply
  3. deeps

    Hi,

    I would like to know if the extracurricular activities like swimming, tennis, violin in international school are charged and roughly how much would it cost. Thank you

    Reply
    1. Madhu

      Usually not provided by school. Cost outside varies by the activity. Example: football/chess-80/yr. violin – 700/yr, tennis – 35pm etc.

      Reply
    2. deeps

      After going through all the details mentioned on your website, i just needed your help on the following query:
      1. My daughter is 9. We intend to move to Netherlands in October and she has secured a seat in the Dutch school. The first year will be a transition year after which she will move into the dutch stream and the grade appropriate to her age. My only worry is that she will get roughly 1.5 yr to prepare for the CITO. I wanted to know if you would know how the children of her age cope up in studies in dutch (not having known the language earlier).
      2. In case she finds it difficult to cope up and does not score as much in the CITO test what are the alternatives available? Can she then move to IB school at that point of time?
      3. In case of IB school, how is the transition to dutch university after completing schooling at age 17

      Reply
  4. Mahesh

    Hi,

    Great info. Thanks for this. I am moving to Netherlands in a couple of months.

    My son is studying 5th class in CBSE school in India. Please advise if there are schools that are close to our Indian education system.

    Also please let me know where do the Indian primary school students go to study in Netherlands?

    Thanks in advance.
    Mahesh.

    Reply
    1. Madhu

      Are there are schools that are close to our Indian education system? Ans: No.
      The other question is already answered in the blog.

      Reply
  5. Rakesh

    Hi,
    Great info and very helpful. I’m moving to Utrecht this summer and looking for admission for my daughter who is 10.5 yrs old in Utrecht International School. I was wondering what are the option one have if desired school doesn’t have any vacancies. Due to work commitments, one can not move to schools in other cities. Do you have any suggestions on what Dutch International School Board suggest in these cases.
    Thank you and look forward for a reply.

    Reply
    1. Madhu

      If no vacancy and work does not allow, she will need to go to Dutch school. No excuses for not sending to school.

      Reply

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