Understanding the educational support system

This article, by our school counselor, delves into the Dutch support system for children with extra educational needs. It explores the concept of 'appropriate education' and how it's designed to optimally nurture each individual guiding them towards a promising future.

By Marloes Petram, School Counsellor, OIS

Education should not merely prepare for work but also for life.  

Parenting and educating children can be likened to an adventurous journey, albeit one with its inevitable bumps. This is particularly true in a diverse environment like OIS, an international school bringing together children, staff, and parents from various cultural backgrounds. OIS excels in providing a safe and respectful environment tailored to each child’s needs.

In this article, I aim to address these bumps in the journey. While ups and downs during primary school years are normal, they can raise concerns for parents, schools, and children alike.

If these challenges prove too significant for the child to navigate alone, we are here to help. There are numerous ways to support children. Sometimes, finding the right approach involves a bit of trial and error, drawing from our own experiences. However, there are occasions when professional, evidence-based help is needed. As a school counselor, I advocate for open communication among the school, parents, and students, as this fosters the most effective support system.

What is 'Passend Onderwijs'?

The Dutch government reinforces this principle through municipal support, emphasizing every child’s right to suitable education – which is called ‘Passend Onderwijs’. This support encompasses not only academic challenges but also physical and mental ones. Whether it’s motor remedial teaching, social-emotional skills training, or assistance with academic difficulties like dyslexia, appropriate interventions and support are provided.

Each Dutch municipality has established partnerships among schools to deliver appropriate education, with funding from the Ministry of Education. In Haarlemmermeer, for instance, each school is assigned an Appropriate Education consultant, a school coach, and healthcare professionals who collaborate and refer to appropriate specialist help. Costs for professional help contracted through the municipality are reimbursed from government contributions. The only drawback is that the diligence required to assess the situation can be time-consuming. And that there are also waiting lists in Dutch youth care.

While private assistance is an option, with parents covering the costs, maintaining a strong connection between parents and the school remains beneficial for the child’s well-being.

Together we explore the best path for your child

As a School Counselor, I operate within the child-parent-school triangle, drawing from my background in supporting children with specific learning needs and collaborating with professional care providers. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you encounter obstacles in your child’s educational journey. Together, we’ll explore the best path for your child’s development towards a promising future.