ACCESS NL > Education in the Netherlands > Dutch school system > Primary and secondary education > What are the principle aims of Dutch primary school education and what subjects will my child be taught?

Primary and secondary education

I am planning to stay here for a long time. Should I send my children to a Dutch or an international school?

I have a 14 year old daughter who is coming to live with me in the Netherlands. She does not speak any Dutch. Therefore, can you recommend a Dutch state school where my daughter can learn the language as well as being taught the normal academic subjects?

Do all international schools teach in English?

What are the principle aims of Dutch primary school education and what subjects will my child be taught?

The Dutch government has set kerndoelen (attainment targets) which define what children are expected to have acquired in the way of knowledge, understanding and skills by the end of primary school. Whilst these attainment targets describe in general terms the skills and knowledge a child must have acquired, the referentieniveaus (benchmark levels) for mathematics and language specifically prescribe the degree of proficiency that a child must attain in any given year of schooling.

The core curriculum for all basisscholen (primary schools) must include the following subjects:

  • Dutch
  • English (from group 7 on- 10/11 years years old)
  • Arithmetic and mathematics
  • Social and environmental studies (including, for instance, geography, history, science – including biology, citizenship, social and life skills – including road safety, healthy living, social structures – including political studies, and religious and ideological movements)
  • Creative expression (including, for instance, music, drawing and handicrafts)
  • Sports and movement.

Schools are free to offer other subjects such as French, German or religious studies, but these subjects are not required by law.

I want to raise my children bilingually. Are there any Dutch schools that teach (partly) in English?

What are the options for my child’s secondary and higher education options in Dutch schools and universities?

I am moving to the Netherlands soon. I am considering home schooling for my children. Is this allowed in the Netherlands?

Who is the leerplichtambtenaar and why did I get a letter from this person?

How does the Dutch school system work?

My daughter is in group 8 of a Dutch primary school. She is capable of the HAVO or VWO track in secondary school, but her Dutch is insufficient for this level. What options are available?