Flexible schools open all year round

A new sort of primary school is emerging which is open from 8am to 6pm all year round to give parents more flexibility, reports Wednesday’s Volkskrant.

The first such school opened in Zandvoort a year ago and is expected to expand from 38 to 65 pupils in the coming year.
A second, in Zwolle, will open on August 17 and in 2010 there will be a similar school in Ede, reports the paper.
Relic from the past
The schools are meeting a growing demand from parents who have problems with school times and the long summer holidays which are difficult to combine with working hours, the paper says.
Shortly before the summer recess, education secretary Sharon Dijksma pointed out that traditional school opening times are a relic from the past when children were expected to help gather in the harvest.
According to the Volkskrant, Dijksma welcomes initiatives such as De School in Zandvoort which take into account that often both parents work and better match modern labour patterns. She does however stress that educational levels must be maintained and the legal obligation for schools to offer 940 teaching hours a year must be met.
Reducing stress
‘The whole of society is becoming more flexible except schools. This means it is increasingly difficult for parents to combine work and the school life of their children.
‘We offer this possibility and that reduces the daily stress for both kids and parents,’ says Marjolein Ploegman founder and director of De School in the Volkskrant.
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