Too many children get special needs label says schools minister

Government policy on dealing with school children with a handicap or ‘personality disorder’ has failed and too many children are being branded as problem cases, education minister Marja van Bijsterveldt says in an interview with Trouw.

‘In secondary school, 20% of children have a label and in primary school 10%,’ the minister said. Since 2002, when the new system was put into effect, the number of children classed as having problems has risen 65% and the cost of special education has gone up by €500m.
‘Not every child that deviates a little from what we consider normal should be branded as such,’ the minister said.
In total the government plans to cut spending on special education by €300m, Trouw quoted the minister as saying. This will partly be achieved by freezing the current budget at funding for 70,000 children.
The minister is planning to give more power to special schools on a regional basis, and to change the way all children classified as special needs are given the same budget to buy in extra care.
The plans will be formally announced later on Monday.

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