Many failures in pre-school help for disadvantaged children

Efforts to ensure toddlers with difficulties in speaking Dutch or other disadvantages take part in pre-school education are being hit by serious failings, according to an education ministry inspectors’ report.

Councils are charged with ensuring children take part in the classes but not all the children who need help are getting it, the report is quoted as saying in Wednesday’s Volkskrant.

In total, some €335m a year is allocated to pre-school education, which is supposed to give 45,000 2.5 to six-year-olds from a disadvantaged backgrounds a flying start.

The inspectors checked almost 4,000 pre-school classes and found in more than half, standards were not high enough or there were other shortcomings.


In particular, parents are not sufficiently involved and primary schools are not always consulted about teaching materials and lessons, the report said.

The inspectors are also critical of the way children are assessed on the education level of their parents, not the actual skills and disadvantages of the child, the inspectors said.

Junior education minister Sander Dekker told the paper the report is a ‘wake-up call’. He wants councils to ensure they make improvements and to share experiences with other local authority areas.

Amsterdam city council is poised to start an experiment at 10 primary schools by combining them with daycare centre and which will be attended by children from the age of 2.5.

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