Primary school teachers need better English

The impact of early English lessons at Dutch primary schools is negligible because many teachers don’t speak the language well enough, Trouw reports on Wednesday.

Research by school testing organisation Cito shows no improvement in primary school pupil English levels over the past six years, despite schools starting lessons earlier, Trouw says.

This is partly due to the fact that 59% of primary school teachers did not have English lessons while at teacher training college, the Cito research shows.

English is compulsory from group seven but many schools now start lessons in the lower classes.

Younger pupils

From next year, all primary schools can introduce English lessons of up to four hours a week for four and five-year-olds.

The measure is one of a package aimed at encouraging schools to make more of an effort to introduce English to young children and allowing more schools to go fully bilingual.

Utrecht University professor Rick de Graaff told the paper: ‘Teachers need to speak excellent English and to be properly trained in order to achieve anything. And many teachers are far from reaching this standard.’


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