Schools struggling to cope with rise in refugee children

A number of Dutch schools are struggling to cope with the rise in the number of refugee children, Nos television said on Monday.

A special work group set up to monitor education provision for refugee children is phoned by worried school heads and council officials on a daily basis, the broadcaster said.

‘Schools are not only struggling with paying for the rise in pupil numbers but with language issues,’ said spokeswoman Marieke Postma. ‘They want to know how to deal with traumatised children and how to make sure they have enough teaching staff.’


Children in refugee centres have the right to education within eight weeks of their arrival. There has been a surge in refugee numbers, particularly from Syria, in recent months. In the first six months of the year, the some 12,300 people have requested asylum in the Netherlands, double the 2013 figure.

For example, 1,400 asylum seekers are soon to move into a holiday village in Drenthe and local school chiefs don’t know how many children to expect.

‘We’ve been told to base ourselves on a figure of 10% when it comes to the under-12s. That means we may have to find primary school places for 140 children alone,’ spokesman Jos van Kimmenaede told the broadcaster.

By the beginning of September, there were some 21,600 people living in Dutch refugee centres, of whom around 20% were school age children.

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