Labour MPs back call for more cash for refugee school children

Labour MPs plan to break with the government line and support calls for more money to help refugee children learn Dutch at school, news agency ANP said on Wednesday.

The addition of Labour means there is majority support for the proposal to increase funding from one to two years, ANP said.

Neither the ruling VVD nor junior education minister Sander Dekker support the plan. He says schools have enough money to fund the extra help.

Schools currently get one year’s worth of funding to help new arrivals settle into the Dutch system but primary school heads and the schools council PO-Raad say this is not enough.


The PO-Raad says one year of language teaching is irresponsible because the children’s Dutch cannot be brought up to standard in one year. ‘Once you are behind, you can never catch up,’ PO-Raad chairwoman Rinda den Besten said in April. ‘[These children] will feel the disadvantages of this for the rest of their lives.’

Last year, 5,800 refugee children started at a Dutch primary school but this year the figure is expected to be up to 14,000.

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