Summer is over: schools go back in the central school break region


The schools go back in the central school region on Monday against a backdrop of teacher shortages and the ongoing dispute over primary school teacher pay.

Princess Alexia, second daughter of king Willem-Alexander and queen Maxima is among the thousands of pupils starting secondary school this year. Like her older sister Amalia, Alexia is attending the Sorghvliet gymnasium school in The Hague.

According to broadcaster NOS, all primary schools in the central region, which stretches from The Hague to Utrecht and Almere, have managed to recruit sufficient teachers.

‘But we have our fingers crossed for the first wave of flu,’ a spokesman for the national schools council told NOS. ‘Everyone who wants a teaching job has got one. There is no more flexibility and if a teacher is off sick, it will be very hard to replace them.’

The education ministry is forecasting a shortage of 4,000 teachers by 2020 and says the situation is worst in the big cities.

Pay row

Meanwhile, the row between Labour and the VVD over teachers pay appears to have been settled. Labour leader Lodewijk Asscher earlier said he would not approve the 2018 budget unless more money was found for teachers, much to the fury of VVD leaders.

The outgoing government, made up of the two parties, is currently preparing ‘neutral’ spending plans for 2018 while talks continue on forming a new administration.

However, on Friday, finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, a Labour party minister, said he would probably be able to find extra cash to fund a pay rise for teachers, which would head off a confrontation.

The schools in the south of the country go back next week and in the North a week later.

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