Four in 10 Dutch schools have a chronic lack of teaching staff: union

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The shortage of teachers is becoming extremely worrying and four in 10 schools now have no replacement staff should teachers fall ill, according to the Aob teaching union on Friday.

The situation is worsening ‘shockingly quickly’ and many schools have reached tipping point, chairwoman Liesbeth Verheggen told the Telegraaf.

The union bases its claims on research involving 6,200 teachers. While four in 10 ordinary schools are suffering, two-thirds of special needs schools do not have replacement staff, the survey showed.

One in five primary schools and one in four secondary schools also have unfilled vacancies. And in the first few weeks of the new term, 17% of primary schools and 30% of special needs schools sent pupils home because there was no-one to teach them.

The AD, meanwhile, reports that there is an exodus of teachers from the big cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Almere and that inner city schools have hundreds of vacancies.

In total, 818 teachers left the cities in 2018 and were replaced by just 448, figures from labour force monitor PO show. In the 2013-14 school year, 128 teachers left.

‘It is a real shame that most teachers are leaving the areas where the pressure is greatest,’ PO chairman Ton Groot Zwaftink told the AD. ‘But it is also logical, given that as the shortage grows, the pressure on teachers increases.


Last month, for example, Amsterdam’s 16th Montessori school closed its doors, citing a shortage of staff.

Teachers will hold a nationwide strike on November 6 in support of demands for extra funding.  Union leaders gave the government until October 21 to respond to their request for a €423.5 financial package in 2020, half of which would go to primary schools.

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