More kids per class: Dutch primary school class sizes keep on growing


While primary school classes still average around 23 pupils, there has been a 5%  increase in the number of classes with over 26 children in the past five years, the AD said on Thursday.

In total, some 35% of primary school teachers now have to deal with at least 26 children in class, the paper said, quoting government figures obtained using freedom of information legislation.

‘To say there has been no increase in the average class size is burying your head in the sand,’ said Jan van de Ven, founder of lobby group PO in Actie. ‘Nine years ago, you could count the number of classes with more than 30 children on one hand, but now almost every school has at least one.’

Parents’ organisation Ouders & Onderwijs says it is contacted by parents who are worried about class sizes every week. ‘In short, parents think that classes are too busy and that their child is not getting enough attention,’ director Peter Hulsen told the paper.


Socialist party MP Peter Kwint, who last year tried to get a maximum class size of 23 on the statute books, told the AD that classes of 30 pupils mean a lot more work for teachers.

‘Thirty children means 30 meetings with parents, 30 reports to write, 30 tests to mark,’ he said. ‘This illustrates the need to take steps.

Primary school teachers are currently campaigning for more pay and for more measures to reduce the pressure of work. They say that although the new government has allocated extra cash, it does not go far enough.