MPs call for change on primary school tests, secondary school choice


Teachers should not take a final decision on what sort of secondary school their 12-year-old pupils should go to until after they have taken their school leaving tests, MPs from the four coalition parties said on Wednesday.

Since 2015, the role of teachers in deciding what sort of school pupils go to at the age of 12 has been boosted and that of national tests, such as the Cito, downplayed.

However, MPs now say it is illogical that pupils are given their formal secondary school advice in February but don’t take the tests until April or May. In addition, teachers are unlikely to change their recommendations in line with the test outcomes, MPs say.

Last year, it emerged that primary school teachers are being pressured by parents to change their recommendations about what sort of secondary school children should go to.

The survey of 2,000 teachers by the CNV trade union showed three-quarters had faced pressure from parents to recommend children went to a more academic secondary school.

Dutch children are selected for one of three streams at the age of 12: pre-university (vwo), pre-college (havo) and vocational training (vmbo).

MPs are divided about whether the tests should be brought forward or the recommendations published later, broadcaster NOS said. has been free for 12 years, but now we are asking our readers to help. Your donation will enable us to keep providing you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch.
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