Friday 10 July 2020

Teacher shortage worries schools, but most say standards have not slipped

Exam rooms are empty this year. Photo:

School heads are worried about the impact of the shortage of teachers when primary schools reopen fully again on June 8.

Schools expect some of the 55,000 children who have stayed away since classes restarted earlier this month will now start attending school again, and this will further add to the problem.

‘We already had a shortage of primary school teachers and that is even more the case now,’ Ingrid Doornbos of the school heads association AVS said.

Some 37% of primary schools say they are short of staff and 55% have lost teachers because of coronavirus. ‘Many schools have been able to move the team around to fill gaps, but now schools are going to reopen fully it will be tricky,’ Doornbos said.

At the same time, most primary schools do not think that their pupils have suffered because of the switch to remote learning when schools were closed in March. One in 10 school heads say there are problems to deal with and 1% say the situation is serious.

‘But some schools say their pupils have made more progress,’ Doornbos said. ‘Parents have worked very hard to keep up their children’s education. Remote learning was introduced extremely quickly and that should be respected.’

Repeat year

Meanwhile, just over 53% of secondary schools say they have relaxed the rules for making children repeat a year, and two in five say no pupils will be forced to do the same year a second time, according to research by the Volkskrant.

Secondary schools have been told they can resume physical lessons from June 1, as long as they meet social distancing requirements.

Some 3% to 5% of Dutch pupils repeat at least one year during their secondary school career.

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