Netherlands: Mass influx of students create pressure on special need school centers…

We’re told time and again only of the ”positive aspects of mass migration”…

Special education cannot handle mass influx of students


According to research by Reporter Radio (KRO-NCRV) and De Telegraaf. The sector speaks of a massive influx of students who can barely cope with schools, resulting in overcrowded classes. In addition, teachers lose their grip on the class and unsafe situations arise. According to research by Reporter Radio (KRO-NCRV) and De Telegraaf.


Huge pressure


Special education is currently under enormous pressure. A survey by the National Expertise Center for Special Education (LECSO) shows that a large part of the schools suffers from waiting lists. At the schools for special (secondary) education (SO) that is 18 percent and at special primary education 14 percent. Around 29 percent of schools in special primary education (SBO) indicate that they will soon expect a waiting list. In addition, there is a shortage of hundreds of teachers in this type of education. In total special education now has around 50,000 students.


Because of the waiting lists, children are forced to enter regular education without proper guidance. In the worst case, children even sit at home. It is estimated that at least 200 children are currently waiting for a place at a suitable school. “We are very concerned about this development,” says Wim Ludeke of LECSO. “We mainly see passing on behavior from mainstream education. If a student needs extra attention there, they quickly send it to special education. ”


Massive referral should have prevented the Appropriate Education Act, introduced in 2014. With the introduction of this law, regular schools received extra money to hire teachers and educational support staff so that children with physical or behavioral problems can stay in these types of schools as much as possible. “We see that the introduction of this law has the opposite effect,” said Ludeke.


The figures support this: in the past school year, 1,400 extra pupils were added to special (secondary) education and special primary education, while these schools often have to do with less money. Some schools see an increase of sometimes as much as ten percent.


The influx of pupils creates a dilemma at schools. Some schools choose to expand classes, although not without risk. “We hear that unsafe situations arise for both children and teachers,” says Ludeke. This is also apparent after a tour of various schools. “If a child is still small, you can easily grasp it when it goes completely crazy. Once older and stronger we get into trouble when such a situation arises. Then we have to leave the classroom with the rest of the students and then the angry child stays in the classroom, “says a team supervisor from a special education school in Friesland.


A director of a school in Groningen says that the dynamics changed completely when the class was expanded with one student. “It made the children very restless. One of them crashes and the other silently cries in a corner. In retrospect we should not have done this, but otherwise this student would have come home. ”


At De Wegwijzer, too, they have to deal with the issue of expansion. “An extra student will be added after the autumn break. Actually, there is no more room, but after consultation with the teacher, we have decided to admit him. Rather an extra student than a child who sits at home. ”


The solutions to the increasing problems in special education are not that easy to find, according to Wim Ludeke of the LECSO expertise center. “Extra money does not solve the problem immediately. We need well-qualified staff, but these people are hard to find. ”

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