“Brigades” to help schools with language, math lessons

Pupils in primary and secondary education will receive extra support in improving the basic skills of language, arithmetic/mathematics, civics, and digital literacy in the coming year. Roughly 500 schools will receive extra money for this and a “brigade of experts” is ready for educational institutions that cannot arrange it, Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Dennis Wiersma reported on Thursday.

Several reports have already shown that too many students are significantly behind in their reading, writing, and math. “No matter how hard teachers try, we see that that foundation needs to be strengthened. That is why we are going to help teachers and school leaders to better and more specifically help students move forward,” says Wiersma.

The money could go towards an extra hour of lessons per day to help specific pupils improve their reading, writing, and arithmetic in the coming school year. The support team is available for schools that cannot arrange this with their existing team. “They will go to schools to implement a tailor-made plan together with the team of teachers. Extra hands at work in the school, under the direction of the school itself. Tens of thousands of students can be helped through this in the coming school year.”

The General Education Union (AOb) responds that “more colleagues are simply needed” in education. “It is right that the minister is looking at what schools should and should not do. But a lot is already on teachers’ plates because there are too few people and resources in other places,” says AOb chair Tamar van Gelder. She believes that teachers should be involved in the changes that are being implemented.

The PO-Raad, the sector organization for primary education, wants continuous testing for the feasibility and side effects of Wiersma’s master plan. “After all, education is struggling with enormous staff shortages and new plans should not cramp education,” according to the PO-Raad. The organization wants school organizations to have an important say in the further elaboration of this plan. “They have to do it eventually.”

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