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Netherlands 2016

Foundations for the Future

image of Netherlands 2016

How can the Netherlands move its school system “from good to great”? This report draws on international experience to look at ways in which the strong Dutch school system might go further still on the path to excellence. Clearly the Dutch school system is one of the best in the OECD, as measured by PISA and PIAAC and is also equitable, with a very low proportion of poor performers. The report therefore proposes an incremental approach to reform, building on strengths while responding to some emerging challenges. The Netherlands should strengthen the quality of early childhood education and care, revisit policies related to early tracking with more objective testing and track decisions, and enhance the permeability of the system. It should develop the professionalism of teachers and school leaders through enhanced collective learning and working, while at the same time strengthening accountability and capacity in school boards. This report will be valuable not only for the Netherlands, but also to the many other education systems looking to raise their performance who are interested in the example of the Netherlands.

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Enhancing teacher professional development in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has pursued numerous initiatives to improve the quality and attractiveness of the teaching profession, including the establishment of a teacher’s register, greater salary flexibility and more selective entry into teacher training. While many teachers are approaching retirement age some challenges remain. This chapter examines policies and practices to enhance teacher professionalism and further improve the career structure. It examines the teaching skills of Dutch teachers, their initial education and professional development opportunities, as well as the potential obstacles to participation. It highlights the importance of a life cycle approach to teachers’ professional development that is underpinned by a diversified career structure, and the promotion of collaborative working and learning among other teachers and school leaders.

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