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You can send your kids to Dutch school or International school (English medium). Starting 2014, some Dutch schools also teach few subjects in English. Most Indians put their kids to International school (English medium) after they turn 4 years old because of the uncertainty that they may return to India. But those who are sure that they will stay here for long prefer the Dutch school.

Timelines are as follows (in years) for Dutch school goers:

00 to 02 – no school
02 to 04 – Peuterplaza (partime, 2 or 4 days a week, 1 session a day); a play school
04 to 12 – Primary education, Group 1 to 8. Ends with CITO exam that determines your child’s future!

Based on how your child performs in the CITO, the below education applies:
12 to 18 – School for bright students; called VWO; prepares the child for university education
12 to 17 – School for average students; called HAVO; prepares child for vocational universities
12 to 16 – School for the below average; called VMBO; prepares child for vocational jobs
16 to 18 – Continuation from VMBO only; called MBO

International school goers:
00 to 02 – no school
02 to 04 – partime, 2 or 4 days a week; 1 session a day; just a play school
04 to 11 – Primary education, Group 1 to 8. Follows International Primary Curriculum
11 to 16 – Secondary education group. Follows International Baccalaureate Curriculum (= to HAVO)
16 to 18 – International Baccalaureate Diploma (= to VWO)

Schooling for age 2 and 3:

Only playschools are available. Sending kids to playschool is optional, but something that most parents do. You can send your kids to either a Dutch playschool (search for Peuter Plaza) or an international school. International school is expensive. Popular opinion is that, except that your child has a chance of learning English at an earlier age, there is no other advantage. So most parents send their kids to Dutch playschools till the age of 4.

There is no specific start date for playschool. If your child is over 2 years and there is a vacancy in the school you have applied for, you get a call from the school about the vacancy. Make sure you apply for a school when the child turns 1.5 years.

The school will be for 2 or 4 days a week. It will be only for 1 session in a day – either morning or afternoon. Fees for Dutch playschool will be about €60 to €120 per month depending on 2 or 4 days a week. For international school, fees will be in the range of €250 per month. In a batch there will be about 16 kids. It is allowed to take vacation at anytime for these schools
You child leaves this school the day he/she turns 4 years old.

Schooling for age 4 onward:

Tip: To save some tax on the school tution fee, please go thru the Taxes post.

The day the child turns 4, he/she will step into the primary school. The entry class is called ‘foundation group’ till July. From August, it will be called Group 1. When the child is 5 years or very close to 5 in August, he/she will go to Group 2. Then on, Group number will increase by 1 each year.

Schooling is mandatory starting the day the child turns 5. It is not allowed to take vacation outside of the school holidays without a good reason. For the school vacation calendar see http://www.schoolholidayseurope.eu/netherlands.html . There are different types of schools. Popular ones are International schools and Dutch schools.

International schools:

Choose English medium schools. They are few in number and are available only in select cities. It is better to call up to get a feel of the admission possibility and process. The Amsterdam International School is very popular but wait time is over a year. Other schools are also pretty full. Some schools are in Almeer, Amsterdam, Amstelveen, Den Haag, Eindhoven, Tilburg, Breda, Utrecht, Hilversum and Maastricht. The link given below has a better list. Fees depends on the popularity and the location. Usually it is in the range of €4000 to €6000 per year. A few in Amsterdam are even more expensive since they are not aided.

Dutch schools:

These are quite a few in number. Govt schools are cheap (in concept, free). Private ones are more expensive. Medium of teaching is Dutch. Everything else is same as International schools.In the initial years of schooling, the standard of teaching is low. Emphasis is to allow the kid to do what he/she likes to do. So families moving to Netherlands with school going kids carry a few Indian text books (maths, science and language) for that class and the next year. Most kids not only go to school, but also to some extra curricular activities. Except for swimming that can start even at age 6 months (!), age 4 onward is considered ideal time to start extracurricular activities.

A good website for further information is: http://www.expatica.com/nl/education/school/dutch-education-system-explained–31083_9746.html

** Information references and credits : http://indiansinnetherlands.com/