The strengths of initial teacher preparation in the Netherlands lie in the level of coherence and strong partnerships in the system; balance struck between autonomy and accountability; and common language around the importance of having a developmental continuum for teachers from initial teacher education to induction and ongoing professional development. In the face of their gravest challenge – teacher shortage – and the complexity of programmes, pathways and qualifications, the Netherlands’ greatest opportunity is to continue to focus on the quality of ITP across the system through scaling up and sustaining successful initiatives, supporting pilot projects and innovation, and expanding initiatives that promote the developmental continuum for teachers.

Who's who in ITP in the Netherlands?

From 6 to 10 March 2017, the OECD Review team spoke to more than 100 different stakeholders in national government and government agencies, municipalities, school boards, teacher education institutions, schools, associations and teacher unions in Amsterdam, Groningen and The Hague.

Meet the stakeholders
National ministry of education

National ministry of education

Ministry of Education, Culture and Science

The Ministry (Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschappen, OCW, MoECS) is responsible for the quality of the education system. It sets national education policy for early childhood education and care (ECEC) and for primary and secondary education, including standards, examinations and funding mechanisms. For tertiary education, the MoECS sets the teaching and examination framework.

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Inspectorate of Education

The Inspectorate for Education reviews and monitors the finances of higher education institutions. It assesses schools and school boards using a supervision framework. It also discusses absolute and relative performance with school boards and professionals in schools and reports (very) weak schools to MoECS. It monitors  compliance with statutory regulations.

Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO)

The NVAO was established in 2005 as an independent accreditation authority based at The Hague that provides an objective assessment of the quality of higher education in both Flanders and the Netherlands. The tasks of the NVAO are described in the “Higher Education and Research Act” (Wet Hoger Onderwijs en Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, WHW). The 15 Dutch and Flemish members of the Board of NVAO are appointed for a four-year term by the Committee of Ministers (the Dutch and Flemish Ministers responsible for higher education), who are experts in the fields of higher education, professional practice of higher education, scientific research and quality assurance. The Board of NVAO focuses on the strategic policy of the organisation, the development of the Dutch and Flemish quality management systems and the resulting assessment frameworks, reports on reviews of groups of institutions or programmes, the adoption of the budget and the annual accounts, appeals and advice to the Ministers of Education.

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Dutch Association for Teacher Educators (VELON)

VELON is an independent association with around 1500 individual members, who are professionally involved in (both pre- and in-service) teacher education in the Netherlands. VELON is primarily concerned with professional support for teacher educators and improving the quality of teacher education by for example:

Maintaining a professional standard and a professional register for teachers educators. Teacher educators can apply to be included in the professional register by passing a professional development process and peer-assessment.

Developing a knowledge base for teacher educators (in 2011) in close co-operation with the Free University of Amsterdam. This knowledge base can support (novice) teacher educators to develop their knowledge on the teaching and learning of (student) teachers

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The NVAO was established in 2005 as an independent accreditation authority based at The Hague that provides an objective assessment of the quality of higher education in both Flanders and the Netherlands. The tasks of the NVAO are described in the “Higher Education and Research Act” (Wet Hoger Onderwijs en Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, WHW). The 15 Dutch and Flemish members of the Board of NVAO are appointed for a four-year term by the Committee of Ministers (the Dutch and Flemish Ministers responsible for higher education), who are experts in the fields of higher education, professional practice of higher education, scientific research and quality assurance. The Board of NVAO focuses on the strategic policy of the organisation, the development of the Dutch and Flemish quality management systems and the resulting assessment frameworks, reports on reviews of groups of institutions or programmes, the adoption of the budget and the annual accounts, appeals and advice to the Ministers of Education.

Learn more

VELON is an independent association with around 1500 individual members, who are professionally involved in (both pre- and in-service) teacher education in the Netherlands. VELON is primarily concerned with professional support for teacher educators and improving the quality of teacher education by for example:

Maintaining a professional standard and a professional register for teachers educators. Teacher educators can apply to be included in the professional register by passing a professional development process and peer-assessment.

Developing a knowledge base for teacher educators (in 2011) in close co-operation with the Free University of Amsterdam. This knowledge base can support (novice) teacher educators to develop their knowledge on the teaching and learning of (student) teachers

Learn more

Sub-national authorities

Sub-national authorities

Municipalities

There are 380 municipalities (local governments) in the Netherlands. Municipalities own school buildings and are responsible for their maintenance. They are also in charge of improving the quality of education in schools by making funding and assistance available at the local level. Municipalities monitor compliance with the Compulsory Education Act and collect information on student drop out. They also aim to informally influence local school policies. Under certain policies, such as the Local Education Agenda (Locale Educatieve Agenda, LEA), co-operation is mandated between municipalities and other levels of government.

 

School boards

School boards have become increasingly autonomous in the Netherlands since devolution in the 1980s. There are 1 115 school boards in primary education, 335 in secondary education and 66 in upper secondary senior vocational education, and more than half of these school boards in primary and secondary education is composed of only 1 school (OECD, 2015). School boards are responsible for the organisation of schools, including management of personnel and resources, organisation of instruction, and school self-evaluation and quality monitoring. School boards can be composed of volunteers such as parents, and/or of professional managers, and their composition varies widely across the Netherlands.

 

Education Council

The Education Council is an independent governmental advisory body composed of leading academics, administrators and other experts on education which provides advice to the Minister of Education, Sciences and Cultural Affairs, the Minister of Economy, parliament and municipalities on education policy, such as accommodation, policies regarding educationally disadvantaged pupils, foreign language education and school advisory services. It also operates as a think tank that provides analyses of current issues and formulates solutions to help develop new policy. Municipalities can call on the Education Council if they have a dispute with a school board that is directly or indirectly related to the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of education.

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Dutch Council for Primary Education (PO Raad)

The PO Raad represents the Education school boards’ interests and follows the development and the implementation of national policies for primary education.

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Dutch Council for Secondary Education (VO Raad)

VO Raad represents over 300 school boards and 600 schools in secondary education. Its mission is to foster quality, innovation and development in secondary education. VO Raad consults with unions concerning labour agreements and advocates for the interests of the schools on particular themes in the policy agenda.

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English Summary

Dutch Council for Secondary Vocational Education and Training (MBO-Raad)

MBO-Raad represents the employers (school boards) of the vocational education sector and offers support services to schools, such as a team of “flying brigades” which work with schools identified by the Inspectorate of Education as weak or unsatisfactory.

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The PO Raad represents the Education school boards’ interests and follows the development and the implementation of national policies for primary education.

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VO Raad represents over 300 school boards and 600 schools in secondary education. Its mission is to foster quality, innovation and development in secondary education. VO Raad consults with unions concerning labour agreements and advocates for the interests of the schools on particular themes in the policy agenda.

Learn more

English Summary

MBO-Raad represents the employers (school boards) of the vocational education sector and offers support services to schools, such as a team of “flying brigades” which work with schools identified by the Inspectorate of Education as weak or unsatisfactory.

Learn more

Teacher education institutions

Teacher education institutions

Universities of Applied Sciences (Hogeschool)

The 43 Universities of Applied Sciences (HBOs) in the Netherlands offer 200 programmes in a wide range of disciplines. They provide theoretical and practical training for occupations for which a higher vocational qualification is either required or useful. Graduates find employment in various fields, including middle and high-ranking jobs in trade and industry, social services, health care and the public sector.

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Universities

The 13 universities in the Netherlands, including 3 universities of technology, combine academic research and teaching. University education focuses on training in academic disciplines, the independent pursuit of scholarship and the application of scholarly knowledge in the context of a profession and aims to improve understanding of the phenomena studied in the various disciplines and generate new knowledge.

Teacher educators

The roles and responsibilities for (institution-based) teacher educators are clearly established by VELON, which registers teacher educators. A teacher educator receives a VELON registration if they satisfy/meet the professional standard for teacher educators. Each registration is valid for a period of four years. Teachers interested in the pedagogy of their specific subject and with a few years of teaching experience behind them can then apply for the occupation of teacher educator at an HBO or University. Teacher educators work with beginning teachers on generic themes related to the teaching profession.

Teacher candidates

The minimum requirements for teachers are regulated in the 2006 Professionals in Education Act, which was revised in 2014. The act now regulates the standards of competence for teachers in primary, secondary and senior secondary vocational education, which are divided into three categories: subject content requirements, didactical requirements and pedagogical requirements. It also distinguishes between requirement levels for primary teachers (Bachelor level), teachers in secondary education (Master’s) and senior secondary vocational education. The current seven competences of the professional requirements provide a guideline for ITE curricula and end terms/final qualifications for ITE programmes. Formal evaluation/accreditation of the ITE programmes verifies whether the competences are covered in the ITE curricula.

Hogeschool van Amsterdam

Criteria for selection: The Faculty of Education at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HBO) offers a variety of Bachelor and Master programmes in the field of teacher education and pedagogics. The School of Education has a strong focus on urban education and maintains close ties with schools and pedagogical institutions in the city of Amsterdam (e.g. (Fresh Start programme).

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Hogeschool Leiden

Criteria for selection: The Leiden University of Applied Sciences has 5 faculties, including education, with a total of 7 300 enrolments (2017). It has a strong partnership with Lucas Onderwijs School Board and J.H. Snijderschools (primary school) (“Learning Lab”).

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University of Groningen

Criteria for selection: Located in one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands, the Department of Teacher Education is part of the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences. As a centre of expertise on secondary education, it focuses mainly on training and educating professional teachers; professionalisation of novice and experienced teachers; scientific educational research. It has strong partnerships with schools as part of teachers’ practical training and induction.

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Criteria for selection: The Faculty of Education at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HBO) offers a variety of Bachelor and Master programmes in the field of teacher education and pedagogics. The School of Education has a strong focus on urban education and maintains close ties with schools and pedagogical institutions in the city of Amsterdam (e.g. (Fresh Start programme).

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Criteria for selection: The Leiden University of Applied Sciences has 5 faculties, including education, with a total of 7 300 enrolments (2017). It has a strong partnership with Lucas Onderwijs School Board and J.H. Snijderschools (primary school) (“Learning Lab”).

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Criteria for selection: Located in one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands, the Department of Teacher Education is part of the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences. As a centre of expertise on secondary education, it focuses mainly on training and educating professional teachers; professionalisation of novice and experienced teachers; scientific educational research. It has strong partnerships with schools as part of teachers’ practical training and induction.

Learn more

Teacher educators
Trainee teachers
Schools

Schools

Schools

Within the framework set by the central government, administration of Dutch schools is highly decentralised. Under the constitutional principle providing for freedom of education, anyone may establish a school based on personal beliefs or principles. These schools must be recognised by the ministry provided that they meet all requirements in their sectors.

School management

School leaders in the Netherlands are responsible for developing the school vision, for motivating and directing the staff, and for managing school finances. There are no fixed roles within pedagogical teams, besides the role of teacher leader. Most often, the teacher leader is a senior teacher who leads the development of subject/occupational content, pedagogical, or didactical knowledge and professional development.

Teachers

The minimum requirements for teachers are regulated in the 2006 Professionals in Education Act, which was revised in 2014 (for implementation in 2017). The act now regulates the standards of competence for teachers in primary, secondary and senior secondary vocational education, which are divided into three categories: subject content requirements, didactical requirements and pedagogical requirements. It also distinguishes between requirement levels for primary teachers (Bachelor level), teachers in secondary education (Master’s) and senior secondary vocational education.

 

Teachers

  • Experienced teachers

    School leadership can be shared among various officials in larger schools, and, in secondary education, teachers are involved in school management. In primary education, teachers may become an expert in arithmetic, language, sports, art, special educational needs or pre-school education, become involved in coordinating and managing functions, or transfer to special education. In secondary education, teachers can be assigned different roles such as expert teacher, teacher researcher, educational designer, or teacher leader. The extent to which these roles are implemented differs per school. In senior secondary vocational education teachers cooperate in teams in which tasks are divided among team members, e.g. assessment, study- and career guidance.

  • 2nd career teachers

    Second-career teachers can obtain a temporary license to teach in primary, secondary, and senior secondary vocational education once they have passed an aptitude test and satisfied other qualifications. Generally within a two-year period, they have to obtain a teaching licence.

  • Mentor teachers

    The roles and responsibilities for (school-based) teacher educators are clearly established by VELON, which registers teacher educators. A teacher educator receives a VELON registration if they satisfy/meet the professional standard for teacher educators. Each registration is valid for a period of four years. School based teacher educators often enter these positions because of their own teaching experience and the fact they are viewed as excellent teachers. A mentor provides practical guidance on the subject the beginning teacher teaches.

  • New teachers

    In the Netherlands, there is no teacher certification or registration for new teachers. After fulfilling the requirements of the ITE programme – the 7 competence requirements in the 2006 Professionals in Education Actare interpersonal, pedagogical, subject knowledge didactics, organisational, collaboration with colleagues, collaboration with the working environment, reflection and professional development – teachers can apply for teaching positions anywhere in the Netherlands. New teachers are hired by schools or municipalities directly. Induction is not mandatory but schools are obliged to offer a programme for new teachers as part of the collective labour agreement and as part of partnership agreements.

MBO Utrecht

Criteria for selection: Public school providing senior secondary vocational education, which works closely with companies and organisations on the one hand to ensure proper coordination of education on professional practice and on the other hand with supplying schools and higher vocational education programs to promote student advancement.

Location: Utrecht (municipality, population 328 577 (2017))

Enrolments: 4 800 students 31/12/2016

Teaching staff: 493 (total), 379 (FTE) (31/12/2016)

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The Harens Lyceum

Criteria for selection: One of a group of 3 public secondary schools in “Zernike College”. Located in 3 different municipalities, induction support is provided across all schools.

Location: Haren (Groningen municipality)

Enrolments: 1 590 students (2017-18)

Teaching staff: 122 teachers and 30 teaching assistants

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J.H. Snijderschools

Criteria for selection: Primary school with innovative partnership with Lucas Onderwijs School Board and HBO Leiden (“Learning Lab”).

Location: Rijswijsk (The Hague)

Enrolments: 428 students (1/10/2017)

Teaching staff: 26 teachers (1/10/2017)

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Criteria for selection: Public school providing senior secondary vocational education, which works closely with companies and organisations on the one hand to ensure proper coordination of education on professional practice and on the other hand with supplying schools and higher vocational education programs to promote student advancement.

Location: Utrecht (municipality, population 328 577 (2017))

Enrolments: 4 800 students 31/12/2016

Teaching staff: 493 (total), 379 (FTE) (31/12/2016)

Learn more

Criteria for selection: One of a group of 3 public secondary schools in “Zernike College”. Located in 3 different municipalities, induction support is provided across all schools.

Location: Haren (Groningen municipality)

Enrolments: 1 590 students (2017-18)

Teaching staff: 122 teachers and 30 teaching assistants

Learn more

Criteria for selection: Primary school with innovative partnership with Lucas Onderwijs School Board and HBO Leiden (“Learning Lab”).

Location: Rijswijsk (The Hague)

Enrolments: 428 students (1/10/2017)

Teaching staff: 26 teachers (1/10/2017)

Learn more

School management
Teachers
Experienced teachers
2nd career teachers
Mentor teachers
New teachers
National associations

National associations

In the Netherlands, professional associations play a key role in the development of registration, review and feedback systems for teachers and school leaders.

Centre of Expertise for Vocational Education and Training

The Centre (ECBO) is a research institute employing around 20 professional researchers, specialised in VET and the relations of VET and the labour market. Ecbo’s mission is to perform research activities in VET, with the active support of VET-schools, to make national and international research findings accessible to VET-schools and teachers. Knowledge dissemination is one of ecbo’s core tasks. Ecbo is commissioned by the Netherlands Initiative for Education Research (NRO) to disseminate knowledge in and about VET in particular. Ecbo not only disseminates its own research findings but links supply and demand for VET-research (findings) in general. To this aim ECBO holds regular meetings with teachers (associations), VET-experts, VET-innovation managers and VET-experts to take note of the issues that are important to practice.

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Association for Primary Teacher Education Institutions

This association (LOBO) aims to improve the quality of education and accountability by reviewing schools every four years. LOBO also inspect primary teacher education institutions and produces annual data reports.

Association for Senior Secondary Vocational Education Institutions

This association (BVMBO) aims to develop professional code and standards for educators in MBO. In addition, the BVBMO is the voice of teachers in senior secondary vocation education MBO.

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The Centre (ECBO) is a research institute employing around 20 professional researchers, specialised in VET and the relations of VET and the labour market. Ecbo’s mission is to perform research activities in VET, with the active support of VET-schools, to make national and international research findings accessible to VET-schools and teachers. Knowledge dissemination is one of ecbo’s core tasks. Ecbo is commissioned by the Netherlands Initiative for Education Research (NRO) to disseminate knowledge in and about VET in particular. Ecbo not only disseminates its own research findings but links supply and demand for VET-research (findings) in general. To this aim ECBO holds regular meetings with teachers (associations), VET-experts, VET-innovation managers and VET-experts to take note of the issues that are important to practice.

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This association (LOBO) aims to improve the quality of education and accountability by reviewing schools every four years. LOBO also inspect primary teacher education institutions and produces annual data reports.

This association (BVMBO) aims to develop professional code and standards for educators in MBO. In addition, the BVBMO is the voice of teachers in senior secondary vocation education MBO.

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The OECD ITP study focused on which levels of education in the Netherlands?

NETHERLANDS’ FOCUS WAS ON PRIMARY, SECONDARY AND SENIOR SECONDARY VOCATIONAL EDUCATION

Who contributed to the OECD ITP study in the Netherlands?

A national co-ordinator was nominated by each participating country to manage the ITP study with the OECD and the 4-person OECD Review Team.

Meet the team
NATIONAL
CO-ORDINATORS
OECD
REVIEW TEAM
OBSERVERS
NATIONAL
CO-ORDINATORS
Hans Ruesink
Policy advisor, Ministry of Education,
Culture and Science, Netherlands
Annelise Sprenger
Policy maker, Ministry of Education,
Culture and Science, Netherlands
OECD
REVIEW TEAM
Michael Day
Emeritus Professor,
University of Roehampton
Hannah von Ahlefeld
Project lead, OECD
Initial Teacher Preparation Study
Kjetil Helgeland
Analyst, OECD Initial Teacher
Preparation Study
Danielle Toon
Manager, Learning First,
Australia
OBSERVERS
Jenny Demonte
Senior Consultant, American Institutes for Research

OECD wishes to thank…

The team is grateful to the Ministry of Education for organising such an inspiring trip to the Netherlands!