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Kinderen zitten in een rij in de klas te werken. De docent loopt langs om te helpen.

Source: Max Fischer

Education for children who cannot speak Dutch yet and who do not have a residence permit yet

Last updated: 11/22/2023, 12:39 PM
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If you do not have an asylum residence permit yet and you have children under 18 who do not speak Dutch yet, schools offer help so your child can learn Dutch and get a Dutch education.

Always the right to receive Dutch education

When you come to the Netherlands as a child, you have a right to education. Children are even obliged to go to school. This is stated in Dutch law. Every child in the Netherlands between the ages of 5 and 16 must go to school.

Support matches your child's level of ability

The international transition class (ISK) looks at your child's learning level and adjusts the support accordingly. When your child starts at the ISK, we will first determine which level fits them best. For this, a conversation is held with the child and parents. This is done to avoid placing the child in a class that is too easy or too difficult.

Support in learning the Dutch language

Education in the Netherlands is in Dutch. Children who have only just arrived in the Netherlands do not yet speak and understand the Dutch language. Therefore, there is special help in Dutch schools to teach children the Dutch language at school. The help available depends on the age of your child.

  • Support for children under 12

If your child is under the age of 12, there are special primary schools or special classes at normal primary schools for children.

  • Support for children aged 12 to 18

If your child is between the ages of 12 and 18, they will attend an international transition class (ISK). This is a special class at a secondary school. In such a class you learn the Dutch language. After about 1 year your child will then go to a regular class at a secondary school.

The 3 different learning levels in the international transition class (ISK)

My children do not yet have an education

If you and your children have been in the Netherlands for more than three months, but your children do not have a school yet, ask the municipality or the reception centre if your children can go to school as soon as possible.

If your children are still not receiving an education, report this to a VluchtelingenWerk office or the municipality.

The municipality provides a school for your children

If you live in a

Click here for an additional explanation
asylum seekers' centre (AZC)
and you and your children do not have a residence permit yet, education will be arranged by the municipality and the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) within three months.

  • For children under 12 years of age, most COA reception centres have a primary school on site.

  • For children between the ages of 12 and 18, the municipality arranges a school and transportation to that school.

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