Education and Schools in Amsterdam
There are numerous schools in Amsterdam for expats to choose from, and they generally offer high standards of education. There are also a small number of private schools, but the majority of children attend public schools. The only major difference between private and public schools is that public schools are government-funded, whereas private schools are not. Both are regulated by the Dutch Inspectorate of Education to ensure quality education.
Public schools in the Netherlands
Public schooling in the Netherlands is free for all children, including expats, and provided by the government until age 16. If a child speaks no Dutch, has been in the country for less than one year and is at least six years old, there is a special newcomer's class in which the focus is on learning the language in order to continue their studies in Dutch. If the child is 12 years old or older when moving to the Netherlands, they are placed in an international bridging class, where they study school subjects as well as Dutch. Depending on the child, the bridging class can last between one and three years.
High school or secondary education in the Netherlands is typically chosen based on aptitude or future aspirations, as the education system is arranged into tracks ranging from a basic practical education to preparatory education for university. After the age of 16, parents are expected to pay annual fees. Classes are taught in Dutch, but some secondary schools follow a dual-language curriculum where subjects are taught in English and Dutch.
Private and international schools in Amsterdam
There are various private and international schools in Amsterdam, and these are often the best option for expats living in the city for the short-term. Fees at these schools can be extremely high, and parents should budget carefully. Most of the city's international schools follow the American or British curriculum, while a number of them (including some local private schools) also offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme. Space at these schools can be very limited so parents should begin the application process well in advance.