Pupils in primary and secondary education will receive additional support to improve basic skills in language, arithmetic/mathematics, civics and digital literacy over the coming year. About 500 schools will receive extra funds for this and a “squad of experts” is ready for educational institutions that cannot organize it, the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Dennis Wiersma, reported on Thursday.

Several reports have already shown that too many students are significantly behind in reading, writing and math. “No matter how hard teachers try, we see that this foundation needs to be strengthened. That’s why we’re going to help teachers and school leaders improve and specifically help students progress,” Wiersma says.

The money could be used for an extra hour of lessons per day to help specific students improve their reading, writing and numeracy in the coming school year. The support team is available for schools that cannot arrange this with their existing team. “They will go to the schools to implement a tailor-made plan with the team of teachers. Extra hands at work in the school, under the direction of the school itself. Tens of thousands of students can be helped through this in the next school year.”

The General Education Union (AOb) replies that “you simply need more colleagues” in education. “It’s right for the Minister to look at what schools should and shouldn’t be doing. But a lot is already on teachers’ plates because there are too few people and resources elsewhere,” said the president of the AOB, Tamar van Gelder. She believes that teachers should be involved in the changes that are implemented.

The PO-Raad, the sector organization for primary education, wants continuous tests for the feasibility and side effects of the Wiersma master plan. “After all, education is struggling with huge staff shortages and the new plans should not hamper education,” according to PO-Raad. The organization wants school organizations to have a say in the further development of this plan. “They have to eventually.”