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Potential NL move at risk for school options

Potential NL move at risk for school options

Old Feb 16th 2020, 10:22 am
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Question Potential NL move at risk for school options

Hi - I currently work in the UK and there is a possibility of an offer for a job for a different country based in Amsterdam, in the foreseeable future. I think they will make the total compensation attractive/comparable as a consequence of foreign local tax allowance for the first 30% earned. While enthusiastic for the offer, I think the options for schools may be a show stopper.

We have 3 children, the eldest is currently year 8 and due to begin GCSEs the year after next. The other children are in years 6 and 2 respectively. In looking into school options, the phrase that keeps cropping up is that to qualify for international schools is "A child who was not born into a Dutch family and is planning on staying in the Netherlands for a limited amount of time" [dutch review website]. Given the job offer will not be temporary, this appears to be an issue.

Private fees are likely outside our budget (& I think private international schools are governed by the same stipulation above anyway). I also have read of an NL public school "transition" oprion, whereby children have 1 year of lessons in English alongside intensive dutch language lessons but that would clearly put my eldest at a disadvantage for his GCSE (or equivalent) year.

Any advise especially from anyone who has recently had to go through the same situation would be appreciated!

Thanks

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Old Feb 16th 2020, 11:59 am
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Wink Re: Potential NL move at risk for school options

You will need to decide if it's a temporary or permanent move really.
The potential disruption for your kids and spouse should be the very first consideration.
Kids of that age would rarely have big problems going to the local Dutch schools..they pick up the language pretty quickly, you'd be surprised.
The 30% ruling has conditions attached to it..it always sounds very attractive but make sure you know all the ins and outs.
The Netherlands is not a cheap place to live, but will give your kids opportunities they would never have in the UK.
If you are only going to get an "average" salary, it can be pretty hard making ends meet here, just as in UK.
You will have extra factors like residence requirements, health insurances and official paperwork to deal with.
Running a car here is also costly.

Good luck.
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Old Feb 18th 2020, 8:41 am
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Default Re: Potential NL move at risk for school options

I'm honestly not sure why you'd want to send them to an international school if the stay is permanent. You would only hinder theirs and your integration that way.
The contacts that you or your spouse would make on the school yard with local Dutchies should also be highly valued so that you don't end up in the expat bubble
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Old Feb 18th 2020, 7:02 pm
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Default Re: Potential NL move at risk for school options

Originally Posted by howler3439
Any advise especially from anyone who has recently had to go through the same situation would be appreciated!
Thanks
Not sure what you class as recent, but yours was our family many years ago. My advice would be, if there is anyone (grandparents?) who your eldest could live with which he finishes his exams, do it. Come, because the Brexit clock is working against you. But seriously consider NOT bringing him here so close to his GCSEs if it's an option, or until his A levels are done if he is academically inclined. He will not catch up, even with internationale schakelklas, which is what you're describing when you mention 1 year intensive Dutch. Most Schakelklassers end up in vocational further education (read below).

There is nothing like GCSEs here. Even assuming he's a linguistic genius and picks up Dutch in one year, he will have to sit the last two years of school and that will be hard for him (even twee-talig/bilingual schools conduct the upper years only in Dutch, because the exams are only in Dutch). Here you do not get a certificate showing grades: you must pass all core subjects and get above a grade 5.5 in the rest of them, fail and you resit the year. You do not get a choice of eclectic subjects to choose from. You can choose one of four paths (Science/Health, Science/Tech, Economics/Society or Culture/Society) and you study the subjects attached to these at one of three different levels (the school will decide, this not you, and they will choose for him Masters, Bachelors or Vocational education stream. Remember, You pass all subjects, or you resit the year (only once, or you are 'dropped' a level). Then there is a particular type of teacher (the cruel, tall blonde, 30-45+ years old, who was the school bully back in her day and couldn't bear to leave the school environment - even my Dutch colleagues recognise this type of teacher: they are far from a rarity) tend to think foreign children are slightly more stupid than their own, so it's rare for an immigrant child to be graded accurately at the correct educational level. Your son will be sitting in classes, knowing his old friends back in the UK will be at college, starting Uni, and he's not; starting work after 3 years at Uni, whereas here they are four. He might be kept back a year because he didn't achieve good enough grades, and then have to make a new set of Dutch friends. He may resent you. He might hate it here. He may thank you. He might love it here. You wouldn't know that outcome for quite some time. Given my time again, my eldest would have stayed with my parents, but at the very last moment he chose to come (went back 2 years later, lived alone in a strange city, did an Access course to get to Uni). Further reading: https://www.nuffic.nl/en/subjects/ed...e-netherlands/

The younger children will better placed to integrate - they could start straight into a Dutch primary school (they only go up to high school age 12 anyway). The gemeente (local council) has a budget for extra support for immigrant children and they differ in how they use it. Our gemeente handed out cash to the school, who in turn bought computer software.... the neighbouring gemeente had organised lessons for the whole borough: minibuses would pick the kids up twice a week and they would meet centrally and have age appropriate lessons with a real teacher. Youngest will learn the language quicker than anyone else in the family, you will come to rely on her as she grows. The older one will have three years before her CITO (SATS) to determine the level (VWO/pre-Masters. HAVO/pre-Bachelors, VMBO/Pre-Vocational. VMBO is also divided to different sub-levels) and so her capacity to master a new language while still studying other subjects too. Visit several basisschools and find one where you get a good feeling, and even better, recommendations from your new neighbours! No ofsted style ratings here.

But, children who do come young do tend to fit in. Kids here are generally happier and more independent. . Teachers will give kids a peg up to rescue a football out of a tree. They go ice-skating on frozen lakes. They cycle everywhere in all weathers, and I mean ALL. Prepare to become deconditioned to the cotton wool, safety conscious British way of parenting because it wouldn't work here. This is a country dedicated to children. They get Wednesday afternoons off school, for the purpose of undertaking a sporting or cultural activity. 'What's your sport' is as common an introductory question as 'What's your name', and swimming to a high level is essential (if your child wants to be invited to swim parties, they need that A-diploma) - but it's essential considering there are slots (ditches) everywhere, to keep the soil dry. Knock on effect - parents work from home on Wednesdays so they can pick up their kids and take them to whatever activity. Make sure you negotiate that into your work contract, because they won't pre-warn you

Edit: I feel I've been a bit harsh on teachers here. I mentioned only the one type. I have also met many amazing teachers here, male and female, who have nurtured and cared for my children, who have gone the extra mile to help my children fit in and recognise that culturally, there are differences and that English kids are more gentle on average. These are also not rarities, and they are a godsend when you find out your child is in their class that year. But it can only take one of the bad kind to destroy a child's confidence, and their chances of achieving their best at SATS level. Visit the schools, hope for the best.

Last edited by Red_Wine_Fairy; Feb 18th 2020 at 7:08 pm.
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Old Feb 20th 2020, 4:43 pm
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Default Re: Potential NL move at risk for school options

Thanks for the comments & advise. Much appreciated & any more welcomed. I'll keep you updated with what we do!
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Old Feb 21st 2020, 7:20 am
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Default Re: Potential NL move at risk for school options

RWF, you've shown an amazing level of insight here. This post should be made a stickie on the board. Invaluable advice, much appreciated.
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Old Feb 21st 2020, 8:50 am
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Default Re: Potential NL move at risk for school options

Excellent post by RWFairy.
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Old Feb 21st 2020, 9:33 am
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Default Re: Potential NL move at risk for school options

Originally Posted by Tweedpipe
Excellent post by RWFairy.
+1
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