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Partnership between education and youth care
All children and young people have a right to the best opportunities to develop themselves. Preconditions for this are the cohesion between and the good quality of upbringing, education, support, help, care and guidance. This asks for close cooperation between all concerned parties to work on an comprehensive offer for children and young people.
Law on appropriate education
The aim of this Law on appropriate education (Wet op het passend onderwijs) that came into force on the 1st of August 2014, is that all children get placed in a school that fits their qualities and capacities, also if when they need extra support. That is why schools in the same region work together in partnership. The Law says that these partnerships are obliged to have a supporting plan with at least agreements on:
- The level of basic support available at the schools;
- The way the support system is organized in and between the schools;
- The distribution of means.
According to the Law on appropriate education a partnership of schools is also obliged to adapt their support plan to the municipal policy plan. Sometimes it is necessary that education, youth care and the municipalities arrange their policy plans together around individual support of a child.
A school has to offer every registered child a well-matched form of education. This is compulsory by law. If the school cannot provide the required education it is obliged to propose a better offer to the parents at another school within the partnership.
All schools, including schools for special education, receive a set amount of money for basic costs per registered student. The partnership of schools also receives an additional budget for extra support, related to the number of students in the partnership schools together. Before the Law on appropriate education entered into force (1 August 2014) the means for extra support were distributed unevenly over the country.
Implementation of appropriate education
On 20 June 2017 the eleventh progress report on appropriate education was presented to the House of Representatives, midterm during its implementation period (August 2014 until August 2020).
Not all goals have been achieved yet, but the State Secretary of Education, Culture and Science sees many positive developments: more cooperation between regular and special education, more students in an appropriate place in a regular school and more attention for truants. Extra attention should be focused on decreasing bureaucracy and on improving the connection between care and education.
With the Youth Law (see for more information Chapter .. , paragraph…. Internal link toevoegen) municipalities are responsible for all support, help and care for youth. Based on the Youth Law each municipality has a coherent policy that is laid down in a plan every four years. This municipal youth policy plan describes among others:
- The vision of the municipality;
- Execution of the policy, including rules on granting individual support;
- Assessment method and consideration of a grant;
- Intended results;
- Quality standard;
- Participation of children, parents and educators in the execution of youth care.
According to the Youth Law the municipal youth policy plan has to aim at, among others, prevention and early detection, and the strengthening of the educative climate in families, neighbourhoods and schools. Communication and connection with the education sector are necessary. Municipalities are therefore obliged to coordinate their youth policy plan with the support plan of the primary and secondary schools partnership in the municipality concerned. Coordination of the youth policy plan with vocational education is desirable, but not legally required. If professionals deem this necessary, the municipality has to consult with youth help and education about individual treatment and support. This applies to primary, secondary and vocational education.
Starting from 2016 central government provides each municipality with basic funding per youth to pay for all support, help and care. According to an objective distribution model some municipalities receive extra budget based on risk and protective factors, such as poverty or psychiatric problems of parents.
The file on ‘Connecting education and youth help’ (Verbinding onderwijs en jeugdhulp) of the Netherlands Youth Institute NJi provides good examples, tips, quality indicators and information about the connection between education and youth care for municipalities, cooperatives, school boards, VET (MBO) schools and youth help organizations.
More about appropriate education can be found on the governmental website (only in Dutch) of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and on the website Appropriate Education (Passend Onderwijs) (only in Dutch) which falls under the responsibility of the ministry.
Information on funding and all laws and regulations concerning the youth sector in the Netherlands is described in the Nji factsheet ‘Wegwijs in de wetten van het jeugdstelsel’ (2015) (Find your way in the laws of the youth system) (only in Dutch).
Overall responsibility for the education system lies with the State, specifically the Minister of Education, Culture and Science and the State Secretary (junior minister) for Education, Culture and Science. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science lays down statutory requirements for early childhood education, primary and secondary education and secondary vocational education, and has overall control of adult general secondary education (VAVO). The government lays down the framework within which higher education institutions (higher professional education and universities) have to operate, but it is the responsibility of the competent authority of each institution to expand on the government framework in the teaching and examination regulations. The provincial authorities’ role in education is limited to supervisory and legal tasks. The administration and management of primary and secondary schools and schools for secondary vocational education is organized locally.
The Netherlands is divided into 12 provinces. The involvement of the provincial authorities mainly takes the form of statutory supervisory and judicial duties. The Provincial Council ensures the availability of adequate numbers of publicly run primary and secondary schools and acts as the appeal body for private schools with regard to decisions taken by the municipal authorities. With regard to the management of schools and the curriculum, the role of the provinces is limited, partly because they cannot be the competent authority of an educational institution.