Fewer pupils in primary schools

07/04/2003 10:00

In the school year 2002/’03 the number of pupils in Dutch primary schools is 2.5 thousand lower than in the previous year. Fifteen percent of primary school children in the Netherlands have a cultural minority background. Increasingly fewer of them belong to the group of special needs pupils. The number of children at special needs schools has risen slightly in 2002/’03.

More than 1.5 million primary school pupils

There are just over 1.5 million primary school pupils in the Netherlands in 2002/’03. This is 2.5 thousand fewer than in the previous school year, and it is the first time in ten years that the number of children in primary schools has fallen. The number is still 10 percent higher than in the beginning of the nineties.

Primary school pupils

Stable share of cultural minority children

The share of primary school pupils belonging to a cultural minority fell in the course of the nineties. In recent years it has remained fairly stable at 15 percent. In 1991/’92 this was still only 11 percent.

Fewer special needs pupils

In 2002/’03 26 percent of primary school children were classed as special needs pupils. These are pupils for whom schools receive extra funding. The share of special needs children has been declining in recent years. In 1996/’97, 37 percent of children belonged to this category.

Cultural minority primary school pupils

In 2002/’03, 84 percent of cultural minority pupils fall into the category of special needs children. This means that their parents have a low educational and occupational level. In 1996/’97 this was true for 91 percent of children with this background.

Slight increase in special needs primary education

Children with behaviour and learning difficulties are referred to special needs schools. In 2002/’03, 52 thousand children were in special needs schools, slightly more than in the previous school year.

Children in special needs schools

At the beginning of the nineties the number of pupils in special needs primary schools rose yearly. After 1995/’96 it decreased again. In that year the government introduced a scheme to integrating special needs children in normal primary school classes, providing extra money for these pupils. However, from 2001/’02 the number of children in special needs schools started to increase again. There are twice as many boys as girls in special needs schools.

Frederik Florquin en Frank Blom