Number of primary school pupils drops sharply in Limburg

03/06/2009 15:00

The number of children enrolled in primary schools in the south of the Netherlands, especially in the province of Limburg, fell substantially between 2000/’01 and 2008/’09. This was partly the result of the decrease in the number of 4 to 12 year-olds in this part of the country.

Decrease in the south

In school year 2008/’09, 92 thousand children are in primary education in Limburg, 11 percent fewer than in 2000/’01. In the provinces North Brabant, Zeeland and South Holland the decrease was only around 2.5 percent. In all provinces, changes in numbers of primary school pupils correlate with increases and decreases in the number of 4 to 12 year-olds.

Changes in number of primary school pupils,2008/’09

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Increase in central provinces

The number of children of primary school ages did rise substantially in the provinces Utrecht and Flevoland. Consequently, the number of children attending primary schools rose there. In Utrecht 120 thousand children are currently in primary education, 10 percent more than in 2000/’01. In Flevoland the number of primary school pupils rose by 8 percent in the same period, to 44 thousand.

Fewer pupils per school only in Limburg

The number of primary schools in Limburg fell by 8 percent in the period 2000/’01-2008/’09. As this decrease was smaller than that in the number of pupils, the average number of pupils per school fell from 230 to 223; this is a decrease of 3 percent.

Limburg is the only province where the average school size fell substantially. In Flevoland, North Brabant, Zeeland and South Holland the number of pupils remained about the same, as the number of schools changed at about the same rate as the number of pupils. In the province of Utrecht, on the other hand, the increase in the number of schools rose by 1.5 percent, while the average number of pupils per school rose by 8 percent, from 229 to 247.

Changes in average number of pupils per primary school, 2008/’09

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No change at nation level

Overall in the Netherlands, the number of primary school pupils remained at about the same level between 2000/’01 and 2008/’09: just over 1.5 million. The number of pupils per school rose by just over 2 percent, from 215 to 220. This was mainly the result of a gradual decrease in the number of schools.

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