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Primary school

When children are four, they are allowed to go to school for the first time. Children who are five, have to go to school. This 'primary school' lasts for eight years: from group 1 to group 8. After this you go to secondary school. This takes four to six years. Also for child refugees

Learning Dutch

Child refugees can also go to primary school. When you’ve just arrived in the Netherlands, you can probably not speak very good Dutch yet. This is why you will first go to a ‘first relief class’, where you learn Dutch and more about life in the Netherlands. This is mentioned in article 40 paragraph 1 of the Primary Education Act.
Which school?

Of your choice

You are free to choose to which school you go. The COA will usually enrol you in a school in the asylum seekers centre. If you would prefer to go to a different school, then ask the COA.
This is how Most child refugees go to a primary school in the asylum seekers centre. The COA enrols you, so you don’t have to do it yourself. If you would prefer to go another primary school, then your parents have to enrol you. This is how: you first make an appointment with the school to enrol. The school registers you and gives you an individual education number. This is a number so your school knows who you are. The school writes down the following information:
  • your individual education number
  • your date of birth
  • whether you are a boy or a girl
  • the country and town you were born in
  • your first and last name
  • your address (street name, house number, postcode and town)
  • your nationality (which country you are a citizen of)
  • the telephone number(s) of your parent(s)
  • the date when you came to the Netherlands
The school then passes on all this information to the DUO. This is an organisation that arranges everything for new pupils. A school gets money for each pupil who enrols. For this, the school does have to prove that you ‘really’ exist. This is why you have to write down all this information. Your information is not passed on to, for instance, the Aliens police. Costs for primary school Free for all children Primary school is free for all children. Below is some more information: Extra money to help you If you just live in the Netherlands, you have to get used to the language, the school and life here. Your school can be given money to give you some extra help. For this, your parents have to fill in a parent declaration, on which they write about their own education. Your parents also fill in the following:
  • your last name
  • your first name
  • your date of birth
  • your Citizen Service Number (V no.)
The COA also gives money for education. It pays primary schools 68 euro for each child asylum seeker annually. In addition, it gives your parents 34 euro annually to buy small things like pens or exercise books. Travelling expenses to school Sometimes your school is too far away. And some children need help travelling to school. In these cases a van collects you and takes you back again. Or your parents get money to pay for the trip to school themselves. With this money you can, for instance, take the bus to school. Requesting money for your travelling expenses Money for your trip should be requested from the COA. You fill in a form where you write down your school’s address. The COA then gives you money, or you get a ticket for the bus or train. If the COA doesn’t pay your travelling expenses then go to the local authority to ask them to pay. This is how: go to the local authority where you live. Ask for payment of your travelling expenses. You then have to fill in a form in which you write where you live and where you have to travel to. The local authority will ask for proof that you have enrolled for your school. You can get this proof from your school. You now get money for the travelling expenses or a van comes to take you to school and brings you back every day. School trip A few times a year you do something fun with your class. For instance, a school trip or a day at a museum. Your parents pay for this. This is called a ‘voluntary parental contribution’. Perhaps your parents don’t have the money for this. It’s then good to know that your parents don’t have to pay this money. It is really ‘voluntary’. If your parents don’t pay, you may not be allowed to join the outing or school trip. To make sure that you can go, there are several solutions: School savings Most schools have savings for emergencies. This enables you to join the trip anyway. Stichting Leergeld Stichting Leergeld helps children whose parents have little money. They pay, for instance, the costs for a school camp or daytrip.

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