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All parents in the Netherlands using formal childcare are entitled to a childcare allowance (kinderopvangtoeslag) if they live in a household where both partners are engaged in gainful employment or are studying, and if they have children aged up to 12 years.
Playgroups (peuterspeelzaal) are for children aged two to four years. Each child is entitled to attend two mornings per week, with each morning consisting of three hours. Some locations also offer three hours in the afternoon. These six hours per week are subsidized, and the price depends on the parents’ income. The child can attend the playgroup more often than two times a week, but the price for additional day(s) is higher.
English is officially taught from group 7, but each year, there are more and more schools that introduce English as a second language earlier in their curriculum.
The progress of a child is checked by regular testing. In the last year (group 8), children take a standardized test called Cito Eindtoets Basisonderwijs (“Cito final primary education test”), also known as the “Citotoets”. The test is only available in Dutch, and it is designed to determine what type of secondary education is best suited for a pupil. The other factors in deciding on the most appropriate school are the pupil’s opinion, the parents’ opinions, and the pupil’s group 8 teacher’s recommendation.
VMBO (Voorbereidend Middelbaar Beroepsonderwijs)
HAVO (Hoger Algemeen Vormend Onderwijs)
VWO (Voorbereidend Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs)
Although qualified to begin university, some students may decide to continue with HBO, which is geared to vocational or applied sciences learning. The VWO is divided into Atheneum and Gymnasium. The program each VWO type offers is similar, except that Latin and Greek are compulsory courses in Gymnasium.
In all secondary schools, English language is a part of the compulsory core curriculum.