Hundreds of pupils ‘lost’, childcare facilities at a disadvantage

For teachers, childcare comes on top of ordinary distance teaching to the rest of their class. According to directors, childcare should take care of that childcare. With the support of health authorities and schools. Especially during the holidays.

That does not apply to The Hague, it appears. The collaboration works well there. “I am most concerned about the more than two hundred students with whom we cannot get in touch at all,” says Ewald van Vliet, chairman of the board of directors of the Lucas Education regional school board. Some of them may go with their parents to the country of origin, such as Poland or Bulgaria.

“They just don’t respond”

Lucas is one of the largest school boards in the Netherlands with four thousand employees and over 34,000 students at 77 schools in The Hague and the surrounding area. “More than two hundred is only a small percentage, but every child is one,” says Van Vliet. Earlier this week it turned out that Haagse Scholen, a school board with 15,500 students at 52 schools, had lost contact with 170 students.

“They don’t answer the phone, even their parents. They just don’t respond, ”says Van Vliet. So they don’t receive any education, not even digitally. The safety of our students is paramount, especially now. But education is of course also important. We have now reported them to Compulsory Education. ”

“Language not powerful”

“Now that the schools remain closed for longer, I am afraid that the vulnerable students will only become more disadvantaged,” says Omar Ramadan, chairman of the Executive Board of Sophia Scholen from Voorhout. “Especially if there are children with whom the school does not get in touch.”

Sophia has 7,000 students at 28 special primary schools in the Bollenstreek. The schools have a lot to do with children of parents who do not speak the Dutch language. In the Bulb Region, these are mainly Polish workers in the flower bulb sector.

‘Unsafe at home or not possible to learn? Go to school anyway ‘

Parents who have a crucial occupation in this corona crisis may bring their children to school anyway. Now that the schools remain closed until April 28, the need to send vulnerable children to school is only increasing.

‘I have just brought four students to one of our schools at the request of youth care,’ says Ramadan of Sophia Scholen. “We see both children for whom it is unsafe at home, and children who, although it is safe at home, do not receive education because parents do not know how to support them.”

‘Childcare is not easy’

“Some children who do not receive sufficient guidance in distance education at home are invited to come to school every other afternoon for extra explanation,” says Ramadan.

“It is not easy. And it comes on top of the distance education to all our seven thousand students. The emergency shelter for parents with crucial professions is still there, which is quite burdensome. Certainly because often one of the parents – often the father – does not have such a profession, but cannot get away from work and therefore makes an appeal to emergency care. ‘

Holiday time? Don’t count on the teacher ‘

Ramadan is concerned about the period after April 28. Then it is May holiday. That lasts until May 10 in his schools. ‘Our teachers then really need their vacation, they really walk on their gums. So don’t think we can just let the school go through. ”

‘I think more about childcare. It is now also closed, but it should not be possible to take care of children who cannot go to home there. That is normally also open during the holidays. ‘ Youth care in the Bollenstreek is now also closed and schools are being called upon to shelter vulnerable young people.

‘School signals, municipality is in control’

There are no figures for the number of pupils that fall between two stools. According to the school boards in primary education, 8.4 percent of their pupils are vulnerable pupils. In a poll conducted this week by the PO council, 43 percent of the school boards indicate that the reception of vulnerable students within the municipalities has started. Thirty percent say that this has partly started, eleven percent say not.

In most cases, schools take the lead in this. So far the line has been: school signals, but the municipality is in charge. And together they look for custom solutions as a solution, ‘says the spokesperson for the PO council. “The municipality must have insight into which parties they can engage from youth care to child protection.”

Youth care arranged differently

The municipality of Leiden has set up a ‘temporary process’ for the children in a vulnerable position. According to a spokesperson, the municipality works together with the schools, the school attendance officers, the Youth and Family Team and a number of care providers.

“Currently, a number of providers are working together to organize the help and support for these children efficiently.” If youth care proves necessary, it is preferably offered in schools. For this, schools have been asked to provide space.

‘School attendance officers at the door’

In the Hague region, there is close cooperation between care providers, schools and the municipality. ‘Now that the cabinet’s measures have been extended, all efforts are being made. There is close contact with school boards and childcare centers in the city about this’, says the spokesperson for the Hague councilor for education Hilbert Bredemeijer (CDA).

Enforcement of compulsory education has been suspended under pressure from the House of Representatives. However, schools can ring the bell at the Compulsory Education Department of the Municipality of The Hague. “Not to maintain, but to see what is needed at the time,” says the spokesperson for Bredemeijer. “In some cases, we even go through the doors.”

ALSO READ: Corona emergency measures extended until 28 April; schools, catering and hairdressers remain closed

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