«SECONDARY EDUCATION IN THE NETHERLANDS : AGENDA FOR 2010 “The Pupil Captivated, the School Unfettered” CONTENTS 1. Foreword and structure 2. ...»
• Promote flexibility in the deployment of teaching staff.
• Promote possibilities for training personnel in the school.
• Structurally meet the demand for teachers in order to reduce the teacher shortage.
• When the BIO Act takes effect, schools will be given more possibilities to broaden the employability of teachers.
• In the framework of the Teaching Staff Policy Plan, starting in 2005 (promotional) measures will be initiated and continued that are aimed at achieving a sufficient supply of teachers in both the quantitative and qualitative sense.
• At the start of the 2005-2006 school year (no later than 2006), negotiations will start between employers and employees on the entire body of employment conditions, therefore including primary employment conditions such as working hours, the standards for job grading, the general salary developments and the supra-legal social security. The (pre-) pensions have been excluded from these negotiations.
• Starting the same school year, a single framework Collective Labour Agreement will be reached for the entire sector of secondary education. The subjects of this agreement will be determined by the sector itself.
3.2.4. Funding as the basis The funding must also enable the school to make optimal use of its policy freedom. In view of the fact that the major portion of the funding now reaches schools via a non-earmarked lump sum allowance, the school already has considerable freedom to make its own choices. Only in the case of project subsidies are there application procedures; educators experience these procedures as being too tight. The project subsidies will therefore be limited to a minimum and will entail limited administration expenses.
The pupil captivated, the school unfettered
From different sides in the discussion, it has been stated that when you decide to make the educational career of the pupil the top priority, then the funding system must correspond to this goal as much as possible. The current system, in principle, is not an obstacle to this. But on specific points several things still need to be done, especially in regard to the transition between VMBO and MBO (see also section 3.1.1 on continual learning lines).
• Gear funding to the shift in the education system's focus on the educational career of the pupil.
• Increase the autonomy of schools in the spending of available funds.
• The funding will be simplified, a legislative bill has been introduced to do this in 2004.
• Disengagement from the Substitution and Participation Fund will be realised on 1 August 2005.
• Starting on 1 August 2006, the lump sum funding for employment-oriented training will be introduced for schools offering employment-oriented training that are currently reimbursed on the basis of expense statements.
• To promote the continual learning lines from VMBO to MBO, in 2004 a legislative bill will be introduced. By no later than 1 August 2006, it will be possible for pupils to take parts of the post-secondary education during their enrolment in VMBO. As a part of this programme, the funding rules will correspond to this procedure.
3.2.5. More freedom and a boost for VMBO and employment-oriented training VMBO and employment-oriented training will fully profit from the change in direction outlined in this document for secondary education. In addition, the strengthening of the VMBO programmes will require a specific coherent approach.
During the discussions on the direction of secondary education, great emphasis was placed on the further development of VMBO. The differences between VMBO pupils with respect to background, capacity, learning style, motivation and the support required for special needs are now larger than they are at other types of schools and are increasing. Also, many social problems enter VMBO schools together with the pupils. Providing tailored education in VMBO is therefore even more important. Investments in VMBO will serve both to strengthen the knowledge economy and to improve social relationships.
To be able to provide tailored education, VMBO will certainly need an amount of freedom in the regulations in the area of planning curriculum, the programming, dual courses combining study and work experience, the continual learning line, the structure of education, the examinations, the teaching time, the special needs support structure in VMBO and the lump sum funding in employment-oriented training. Schools should be able, as a result, to give further shape, within firm and spacious frameworks, to lively, strong and innovative VMBO and employment-oriented training that fit with the pupils needs and take into consideration the post-secondary education and the labour market in the region.
I want to contribute to the innovative power of secondary education and therefore also to that of VMBO by encouraging innovative experiments. Furthermore, it is also certainly important for VMBO to reduce the (threatening) teacher shortage.
I will facilitate this through:
• Innovative, attractive programmes for more challenging pupil-oriented education that correspond with the reformed first stage of secondary education and the new qualification structure in MBO;
• Modern equipment and improvement of the workstation structure;
• In collaboration with the business community, bringing learning into a much closer relationship with professional practice in order to bring about more and better combinations of learning and professional practice;
• Structuring education to be more competency oriented, partly linked to post-secondary education and the labour market.
In addition, extra attention should be given to the position of employment-oriented training and to strengthening the practical subjects within these programmes. In consultation with relevant parties, I want to see whether the housing of VMBO and employment-oriented training can be improved.
Boost VMBO by increasing the options for tailored education and thus contribute to preventing pupils from leaving school early.
• More freedom will be given to VMBO in the area of planning the curriculum, course programmes, dual courses combining study and work experience, the structure and testing/completion of education, teaching time, special needs support structure and continual learning lines and the lump sum funding in employment-oriented training.
• Encouraging and facilitating innovative, attractive programmes that tie learning closer to professional practice, among other ways, via the workplace structure and equipment, and structuring education to be more competency oriented so that it corresponds with innovations in the first stage of secondary education and with the developments at the Regional Training Centres and in trade and industry.
• Good examples in which housing has led to reforms in education will be compiled and disseminated in 2005.
In the period from 2004 up to and including 2007, the schools will be given the opportunity, created by the aforementioned actions, to gain experiences. Starting in 2008, an implementation process will follow until 2010 at the latest.
3.3. Development as fixed value: the school innovates itself The terms innovation and school development are often used interchangeably. School development means that schools keep up to date and keep up with their pupils, while 'innovation' generally points to a more far-reaching, ‘really new’ approach. Education is by definition dynamic.
Our dynamic, complex and demanding society (and thus pupils) demand a lot from schools.
Secondary education as a sector, and as individual and collaborating schools, will develop in the midst of this society. Whether this development is far-reaching and innovative or progresses gradually step by step, the pupil will always be the centre of focus.
Although the school bears primary responsibility for innovation, I see it as the responsibility of the national government to encourage and support schools in fulfilling this responsibility. I would like to initiate a strong movement, a movement of initiatives, expansion, of firm grounding and the consolidation of innovations. It will also be necessary to support innovative initiatives and experiments through regulations.
The teacher is the bearer of education and innovation – but he or she does not bear them alone.
The educational relationship between teachers and pupils is and will remain the core of learning and the bedrock of education. It all happens between the pupil and the teacher. A teacher cannot and need not shoulder this responsibility alone: assistants and supporters make a crucial contribution to the work activities of the teacher. The importance of professionals from outside the education world is also on the increase.
The pupil captivated, the school unfettered
3.3.1. Innovation strategy The innovation policy is aimed at getting a strong innovation movement off the ground. This movement will be borne by the schools themselves and will focus on a broad and varied repertoire of learning arrangements for young people in secondary education. At different places in this document focused on the course of secondary education, it is indicated what kind of learning arrangements are involved. For 2004, a particular instrumentation for the innovation policy has been chosen (whose most remarkable measure is a policy rule for innovative projects, which was published in the brochure Vooruit!), but it is not representative for the years to come; the approach itself is therefore the emphatic subject of interactive policy and advancing insight.
Investing resources for innovation at the right place Through the innovation policy, I want to strengthen the innovative capacity of the schools, among other ways, by placing the resources and the evaluation of the efforts expended as closely as possible to the schools and the sector. This touches on an almost permanent subject of discussion with respect to the innovation strategy. Some schools say they prefer to receive the resources directly – earmarked or not - via the lump sum so that no additional project applications have to be submitted. Others still see the advantages of establishing a clear co-ordinating role. I think that the sector of secondary education should be the initiator over the entire length of the innovation policy, and from the position of this role provide the government with the directional themes in which the sector should develop.
To realise this, I would like to take a number of phased steps. Because this primarily pertains to the schools themselves, I have asked the organisation School Managers in Secondary Education to come up with appealing proposals for such an innovation strategy, a strategy in which the (organised) sector can fulfil a central role as director. I am thinking here of the option of adding a part of the available (project) resources directly to the schools’ lump sum budget and spending another part as a national innovation budget. The government reaches programmatic agreements with the organised sector concerning the use of the national innovation budget. Within these programmatic agreements, the government provides the freedom to start spending the resources.
For the sake of convenience, I will refer to an 'innovation facility' for the secondary education sector in this memorandum. This can be interpreted in different ways. As soon as such an innovation facility and an innovation strategy have been realised, I will incorporate the available national innovation budget into this facility each year, based on an agreement on how the resources should be spent. In my estimation, these agreements can be made starting in 2005 or as early as possible. Starting in 2006, agreements will be made with the manager of the innovation facility with respect to incorporating other (project) budgets into the facility according to a plan and in phases.
Sharing, embedding and consolidating knowledge Realising innovations is one thing, making sure that they are then widely disseminated and embedded in the primary process of schools is quite another. It is simultaneously simple and complicated. Simple because the school can look around for innovative solutions to its own problems and challenges, and utilise what comes out of this endeavour for its own situation; so the school simply comes up with its own plan. Complicated because the process of innovation requires a lot from the school: strong educational leadership, a willingness to change among teachers, a capacity to collaborate and such. Complicated also because at both a regional and national level there are many players that are involved in the innovation in one way or another. It could be useful to the schools were the facility to function as an agency and source of information without the facility becoming the one tree too many that finally obscures the view of the forest.
Because innovation is a matter for the schools, it is logical to place this function with the sector.
This approach will be discussed with School Managers in Secondary Education and the school board organisations in 2004 as the transitional year. Starting in 2005, I assume that binding agreements can be reached with a single legal entity.
I have also asked the organisation School Managers in Secondary Education to position itself as an innovation agency. This innovation agency performs activities that are aimed at sharing and
disseminating knowledge between schools themselves, and between schools and a wide range of players that make a contribution to innovation at the national level. I have promised here to cover the costs incurred in setting up the innovation agency. The costs of the innovation agency itself will be covered from the Innovation facility. In my view, this Innovation Agency can start work in 2004.