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  The Netherlands

Public sector primary schools

Is EYL taught as an official part of the curriculum in public sector primary schools? Yes
When was it introduced? 1986
At what age do students begin EYL?  10/11 approximately (Primary Year 7)
Have any significant changes in teaching EYL taken place since 1980? Yes. Before 1986 foreign language teaching started in secondary school (age 12/13).
Is there any widespread teaching of English before the official starting age for compulsory EYL? No
How many hours a week/school year are officially allocated for EYL? A total of 100 hours during primary school education. Schools are free to decide when to start with English and how they distribute these hours over the student's school career. Many schools, however, only teach English during an hour or three-quarters of an hour a week during the last 2 years of primary education. When working like this they remain well under the compulsory 100 hours.
How many EYL teachers and students are there in the public education system? All primary teachers are officially qualified to teach English in primary schools. All students study English (no figures beyond this given).
Who does the EYL teaching? • The children's normal class teacher (95-100%)
• A specialist teacher of English who teaches in only one school (up to 5%)
Who is eligible to teach EYL in the public education system? • A primary teacher who has successfully completed a special in-service training course in English language and/or EYL methodology. (This in-service training is offered but schools tend to send their teachers only to short - and inexpensive - courses and most of the time the first choice is a computer course or Dutch as a second language.)
• A teacher who has had pre-service training at college or university and is qualified to become a teacher of English at primary level. (During the training students in most primary teacher training colleges do 1 or 2 modules of English; in some they do 3-4 and there are still a few colleges where English isn't part of the curriculum.) The emphasis in these modules is on methodology, as all students will have had English in secondary school and about 99% of them will have had it as an exam subject.
• A teacher qualified to teach English at secondary school but who is willing to work in primary schools. (In most cases this is a teacher who is a qualified primary school teacher as well.)
Nationwide are schools able to recruit enough EYL teachers? No. Officially primary school teachers are qualified to teach English, but teachers who graduated before 1986 may have had less foundation in EYL methodology.
What official guidelines exist for EYL teaching?  A general description of aims for EYL, but no specific advice about content
Do EYL teaching materials have to be approved? Teachers may choose any published materials (local or international) provided that they are within the school budget
What materials are typically used? • Original teaching materials devised by teachers themselves
• Lesson materials adapted by teachers from several published sources, but mainly -
• Locally published coursebooks. (Most teachers only use coursebooks published by Dutch publishers.)
What other foreign languages are taught at primary level? None at primary level. French starts at 12; German starts at 13.
Are any changes in the provision of EYL planned or anticipated? Changes in the quantity of English to be covered in the teacher training curriculum are under discussion amongst teacher trainers. A single module of 40 hours is under discussion for some colleges, but (as of May 2000) there is no official agreement.

Private sector primary schools

Is there a significant number of these schools? No

Private language schools

Is there a significant number of these schools? No

Private tuition for Young Learners

Is there private tuition for primary age children? No

Date information collected: 1999

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