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Education of International Newly Arrived migrant pupils at primary and secondary school level

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Taalschool pupils are ready for the next step!

On the 24th of May, ‘Taalschool’ (literally translated: Language School) Utrecht has organized a seminar in the ZIMIHC Theatre in Utrecht. The Taalschool is a school that offers reception education to newcomers between the age of 4 and 12 years old. During 1 or 2 years, pupils follow an intensive vocabulary program, as well as several subjects they will follow in public education, and teachers observe and guide the social and emotional development of the children in their new environment. When a pupil is ready, he or she can go to a Dutch primary or secondary school. In 2015, de Taalschool welcomed a record number of new pupils due to sudden rise of migrants in the Netherlands. The pupils that came to the Taalschool during that period are now ready to enter a new school. The audience at the seminar mainly consisted of teachers, directors and internal supervisors of regular schools, in order to introduce them to education of newly arrived migrant pupils (NAMs) and the Taalschool-pupils themselves. Various stakeholders shared their perspectives on the needs of the pupils and what the possibilities are in education for NAMs.

During the seminar, several experts working at de Taalschool held presentations about their daily work. Teachers, internal supervisors, a play therapist, a culture coordinator and the director of the school has informed us about their various fields of expertise, such as language development, the possible psychological and cultural backgrounds of children, the educational needs and the possibilities de Taalschool offers. The Taalschool also explained what the transfer from reception education to regular education entails and how they can support the receiving schools in this transition. The Taalschool offers support in the areas of social and emotional development, language development and learning development. Also, a couple of months after the transfer of the pupil, the Taalschool will contact the new school to see how the pupil is doing and whether the new school needs any support or guidance with regard to the pupil.

Furthermore, the alderman of Education of the municipality of Utrecht, the director of Primary Education within the ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the director of a collaboration organisation in primary education that aims for suitable education were present. The director asked the audience whether everybody in the area is treating each other fairly. Does everybody actually follows the agreements that are made with the internal supervisors with regard to the registration  of pupils of the Taalschool? He also offered free consultation for those schools that are having doubts about welcoming Taalschool-pupils. The director of Primary Education in the ministry has given insight in the financial plans for reception of newcomers. According to him, the Taalschool is a great example of how one uses the available money in an efficient and effective way.

Writer Rodaan Al Galidi, who himself has lived in a Dutch refugee camp for 9 years, talked about his experiences with the children who lived with him in the camp and how he has noticed that these children changed after having participated in Dutch education. The pupils of the Taalschool themselves also contributed to the event, for example by guiding the guests and by performing an African dance. Al these elements together made this event interesting and inspiring and it has clearly shown that the Taalschool-pupils are ready for the next step!