Special needs education
Families needing support for a child with special needs can find excellent resources here in The Hague. Your huisarts (GP) is a good place to start to assess the needs of your child.
There are various options for different needs, but in general children with learning difficulties or mild behavioural problems will begin their schooling in a mainstream primary school. You may choose a regular or special education school for your child. By Dutch law, the chosen school is obligated to provide a fitting educational environment. The school will assess which support your child needs, together with the parents or guardians. If the chosen school cannot provide the additional support, a spot at another regular or a special school that is capable of offering the needed support will be offered.
Special primary and secondary education is intended for the same age groups as mainstream schools. However, children as young as 3 can be admitted to a special primary school and children up to age 20 may remain in a special secondary school under certain circumstances.
Dutch special needs education consists of 4 clusters:
- Cluster 1: blind, visually impaired children;
- Cluster 2: deaf, hearing impaired children;
- Cluster 3: physically disabled, mentally handicapped and long-term sick children;
- Cluster 4: children with disorders and behavioural problems.
Lighthouse Special Education
In the Netherlands, there is only one international special needs school: Lighthouse Special Education, located in The Hague. It offers individualised education to children aged 3-13 who are unable to cope in international mainstream education. They specialise in complex behavioural and/or developmental problems.
Please note that if you need special needs education in 1 of the 4 clusters, Lighthouse Special Education may not be the ideal choice for your child. Lighthouse does not offer specialized education for these clusters. For example, they do not have specialized education for children with Down-syndrome.