Summer schools in Flanders increase by 40 per cent

Flanders will have 206 summer schools for more than 16,000 children and young people this summer. This is a 40 per cent increase compared to previous summers. The Flemish government hopes the initiatives will prevent or eliminate learning deficits.

The summer schools were created after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences in terms of learning deficit. There were 138 schools in the summer of 2020 and 190 in 2021. In 2021 and 2022, there was space for around 11,000 pupils.

In a summer school, children and young people receive a tailor-made programme combining games, culture and sports for at least 10 days in July or August. The system is now enshrined in a decree. Flemish minister of Education Ben Weyts (N-VA) and minister of the Interior Bart Somers (Open VLD) are convinced of the usefulness of summer schools.

"Summer schools are essential in the fight for better quality education"

"Summer schools are essential in the fight for better quality education," the two ministers say. According to Somers, research shows that the initiative positively impacts the learning outcomes of participating children. "Even classmates who do not attend summer schools end up doing better because the general level of the class at the start of the regular school year is raised," says Somers.

Teacher shortage

Since 2019, pupils' learning performance has deteriorated in some key subjects in primary education. Recent research by KU Leuven shows that the loss is most significant in Dutch, French and maths. For other subjects, the learning loss is smaller or even non-existent.

The learning deficit in recent years has not only been caused by the pandemic. Flanders is also struggling with a persistent shortage of teachers. In 2022, seven out of 10 schools had vacancies. A year earlier, the figure was just over half.



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