You can train as a primary or secondary teacher in the Netherlands by completing a 4-year teaching degree at a Dutch university. Most teaching programmes, however, are only available in Dutch. NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences and Utrecht University of Applied Science are the only two universities where you can find English-taught Bachelor degrees in education. The teaching degree at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences is also delivered in English, but you must speak Dutch to be eligible to apply.

Although there are postgraduate routes into teaching in the Netherlands, it is impossible to pursue them without speaking Dutch.

1. Will my teaching degree from a Dutch university be recognised in the UK?

According to the UK Department of Education, if a European Economic Area (EEA) member state recognises you as a qualified school teacher, you can apply for the Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) in England under the terms of Council Directives 2005/36/EC. This means if you train in the Netherlands, you should have no problems registering as a teacher in England upon graduation.

Nonetheless, it is more common for those with overseas qualifications to teach at international schools because of the diverse skillsets they gain while studying abroad.

2. Does it make sense to do a teaching degree in the Netherlands?

It really depends on your career ambitions. Earning a teaching degree in the Netherlands can open the door to a career as a teacher at international schools. Living and working abroad, especially in education, is an exciting challenge that requires you to be adaptable and creative every day. If this sounds like what you want to do, going to a Dutch university is the right choice.

Furthermore, since 2006, the Dutch government has created a favourable environment for education by investing additional resources for the professionalisation and support of education staff. This means during your training in the Netherlands you will benefit from high quality personal development opportunities and school placements.

3. Where can I study teaching in English in the Netherlands?

If you are considering a career as a primary teacher then the “International Teacher Education for Primary Schools (ITEPS)” at NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences could be just what you are looking for. The first study programme in the world for prospective teachers at international primary schools, its ultimate goal is to equip you with the professional skills and knowledge needed to support children of different ages, nationalities, cultures and talents. ITEP recently won the respectable Nuffic Orange Carpet Award for the best cross-border initiative in the Netherlands.

You will start by examining educational theories covering all facets of the teaching profession, including the learning process and the dynamics of a classroom setting. Developing strong communication skills to live and work anywhere in the world is also an important part of the first year curriculum. During the second and third year, you will continue to explore educational theories and apply your knowledge directly to practical research and teaching practice at international schools in the Netherlands or abroad. In line with the requirement of the Dutch government that primary teachers must be trained to teach all curriculum subjects, but also a specialist subject, you will have the option to choose a specialisation among these options: (1) Art and Culture; (2) Mathematics; (3) Special Education; (4) History and Sociology; (5) Religion and Ideology; (6) Science and Technology; (7) Physical Education and Health. (3), (4), (5), (6) or (7) will give you the opportunity to an exchange semester to either Norway or Denmark. In the final year, you will spend most of your time teaching and working on your own.

If you want to train to teach at secondary schools and vocational training colleges, join the “Teacher Education in English” undergraduate programme at Utrecht University of Applied Sciences. The course combines theoretical knowledge of behavioural development, learning styles and development with strong professional practice in an international environment. Five core areas of the curriculum are (1) English language (literature, linguistics, grammar and culture), (2) methodology (acquiring a second language, working in a multicultural environment and dealing with students with disabilities), (3) research (practical based research at a traineeship school), (4) professional (pedagogics, child development, development psychology) and (5) work placement.

Two highlights of the programme are project-based learning and extensive international experience. In the first year, you will complete two projects on themes relating to the English language and culture in preparation for a study trip to the UK, where you will learn how to teach drama through staging parts of several plays. In addition, you will do a work placement for one day a week at a bi-lingual school. In the second year, you will spend ten weeks doing another work placement abroad and start specialising in either vocational education or general education.

If you plan to become an English teacher, you can follow the three-year fast track programme “English Teacher” at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. The study programme is taught entirely in English, but you are not eligible to apply unless you speak Dutch. As part of the degree, you will examine key concepts related to learning, language, education and pedagogy. You will analyse the differences between various education systems and build a strong professional network. Especially, you are encouraged to spend a semester studying English and Education modules abroad.

Unfortunately, there is no English-taught postgraduate programme to qualify as a teacher in the Netherlands. However, if you are currently working as a teacher, or in the education sector, and would like to advance your knowledge to pursue a management role, we would recommend that you complete a Master degree in Education. Dutch universities offer a wide range of Education Master’s programmes that match different career interests.

The “Educational Studies: Evidence-based education”, “Youth 0-21” and “Ethnics of Education” programmes at the University of Groningen and “Youth, Education and Society” at Utrecht University are geared towards those who want to become policy makers. On the other hand, the “Educational Studies” programme at Leiden University, and the “Language and Education” and “Literature and Education” programmes at the University of Amsterdam are designed primarily to prepare students for a PhD. Want to improve your ability to keep students engaged in class and motivated to learn from others? Join the “Educational Sciences: Learning in Interaction” programme at Utrecht University. Overall, at Dutch universities, Master’s programmes are extremely specialised. Make sure you know what you want from your Master’s degree before making your university choice.

4. What grades do I need to get in a teaching programme in the Netherlands?

To be eligible for the International Teacher Education for Primary Schools (ITEP)” at Stenden University of Applied Science, you must have four GCSE passes (A-C) and two AS level passes. These six passes combined must all be in different subjects.

The entry requirements for the “Teacher Education in English” at Utrecht University of Applied Science are 3 A’ Levels and 6 GCSEs (A-C). The admission process also involves an assessment day.

Amsterdam University of Applied Science requires all applicants to be proficient in Dutch and provide a Dutch NT2II certificate, along with 3 A’ Levels.

Some thoughts from British students taking teaching degrees at Dutch universities

Rochelle Ceri Smith

Ellen Wilson


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About Study In Holland

Studyinholland.co.uk is an information service designed to assist British and Irish students in pursuing their university education in the Netherlands.

We have extensive knowledge of English-taught degrees in Holland and we also work with careers advisory services.

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