Can anyone tell me about the British School of the Netherlands?

(12 Posts)
KtDee Sat 09-Jul-16 09:49:38

Hello all
It looks like we'll be moving to The Hague with DDs 9 and 7 either in September or December (depending on speed of big company's HR...) for 2 years. Can anyone tell me about the British School of the Netherlands and also which areas are good to live in and near one of the 3 junior campuses?
Any other advice greatly appreciated! smile

OP’s posts: |
lifeisunjust Sat 09-Jul-16 21:30:33

I know former students and teachers and all very positive.
However the local schools are excellent too and your children are young, young enough to pick up Dutch quickly, why not go for a local school? Wassenaar is very nice, full of diplomats, the king lives there, his children are at a local school. The local schools can often provide reinforcement lessons for newcomers. Try bursting that expat bubble a bit, or you'll end up in Little Britain in Wassenaar and won't get any real benefit, it will be like living in the UK with expat comforts.

KtDee Sun 10-Jul-16 11:55:56

Thanks lifeisunjust. We've been expat before in Houston for 2 years and the girls went to a local school there, which was better for local integration and experiencing real life. We'll be moving back to England after this assignment and DD1 will need to sit 11+ and entrance exams in September 2017 (half way through the assignment) so all the advice from the potential secondary schools is that following the English curriculum for the next two years is vital so she is not at a disadvantage. Getting DD1 to do her homework is bad enough so I don't want to force lots of extra work on her outside school...
It looks like we'll be moving at the end of August and are not able to visit until 2nd week in August to sort out housing and schools, which is adding to the complications. I'm worried about choosing schools without visiting them, so I guess the British School feels like the easiest option.
How do the local schools work - do you go to the most local one or is there an element of choice?

OP’s posts: |
Laptopwieldingharpy Sun 10-Jul-16 23:45:38

Someone on this forum moved only a year or 2 ago and can give you some input. Inremember the thread. Maybe do a quick search or keep bumping up for an update.

KtDee Mon 11-Jul-16 10:11:15

Thanks Laptop - I've found the thread and it's very helpful smile

OP’s posts: |
lifeisunjust Mon 11-Jul-16 14:00:04

In Netherlands there is an element of choice, schools can be "openbare" that is run by local council, Catholic, Montessori, Steiner, non religious group, all sorts and I can see a few choices in the den Haag area. You can just google "basischool wassenaar" and see them on the map. Bloemcamp schools is where the Royal family's children have all gone to with 2 I think still attending. You'll find quite a few expats I'd imagine in the schools in that area who have chosen local over BSN or ASH so their children can integrate.

I can understand the 11+ need, but in fact the standard in local schools for Maths and Verbal reasoning is likely to be higher than at BSN, it would only be English where you might need an extra input. It depends on which 11+ exam too, as some places allow opt outs or take into consideration children arriving from schools where English is not the first language. All the local schools do English, as a second language too. My 10 year old would have passed the Kent Test with ease, had she taken it last September (she's not yet 11 but would go to secondary in England aged 11 and 4 weeks) and she's never had a single English lesson in her life. Her level of maths is around 2 years higher than an average UK student, as she is already a year ahead of her peers where she lives and the average is about 1 year ahead of the UK.

KtDee Mon 11-Jul-16 21:07:42

That's really helpful - thank you smile. I'm off to find out more about the local schools...

OP’s posts: |


lifeisunjust Sun 17-Jul-16 13:08:12

You could consider Dutch funded English education in den Haag. It's designed for English speakers on short term in the Netherlands but also to give children a chance to integrate into Dutch too.

botemp Sun 17-Jul-16 14:13:38

I went to the International School in The Hague and had friends at both the British and American Schools. I'd say the British School is definitely one you'd have to feel comfortable with to attend, it's quite a homogeneous group. The facilities and staff are all great from what I remember but it is very Britain focused vs. the ISH and ASH which allowed more flexibility if you expected to move elsewhere at a later date. So the general rule was, Brits who knew they were returning to Britain and wanted the least amount of disruption went to the British School otherwise they'd attend the ISH which is also quite British in staff and structure.

I'd recommend requesting a visit at various schools ahead of time to get a feel for it and set out your needs. HSV as mentioned above is well known and popular with local politician kids and other intelligentsia but I'd warn that if your children either have learning disabilities or are of above average intelligence that school doesn't serve them well (friend had a terrible time with DS1 who is highly intelligent and sat bored for over a year before it being brought up, another has a DS struggling to keep up resulting in behavioural issues). The ASH has a special programme for children with learning disabilities that has a lot of parents flocking to them lately from all over the country.

Local schools are all of high quality and expat children are not an oddity but do keep in mind kids go to secondary school a year later than in the British system so I'm unable to comment how seamless that overlap would be for an 11yo two years down the line.

Living near schools is the general rule especially if you go to a local school, depending which school you go to Statenkwartier (the shops on the Frederik Hendriklaan that cater to expats being the main attraction), Archipel buurt (large houses and well situated within the city for work and schools), Duinoord (more affordable in comparison and well situated while practically Statenkwartier), Benoordenhout (especially for those working at Shell), Zeeheldenkwartier (less popular with expat families) and Wassenaar are popular expat areas but people live all over the place depending on budget. Wassenaar is a little bit more isolated (requiring more than one car possibly) and a more 'known' expensive area but it is very nice and green with the odd mansions here and there but very much less cosmopolitan. Those who can't afford the Wassenaar prices but want to be close to the ASH or BS tend to deviate to Voorschoten. Don't know if they still do it but the ASH had a bus service that catered to certain areas.

Here's a link for the municipality's info in English. In the left sidebar there's a special 'Education and childcare' subset for more detailed information about your options.

KtDee Tue 19-Jul-16 10:12:04

Thanks all. We will be visiting as soon as we get back from holiday but not sure how useful that will be for visiting schools. The DDs will have to start first week in September - trying to sort all this from abroad is a bit stressful, but all the extra info you've provided is really helpful.

OP’s posts: |
botemp Tue 19-Jul-16 14:22:28

That does sound rather stressful on that timeline. PM if you need any specific info or help with anything else, I assume you've found the Funda website already for housing.

The local schools will start again the 22nd of August so they should be running without students a week before that at least but usually you should be able to reach admin personnel during the summer break to guide you around but you're unlikely to meet the teachers, etc.

TailEndCharlie Thu 13-Jun-19 21:57:04

Sorry for reviving a zombie thread but I am doing exacty the same (almost)…. moving with 2 DD 9 & 7 in September to the Hague. Have actually enrolled them in the British School as we are only there for a year and wanted least disruption from their current prep school... we have an apartment out there already near the beach so I suppose I am just after general advise about everything else.... health insurance (think we are just getting BUPA Global?), general expat life. Health stuff is a concern as I have an EpiPen kid.... All guidance gratefully received!

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in