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Almost 3,000 children fail to get a place at Dutch-medium nursery and primary schools in Brussels

Almost 3,000 children fail to get a place at Dutch-medium nursery and primary schools in Brussels

Despite the creation of 500 additional school places during the past year, the shortage of places available in Dutch-medium nursery and primary schools in Brussels has become ever more acute. Of the more than 6,000 applications made by parents for a place at a Dutch-medium nursery or primary school for their child from the start of the 2022-2023 school year, almost 3,000 received a negative response. The Local Consultation Platform for Nursery and Primary Education in Brussels (LOP Brussels Basisisonderwijs) released the figures on Friday.  

Between 7 and 31 March a total of 6,161 applications were made by parents for a place for their child at a Dutch-medium nursery or primary school in Brussels from the start of the new school year. Of these 3,164 were told that their application had been successful.

In addition to this, 2,521 brothers and sisters of children already in Dutch-medium nursery and/or primary education in the capital have also been given places. However, capacity issues mean that 353 of them have been given a place at a different school than sibling(s).

Of the children that have secured a place for the next school year, 83% will be going to their (parents) first choice school. 96% will be able to go to a school that was in the top three schools of choice listed in the application made by their parents. 

Almost half fail to get a place

Almost half of all the children vying for a place were not given one. The parents of 2,997 Brussels children will now have to hope that a place becomes available between now and September or try to find a place for their child at a school in a nearby municipality in Flemish Brabant (where there are also capacity issues) or try and find a place for their child at a French-medium school.

The large number of children that have not been given a place comes despite 507 additional places having been created during the past year. There are currently 38,703 places in Dutch-medium nursery and primary education in Brussels.

LOP Brussels Basisonderwijs is keen to put the figures into perspective. A large number of the children in the pool of applicants are children that already have a school place, but whose parents want them to change school. If they succeed in doing so capacity will become free at their current school and at least some of the children that currently don’t have a place will be able to be offered one. 

Last year, a place was eventually found for 71% of children whose parents applied for a place for them at a Dutch-medium school in Brussels.

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