Dutch elementary schools have reached their limit. Around 350 elementary schools have announced in a manifesto that they will no longer hire expensive temporary or self-employed workers from the coming school year. The reason is that the elementary schools have to pay “extortionate prices” for the temporary workers. Money that is intended for the children and not for commercial agencies, Het Financieele Dagblad (FD) reports.
There has been a shortage of teachers in schools for some time now, affecting elementary schools as well. There are gaps in the roster and the search for suitable teachers is never-ending. The only solution is to hire substitute teachers, but due to the shortage of teachers, this is at the expense of permanent teachers.
Now, elementary schools with a total of 65,000 students are fighting back against the proliferation of subcontracted teachers. Even schools from the suburbs are joining in, even though they are massively dependent on contract workers due to the teacher shortage.
‘Many more schools share the frustration but could not sign because they are already in the stranglehold of the temporary employment sector,’ Jos Timmermans, chairman of the Aves school foundation board, tells FD. Since it is not possible to stop the progress of temporary workers in schools immediately, the elementary schools want to try to phase them out gradually, explains the director of the foundation Hans Ploeg.
According to Timmermans, a teacher who works at the school through an intermediary costs on average 68% more than a salaried teacher. For teaching assistants, that figure rises even higher, to 105%. Timmermans wants to spend this money more sensibly. After all, “Now it’s indirectly going into the leased cars that commercial agencies offer to employees who transfer to them,” he tells FD.
The government also plans to restrict temporary workers in schools. With the help of a bill, schools should get more permanent teachers. For example, according to the draft, schools will be required to hire at least 80% of staff on a permanent basis, while 5% of the budget may continue to go to temporary workers.
The manifesto signatories themselves promise better employment practices for the teachers they are eager to spend the money on, such as accommodating work preferences, more counseling services, and improved leave policies, the newspaper reports.