Many primary schools have not yet found teachers for existing vacancies, according to research from NU.nl. The schools that do have enough teachers at the start of the school year often hold their hearts. School principals already fear that no substitute will be found when a teacher is ill.
"It is quiet at the moment, but I will hold my heart when we are again confronted with unforeseen dropouts," said one of the school directors who participated in the NU.nl teacher deficit survey.
Four in five schools in the study succeeded in starting the year without vacancies. But three quarters of these schools said it would be difficult to find a replacement if someone became ill or became pregnant.
See also: NU.nl research: One in five primary schools still looking for a teacher
Several schools announced that there are simply no more teachers available for primary education. Entry pools that are often set up by several schools together to always put someone in front of the class in the absence of a permanent teacher have a shortage of people.
What normally happens when a teacher is sick?
Natasja van Dijke, director of the Stamperiusschool in Wilhelminadorp in Zeeland, says that if a teacher is ill, the regional invasion pool is called first. "Our school foundation works together with an organization that tries to arrange invaders for almost all schools in Zeeland."
Marco Schaap, director of the Julianaschool in the Overijssel town of Rijssen, says that his school also works with a raid pool. "Together with the other schools from the same foundation, we have set up such a pool. There are a number of permanent people in the reception pool who, when a teacher is sick at one of the schools, can come in. Only we still have vacancies for this raid pool that we don't get fulfilled. "
Why are there no more invaders now?
This is recognized by RTC Groningen project leader Gerard Weitenberg, a joint approach pool of various school boards in Groningen. "We notice that it is simply more difficult to find people. Many people also leave the entrance pool quickly, for example because they are going to work permanently at a school." RTC Gelderland-Utrecht, in which nineteen school boards work together, confirms in conversation with NU.nl that it is increasingly difficult to find people.
Director Schaap also sees this: "Most people find a regular job in education the most beautiful. Inviting is always harder and harder, because you are constantly faced with a new group of children. Now that the job market is such that teachers can choose, every teacher who wants a regular job and there are no more invaders left. "
What are the consequences?
Van Dijke says that in the past two years it has been increasingly common that no one is available via the raid pool. "At the moment there are just very few invaders in the pool, around twenty for the whole of Zeeland."
"If no one is available, we have to solve it ourselves. We first check if there is someone present at school who can stand in front of the class for a day. As a director, I sometimes stand a day in front of the class. We look also whether one of our part-time teachers is free and could come in. "
"If all this fails, we try to divide the students from the class into other classes without an available teacher. But because we are a small school, this is usually not possible. Then there would be more than 30 children in a classroom and students from groups 1 to 7 are confused. Last year we had to inform the parents a number of times that there would be no teacher the next day, so we had to release the children. "
"A flu epidemic would be a minor disaster"
The schools and regional raid pools that NU.nl spoke to fear mainly an influenza epidemic. "I have the teachers at the school that I want. So we have no vacancies, but if there is another flu epidemic, then we will hang," says Van Dijke.
A spokesperson for the PO Council confirms this picture. "A flu wave is almost our biggest fear. And if the flu wave lasts from December to March, then this will certainly have consequences in the classroom. Classes are merged, classes are sent home regularly and parents will appear less at work. That can really be a very small disaster. "