Other tasks of the Dutch Inspectorate of Education

On this page you find information about the role of the Dutch Inspectorate of Education in curriculum development, data bases, examinations, handling complaints and financial or staff management.

Curriculum development

The Inspectorate has no tasks in curriculum development. The Netherlands Institute for Curriculum Development is in charge for the development of proposals for the government for new attainment targets or other curricular sets; and for the development of curricular materials for (groups of) schools. But incidentally it happens that specialist inspectors take part in the work of curriculum groups as advisers, in particular in the aftermath of a thematic inspection at national level in a certain curricular domain.

Data bases

The Inspectorate only develops databases for its own use and for the use of the Ministry of Education. On request, certain data can be made available to others.

Examinations

The Inspectorate neither organises exams nor determines the content of exams.

Secondary education

The Inspectorate has a responsibility in secondary education in guarding the quality of the exam processes. In addition, schools are obliged to request permission from the Inspectorate if they want to make an exception to exam regulations. Furthermore, in secondary education the Inspectorate checks whether there are any irregularities in the annual examination results (i.e. whether students have unjustly passed or failed their exams). Also, the Inspectorate keeps a close watch on the average discrepancy between scores for school examinations and scores for national exams. If this discrepancy exceeds a certain level, the school board is called to account.

Vocational education

In vocational education, the Inspectorate checks the quality of the examinations 
(which the schools in this division design themselves). To this end a number of specific standards of examination have been established by the Ministery of Education.

Handling complaints

All schools are legally obliged to have a complaints procedure, If the complaint cannot be solved by the school or the school board, the complainant can apply to an independent committee with his complaint. If the results are still not satisfactory, the complainant can ultimately go to court. The Inspectorate has no legal powers in case of complaints. It may happen however, that the Inspectorate – by acting as intermediary - helps to reconcile the problem between e.g. a parent and a principal. Thus problems can be solved without taking them to an independent committee or to court.

Complaints - and in particular complaints with respect to the quality of education- are treated as signals. The Inspectorate can decide to visit the school in serious cases (or if several complaints come in about the same school and reveal a certain pattern). If the number of complaints about a certain issue becomes a national issue, this also may lead to a thematic inspection. If the complaint concerns the Inspectorate itself, the complainant can apply to the Inspectorate’s complaints commission.

The Inspectorate has a separate desk for issues concerning sexual abuse and intimidation, mental and physical violence, discrimination and extremism within the context of education. Specialized inspectors deal with these matters. This special desk is broadly accessible by phone. The main task of these specialized inspectors is to advise and sometimes (in cases of mental and physical violence, discrimination and radicalization) to act as an intermediary.

The total number of complaints of this kind reported in 2010 was 1.264. This is slightly lower compared to 2009 with a number of 1.298. Almost two third of all complaints in 2009 and 2010 concern mental and physical violence.

Financial or staff management of schools or districts

(or the financial reports of the institutes by accountants)

The managerial condition is inspected by the Inspectorate. The Inspectorate does not take over the managerial responsibility which lies with the board. This would be considered contrary to the broad autonomy of school boards and school leaders in matters of the foundation of new schools, merger or closure of schools, appointment of staff / replacement of staff or management of the school budget.