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Dutch schools prepare for Brexit influx with EMA meetings

International and European schools in the Netherlands are having meetings with delegations from the European Medicines Agency to help families and students transition into the country in view of the agency moving to Amsterdam after Brexit, The PIE News has learned.

The iconic sign at the back of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Photo: kevingessner / Flickr

Meanwhile in Germany, pressure is piling on international schools in Frankfurt due to the anticipated move of banks out of the City of London

Delegations have been visiting schools in the Netherlands, and schools representatives have been invited to meet EMA employees and their families in London at the end of January.

“It’s difficult for EMA employees to imagine what it’s really like to make the transition from the UK system to an international school here in the Netherlands, so we took up the invitation,” Boris Prickarts, chair of association of state-subsidised institutions, Dutch International Primary Schools, told The PIE.

“There has been and there will be a Brexit surge”

“Everybody seems to be very positive about our educational offer. We are very excited, and we’ll do anything we can to help them come here. We are working closely with the North Holland region to help them with accommodation,” director of European School Bergen, Steve Lewis, told The PIE.

European Schools, Lewis explained, were set up for EU employees, to provide education for their children in their mother tongue.

EMA delegations will be introduced to all the Dutch systems: private international schools, European schools, state-subsidised international schools, and state schools.

Thanks to an internationalisation effort initiated by the government, institutions in the Netherlands are ready to welcome the influx of new students.

“Dutch schools and Dutch international schools have been internationalising over the past at least ten, fifteen years,” Prickarts explained.

“Of course, with EMA coming, there is a hype going on now,” Els Duffhues, senior consultant at Stichting NOB, a consultancy company working with European Schools and Dutch schools abroad, told The PIE.

“But the Netherlands is a very international country and we have been working for years to extend our international capacity.”

“Brexit has made [the process] more urgent,” said Alinda De Beus, executive secretary of DIPS.

“But for the Dutch government and especially the ministry of economic affairs it is important that The Netherlands are a country which has a good climate to attract businesses. And one of the things that companies need are international schools.”

De Beus said that she has noticed an increase in the number of applicants from the UK.

“We are also working closely with… Deutsche Bank”

“I usually receive around three to ten questions on applications or admissions from all over the world in a month. In the last couple of months, half of all questions came from the UK. This is really a change from before,” she said.

“There has been and there will be a Brexit surge of students applying, but schools are ready.”

In some areas, schools have less capacity to immediately accept students, Duffhues said.

“The ‘problem’ in the Netherlands is that international education is so popular that many schools are full. In the whole Amsterdam area, the schools have very little places to accept any more students,” she explained.

De Beus told The PIE that there are several international schools opening in the country.

With international education institution booming, it is crucial for schools to be able to hire staff. DIPS have initiated talks with the government in March 2017 to discuss ways to relax regulations for international schools to hire foreign teachers, De Beus told The PIE.

“They are looking for a solution,” she said.

Meanwhile in Germany, pressure is piling on international schools in Frankfurt due to the anticipated move of banks out of the City of London.

“In a normal year, we usually have a waiting list somewhere around 300 students. This year, by December 2017, we already had the same number of applications that we would experience for an entire year,” Paul Fochtman, head of Frankfurt International School, told The PIE.

While some of this is associated with Brexit, he said, the school has been experiencing an increased demand also due to their academic results and programs they offer.

Earlier this week, Financial News reported that Deutsche Bank has blocked “several hundreds” of international school places in Frankfurt in view of an anticipated “surge” of applications post-Brexit.

Commenting on the reports, Fochtman told The PIE: “The Deutsche Bank plans are quite transparent and I do understand other school are selling seats to accommodate their proposed large movement. We are also working closely with them… but they must follow the same admission procedures as all students.”

EMA were not able to provide comment, when asked by The PIE News. 

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