What are the rules of compulsory education?

What are the rules of compulsory education in short?

3 years

If your child is three years and ten months, it is usually allowed to come to school to get acquainted. This may be a maximum of five days until the child has reached the age of four years. Schools are not obliged to participate in such an introductory period.

4 years

If your child turns four years old, it is allowed to go to school. Make sure you register your child in time, because some schools have a waiting list. Also take this into account if you are moving soon. Only public schools are in principle obliged to admit the child. There are also schools where your child can start immediately the day after the fourth birthday.

5 years

If your child turns five, it is no longer a matter of being allowed, but of having to. The first school day of the month after the fifth birthday, every child is obliged to go to school. You can keep your child that is less than six years old for a maximum of five hours a week. You only need to inform the director of the school about this. Notification is therefore sufficient to make use of this partial exemption from compulsory education. The director decides on the exemption of a further five hours per week.

The compulsory school age

Compulsory education starts on the first school day after the month in which a child has become five years old. The complete compulsory education ends at the end of the school year in which a young person has turned sixteen, or after twelve full school years. The school year thereafter, the young person is partially (partially) obliged to attend school.
The parents or guardians are responsible for registering a child at a school and for the actual school visit. From the age of twelve, a young person can also be addressed at his or her school visit.

Compulsory education

In the Netherlands, the rights and obligations of parents / carers, pupils and school directors are specified in the Compulsory Education Act. This law is, in short, a legal remedy that guarantees that all young people in the Netherlands can and will participate in education. The purpose of the Compulsory Education Act is that young people are equipped as well as possible with the knowledge and skills they need to acquire an independent place in the partnership. A completed school education is a prerequisite for this.
The municipality's compulsory education department ensures that parents comply with the compulsory education law. A number of compulsory school attendants have been appointed for this purpose. If parents and / or pupils do not comply with the Compulsory Education Act, the school director is obliged to contact the school attendance officer and the absenteeism is reported. The parents are then invited for an interview with the school attendance officer at the town hall.

Leave outside school holidays

Parents must adhere to the established school holidays. This also applies to winter sports holidays or a visit to the country of origin. In one particular case, the director of the school may allow a pupil to take leave outside the school holidays. This concerns parents who, due to the nature of their profession, can not make use of school holidays. At most, permission can be granted for additional leave for a maximum period of ten school days once a year. You must then show a statement from the employer that shows that you can not go on holiday at another time. No permission is granted for leave following a holiday and not in the first two weeks after the summer holiday.
Extra leave must always be requested in writing. When an application is rejected and you still go on vacation, the director is obliged to report the omission to the school attendance officer.

Extra leave

Excessive circumstances can be a reason to request additional leave. This concerns, for example, a marriage or a funeral of a family member. For less than ten school days, you must submit a written request to the school director. The director decides on the application. If it concerns a period of more than ten school days, the director forwards the application to the school attendance officer. In that case you will receive an invitation to explain your request at the Town Hall. If an application is rejected by the director or the attendance officer and your child is still absent, then this is seen as an unauthorized omission and you get another call from the attendance officer.

Leave request

Leave requests are always assessed individually. You must submit an application for leave as soon as possible to the school director, preferably at least eight weeks in advance. The director may ask for an employer's declaration or independent self-declaration to be able to assess your application.


If you do not agree with a decision about the exemption, you can lodge an objection in writing with the person who made the decision.

Address data

Compulsory education in The Hague
Spui 70
2511 BT The Hague
070 3535454
Accessible during office hours.

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