From 1 September 2007, junior schools in Belgium are to be "kosteloos", ie without costs.
Children receive the following items from the school:
- books, atlases, dictionaries, notebooks, diary
- reading books,picture books
- pencils, ballpoint pens, rubbers (erasers in US)
- paint, art paper
- glue, scissors, ruler
- compasses, set square, protractor, calculator, compass
- balls, rope, tricycles, climbing equipment
- cardboard, wood, tools, building blocks, puzzles
- computers, internet, software
- musical instruments.
What is not free ie for what must parents pay?
- Swimming costs (except first years who receive free lessons, the 6 year olds)
- Trips out such as theatre, walks in the wood, sports activities, school journeys.
- Sport clothing, newspapers (if necessary).
The school may ask a maximum annual contribution of 20€ in nursery and 60€ in the junior school.
The school may also request payment for activities and services outside normal school hours but children are not obliged to take part:
- drinks, midday lunch, surveillance before and after school, bus transport, new year letters, T-shirt and class photos.
Parents must provide:
- books bag, lunch box, pencil case, outdoor clothing, gym shoes.
In the recently published "Pocket World in Figures 2008" recently published by The Economist, Belgium scored the highest ranking for children's schooling.
I am very happy with the schooling that my boys, aged 6 and 9, receive in the local Flemish school and can compare this with both state and private schools in the UK and Spain.
Antonia Stuart-James is an English Hypnotherapist in Belgium helping people to make positive change.