1 Brochure version 1 February 2015 Pilot Bilingual Primary Education in the Netherlands A pilot project with the aim of introducing a form of bilingual primary education to the Netherlands was introduced on the 1 st January The pilot, under the leadership of EP Nuffic, is part of the Plan for English, an initiative of the Department for Education, Culture and Science. This is in response to a growing demand from parents for earlier and more foreign language instruction. The model allows partial immersion in the English language for between percent of the school day. The pilot is receiving financial support from the Ministry. The 1st August 2014, the first twelve pilot schools started to teach the Bilingual Primary Education (BPE) programme in groups 1 and 2 (children aged between four and six years old). They were joined by a further six schools on 1 January One school is part of the network of trilingual primary schools in Friesland. The pilot has a duration of five years and it is the intention to start BPE in group 1 and to expand as children progress through the school. The intention here is to give information about the educational aims of the pilot scheme and report on its development. We will also explore the collaboration between the pilot schools and other parties such as the Netherlands Institute for Curriculum Development (SLO). A third part will focus on the study of the effects of BPE and on some educational aspects, such as the role of language teachers and the methodology of BPE. We will look at the schools that are part of the pilot, the organization itself and its steering committee. The intention is to update this information several times a year because of the highly dynamic nature of the project. You can find more information about the Dutch Education system on this site: education The curriculum The first document for the BPE curriculum was received by schools in June It has the following three main features: The Dutch curriculum is the central and guiding point, ensuring that its core objectives are covered English language classes and activities are offered 30 to 50 % of school time Focus on internationalization The pilot starts in group 1 and 2. Students must attain the same skills and knowledge as their peers in regular primary education, at the end of the primary phase. Schools should develop a methodology whereby English is the instruction language in 30 50% of the lessons. In this model of partial language immersion, the emphasis is on understanding and
2 communication. Fluency is used as a means to achieve accuracy, taking into account the individual learning and developmental needs of learners. This leads to additional objectives: For English, the learner should achieve the level of independent language user, i.e. the level of English achieved is at B1 or B2 level, dependent on the final standards of attainment at the end of the primary phase and the subsequent form of secondary education that the learner will follow. This ambition will be examined as the pilot progresses in terms of whether it is realistic and achievable. The principle of teaching in the target language is of quintessential importance here, so that English is combined with the content of the syllabus for each of the other subjects. The schools will be given the time to develop this aspect. The students have more knowledge and experience of the world through international contacts and because of this, they have a greater inter cultural awareness. The schools have room to make some choices of their own, within the boundaries of the pilot. All schools are different and that should be reflected in their policies, informed by their own experiences, pedagogical philosophy and choices. This knowledge and experience is of vital importance in the development and evaluation of the pilot as a whole. Thus, the process of curriculum development is characterized by two movements: the setting of task frames for the schools and vice versa, which has worked well. The first priority has been to develop a curriculum for English for groups 1 and 2; this has been written by the BPE steering committee and SLO. Important features of this plan are: The assumption of three phases, which are generally described as end group 1, end group 2 and target level group 2 For each phase, there is an indication of the average command of English vocabulary in order to achieve each level. They are as follows: o Phase 1: passive/receptive 800 and active/productive 300 o Phase 2: passive/receptive 2,000 and active/productive 750 o Phase 3: passive/receptive 2,500 and active/productive 1,000 The emphasis is on oral communication and skills, with sub domains such as o Vocabulary and accurate word usage o Fluency and intelligibility o Listening o Conduct conversations Additional gradual attention to other domains such as o Emerging literacy o Linguistic awareness The framework and development of vocabulary lists are based on a number of widely used Dutch and international educational English vocabularies. The pilot programme is developing its own 2,500 word list, organized thematically, which should be completed for use in the spring of As an extension, an observation form will be designed for both the teachers and the pilot study, which should provide insight into the development of English in groups 1 and 2. The efficacy of both the vocabulary list and the observation from will be examined. The results will be used in the evaluation of the curriculum for Years 1 and 2 and then for the subsequent plans for group 3.
3 The emphasis above is on the development of English in the curriculum. As far as the development of the Dutch language and other subject areas are concerned, the schools already have access to an extensive and established curriculum, including a national monitoring and assessment system. For English, this will have to be developed completely. It is the express intention that we will work towards a system where Dutch and English are recognised as languages both of instruction and learning in an integrated curriculum. The steering committee and the schools are working together to develop a quality control system. School visits, peer consulting and systematic evaluation should provide mutual inspiration and monitoring of progress. The steering committee believes that there will be no need for extra materials for English for the first two years of the project. This will no doubt change as the programme progresses. Literacy skills will be introduced and the selection of suitable materials has already begun, both for English language lessons and for other subjects. Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) is an integral part of the methodology of the project and to this end, contacts have been made with large international publishing companies, with the additional aim of forming close working relationships with them in the process. With their help, we are also seeking appropriate forms of assessment, which could be either for English alone or in the broader context of assessment for learning. Research An important part of the pilot is a long term study into the effects of BPE. The research began in 2013, with a study of all the literature available. The goal was to identify useful experiences from other countries where BPE had already been introduced. Points for consideration included: the design and organisation of the programmes the methods of evaluation that were used the results between the usual instruction language used by the school and the second target language pedagogical and organisational skills and attitudes Finally, possibilities for international cooperation were also explored. The literature study was completed by interviews with specialists in this area (including, amongst others, Munõz, Genesee, Nikolov en Kersten). The literature study is an important basis both for the current research project and as a justification for the design of the pilot. The BPE experiences in countries such as Spain, Sweden, Germany and in southeast Asia will provide useful points of reference. A consortium of researchers from ITS, the University of Maastricht, Radboud University, Expertisecentrum Nederlands and the University of Utrecht has been assembled for the five year research project, under the umbrella term FOTO. The main research question is:
4 What is the best way to set up BPE and what is its effect on the learning of English and Dutch? This leads to the following sub questions: What is the effect of BPE on language skills in both Dutch and English? What are the differences between learners who attend a BPE school and those that do not? Are there differences between schools and specific groups of children? Do Dutch language skills develop in a comparable manner in children who attend BPE schools and children who do not? How do the different aspects of English language skills develop over time? What is the effect of BPE on mathematical skills? How do schools interpret and set up BPE programmes? What do pupils, parents, teachers, directors and school boards think about BPE? In addition to the schools taking part in the pilot, there are two control groups. The first consists of schools who offer English as a foreign language in group 1; the second set offer no English at all in the first six years of school. In total, each of the three groups consists of approximately 300 children. The expectation is that more than 30 schools in total will participate in this pilot and the first tests will take place in February This also explains the design of the research project. The three control groups will be followed for five years and their progress in English will be monitored at three points; half way through group 1, half way through group 3 and then finally in group 5. The tests have been selected to measure the receptive and productive vocabulary and grammar (including amongst others PPVT and TROG). For older groups, there is a narrative task and a special writing and listening test is being developed for group 5. Extra research will be aimed at the attitudes and social backgrounds of the children and the way that the school designs and organises the programme. The research will also consider the language skills of the teachers themselves and their methodological approach to language teaching. The results for Dutch language and mathematics will be compiled using the national assessment and record keeping system that all schools use. The first scheduled report is to be published in December It is expected that the results will attract much attention both in the Netherlands and the international academic world. This can also form the basis for further international ventures in this field. The schools BPE pilot schools, 1 st January 2014 : Blijberg, Rotterdam Groningse Schoolvereniging, Groningen Haagsche Schoolvereeniging, The Hague International School Eindhoven, Eindhoven International School Hilversum, Hilversum Lanteerne, Nijmegen Pôlle, Marsum
5 Prinseschool, Enschede Talent, Lent Violenschool, Hilversum Visserschool, Amsterdam Wilge, Hilversum New BPE schools, 1 st January 2015: Casaschool, Pijnacker Nootdorp Driespan, Enkhuizen Eglantier, locatie Tanthof, Delft Eglantier, locatie Voorhof, Delft Gooise Daltonschool, Hilversum Passe Partout, Rotterdam Further information about each school can be found on the school website. Organisation of the pilot The Department of Education, Culture and Science has appointed EP Nuffic to supervise the pilot programme. There is also a steering committee, composed of representatives from the pilot schools, EP Nuffic and EarlyBird. The schools meet on a regular basis in order to exchange information, share experiences and, increasingly, for training purposes. There is also a dedicated website and newsletter. The steering committee ensures the smooth running of the pilot, works with SLO to develop the curriculum, regulates the research project and is establishing a quality control policy. The steering committee also conducts additional research such as the development of vocabulary. The steering committee has the important task of maintaining the balance between the needs of the pilot in general and the needs of each school as the programme develops. There must be space for the ideas which lie at the grassroots of this programme, while confined to the boundaries laid out for the pilot. This is a project which will have a fundamental effect on the children involved, because of the amount of time spent on English. This demands a careful review of progress, strong cooperation and inspiration on all sides. For more information about the pilot: