How the village school became popular

How do you ensure that a village school becomes popular far and wide? Primary school De Zaaier in Teuge grew from more than 80 to 135 students and now even has a waiting list. Five of the lessons that former director Jan-Willem Stegeman learned.

  1. Provide good teachers

    "I started by focusing on the quality of the teachers by offering them study opportunities and support." One of the teachers says: “I received class visits and video guidance. And I'm encouraged to keep up with the professional literature. If I want to order a book, that's always possible. And when I get to here with the administration, Jan-Willem takes over the class for a day and I can update it. ” Stegeman: “I especially want them to have time and energy for the students and for the analyzes of the tests. That's why we have teaching assistants and a concierge, and I take as many tasks from them as possible. ”

  2. Be involved in village life

    De Zaaier is the only school in the village. Stegeman lives in Apeldoorn, where he was previously a teacher. The village life of Teuge surprised him. "A lot is possible." About forty villagers regularly help with the weekly creative afternoon: cooking, carpentry, needlework, technique, feeding the animals at the adjacent petting zoo. In return, pupils explain to older residents how to use a tablet, telephone and computer. “There is a lot of loneliness in the village. In this way we try to connect people. ”
    In groups 1, 3, 5 and 7, the teacher makes a home visit to the students. During the intake, Stegeman asks parents what they can do for the school. “That makes them think. I expect every parent to help with something. This can also be with the website or an administrative job. And otherwise I speak to them in a friendly way. Parents know what they can do with us. It is in the interest of their own child. The parents from the new housing estates of Apeldoorn - about a third of the students come from there - are also sucked in. ” Stegeman shows his face at the annual village festival and sometimes drinks a beer in the village café on Sunday afternoon. "But I am not friends with parents, I am clear about that." Every year there is a 'thank you afternoon' for all efforts, with coffee, cake, flowers and a gift voucher for everyone.

  3. Tell us what you are doing well

    Stegeman: “There is often a lot of modesty in education. But tell us what you are doing well! We distributed flyers in the neighborhoods in Apeldoorn, profiled ourselves and beat the drum. Now we talk about our school on birthdays and we no longer have to advertise. ”

  4. Keep the school small-scale

    “Our son first went to a large school. Now he is here and things are going much better ”, says a mother who is carving pumpkin for a festival in the hall. “Look, when you enter you see a photo of each student. That felt like coming home. ” Stegeman: “If parents want to transfer to our school, we really have to be sure whether this school is a better fit. You don't want to run the risk that it won't work here either. We also ensure a good distribution between boys and girls and children from different schools. ” This school year, 23 students will join group 1/2. There is a waiting list for the other groups. “The maximum is 135 students. We want to maintain our individuality as a village school. ”

  5. Deposit what you have

    Stegeman: “Some parents may be afraid that when a new director comes, everything will change again. But we want a new director, whom we are still looking for, to continue the line and that other schools are also inspired. ”