ROTTERDAM, 7 July 2023 – The government of Rotterdam has announced an investment of €5 million to enhance the services of school healthcare teams across the city. This investment is aimed at providing increased support to students requiring care, by expanding the reach of these teams and enhancing the effectiveness of existing ones.
Rotterdam increases funding for school healthcare teams
The investment will enable the setup and continuation of school healthcare teams (schoolzorgteams) in a total of 125 schools across Rotterdam. At present, nearly 80 primary schools are benefiting from these teams, which offer swift and effective support to children with healthcare needs.
These healthcare teams are typically composed of various experts from within and outside the school, including an internal supervisor (intern begeleider or IB'er), a school contact person from PPO (Passend Primair Onderwijs), and a school social worker. Youth-specialised staff from municipal district teams are also included, particularly in neighbourhoods where families and children need support the most.
Emphasising healthcare in schools
Since the coronavirus pandemic, Rotterdam has been focusing on providing additional healthcare services in schools. The aim is to mitigate as much as possible the impact of this period on children and adolescents. Funding from the National Education Programme (NPO) has been utilised to increase aid and care in schools via staff from district teams. In addition, numerous tutors have been employed to provide extra guidance in language and arithmetic.
However, now that the utilisation of NPO funds has come to an end, the city is allocating €5 million to continue and increase the deployment of school healthcare teams.
Quotes from the municipality
Said Kasmi, the city's Alderman for Education, is confident in the strategy. "In Rotterdam, we see the positive consequences of this approach," he noted. "Thanks to the close cooperation within school healthcare teams, children and families can receive the right help and support more quickly."
Faouzi Achbar, Alderman for Welfare, shared his satisfaction with the progress so far. "Healthcare professionals in schools want to be able to discuss children's care with the district team more quickly and easily," he stated. "Organising the district teams closer to the schools creates better contact between parents, school, and social workers. This helps to prevent issues more quickly and reduces the need for children to require more intensive help."
A future focus for the municipality
The municipal government emphasises the importance of ongoing investment in measures that yield long-term improvement. This includes more capacity for school social work, focus on the socio-emotional development of children, and investment in measures to relieve teachers and allow them to concentrate on their core tasks.
"In the 2025/2026 school year, we aim to provide support to at least 100 primary and secondary schools where the need is greatest," Kasmi stated. He explained that this could be achieved in various ways, including the deployment of tutors, mentors, preventive youth work at school, and smart organisation with art subject teachers.
For more detailed information and practical stories, visit www.onderwijs010.nl/schoolzorgteam.