The careers and skills of teachers in the Netherlands

The careers and skills of teachers in the Netherlands
What does the research say?

How do the careers and skills of Dutch teachers develop?

Recent research from the Netherlands shows that the difference between having a good or a bad teacher in grade 6 (‘groep’ 8) can make a difference of half a level of secondary school track advice. In order to improve the level of education, a sufficient number of good teachers are needed in front of the classroom. Taking care of this supply is high on the Dutch political agenda due to the shortage of teachers and concerns about the quality and unequal distribution of teachers. This dissertation examines how the careers and skills of Dutch teachers develop.

This dissertation focuses on teachers in primary and secondary education. The careers and are described for elementary school teachers, while the chapters on skills cover both primary and secondary education. The dissertation provides new insights into the careers of teachers through the use of large administrative datasets. These make it possible to follow all beginning teachers from secondary school to the ninth year of employment. It also allows to look at relationships with the school and pupil characteristics of the school in which the teachers work. With this wealth of data, the career patterns of Dutch elementary school teachers can be studied at a level of detail that has not been possible until now.

What are the most important findings?


  • Students from teacher training colleges with high drop-out rates end up in education just as often as students from teacher training colleges with low drop-out rates, but work 2.5% more hours per month.
  • Graduates who obtain their elementary school teaching qualification who stay in education earn 10% more and are 50% more likely to have a permanent contract compared to graduates who go to work in another sector.

School choice:

  1. Relatively many teachers with a migration background work in schools with a higher proportion of students with a migration background.
  2. Schools with a high percentage of students from highly educated parents employ more teachers with a master’s degree.
  3. The proportion of teachers with a non-western background is positively related to the test scores of pupils with a migration background.


  1. There are few low performing teachers in the Netherlands.
  2. On average, teachers perform well compared to other countries.
  3. There are few excellent teachers in the Netherlands compared to other countries.