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The British School in The Netherlands

British Education System

The BSN’s ethos goes way beyond ensuring that our students receive a rounded, results-focused education delivered in English - a British education creates open-minded, creative and thoughtful individuals. It is also the most prevalent curricula throughout the world's international schools.

Our children and students learn through practice and experience – supported by great teaching, innovative resources and an international context. They are always encouraged to be creative in their thinking and they are expected to work hard. It is this potent mix that makes us proud to be a leader in European international education – it’s this that makes the BSN "Internationally British".

British Education System - Age Groups Explained

The illustration below is designed to show the ages and year groups of students in our school. This is based on a child's age at the start of September - also the beginning of our school year.  

This year group will vary according to the individual needs of the child.

Early Years

Ages 3 – 5 | Foundation Stage | Foundation 1 and 2

Learning Through Play

Young children learn through exploration. Everything they do, from kicking a ball, building with blocks and painting, to singing in a group, and developing reading and writing skills is done in English and it is designed to help them understand their environment. This stage is essential and ensures children develop socially, mentally and physically.

Junior School

Ages 5 – 7 | Key Stage 1 | Years 1 and 2

Exploration and Learning the Basics

A more structured approach to the day helps children continue their development with learning how to read, write and count in English. We still encourage children to explore and play, and discover the world around them and relate their findings in words and numbers.

Ages 7 – 11 | Key Stage 2 | School years 3 – 6

Communication and Application of Skill

Children are naturally curious, and in our junior schools, we encourage them to learn about things that interest them while consolidating their numeracy and literacy skills. At this stage, we teach children how to apply these basic skills to other subject areas – such as Science, Art and History.

Senior School

Ages 11 – 16 | Key Stage 3 & 4 | School years 7 – 11

Critical Thinking & Debate

As children get older we teach them to think more critically - it is at this stage that students develop a deeper knowledge and understanding across the arts, humanities, languages and sciences. They learn how to investigate, test and think about things rationally. At age 16 (Year 11), students take GCSE (General Certificate of Education) exams in  8-10 different subjects.

Sixth Form

Ages 16 – 18 | Key Stage 5 | Sixth Form - School years 12 and 13

Choices & Ambitions

The final two years at school mark the beginning of adulthood. Students make choices and work hard during these years that prepare them for university and the start of their future career path. At the end of Year 11, and once students have finished their GCSEs they choose from four further study programmes:

  • A Levels
  • IB Diploma Programme
  • IB Career-Related Programme
  • BTEC Qualifications
  • All of which are recognised and accepted by universities around the world.

University & Beyond

Age 18+

The overwhelming majority of BSN students go on to university, mostly in the UK and the Netherlands, and with an increasing number of students achieving places in universities worldwide including USA and Canada. Whilst we value academic success, we also want BSN students to leave us as confident, well-informed young people who are ready for their future as great friends and global citizens.