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language centre
language centre
Working for us
Working for us
The British School in The Netherlands

Learning the Value of Language

Young children engage naturally with language in a way that we as adults often envy - they see languages as natural and fun and it is our job to nurture this enthusiasm and further develop our students' linguistic skills.

Regular events in the Junior Schools provide opportunities for children to listen and experience other languages and cultures - European Day of Languages, BSN International Days, Mother Tongue Story Time, and the BSN International Festival are just a few examples.

Mother Tongue Language Programme

As an Internationally British school, we value the diversity of our community and understand the importance of supporting language learning both inside and outside the classroom. The BSN Mother Tongue programme offers a way of further progressing your child’s native language development (outside of English).

The programme consists of a range of Mother Tongue classes held after school. The programme is open to native or near-native speakers of several languages from Year 1 to 6. Mother Tongue classes are for children who have already had a substantial amount of exposure to a language - this could be through attending school in another country or using it daily with family members. 

Classes are offered in the following languages at a level appropriate to the age and experience of the child:

Mother Tongue Languages

All teachers are fully qualified native-speaker teachers and language support assistants (employed when there are 10 students or more in a group) are native or near-native speakers. All lessons are located in The BSN Language Centre on our Leidschenveen Campus - offering purpose built, small language classrooms with interactive whiteboards and other online resources. 

Mother Tongue Languages Programme

Spanish, French and German 

All students in Year 6 (aged 10-11) receive lessons in Spanish, French and German. These lessons are designed as introductory courses to new foreign languages and one language is covered per term across the year. These lessons are taught by specialist language teachers from the Senior School who visit each Year 6 class once a week. This link with Senior School teaching staff provides not only high-quality teaching but also helps provide a smooth transition for students when they move into Year 7.

Native/fluent speakers

As an international school, it is not unusual for there to be native Spanish, French or German speakers amongst our Year 6 students. During these language lessons, native speakers are provided with individual assignments to complete which are reviewed and assessed by the teacher. During the term, they are asked to produce a minimum of two pieces of written work in different styles (for example, a letter and a diary entry). These pieces of work are used to help establish the level of the student’s written language and hence determine how to approach the Mother Tongue enrichment when the student arrives at the Senior School.


The level of Dutch spoken by our student ranges from nil to completely fluent - and just about everything in between! As a result, we customise our Dutch programme each year, and in each school, to ensure that it best meets the needs of the children in our care. 

We are careful to ensure that everyone is supported and developed in their language ability - children are sometimes pooled in vertical classes by level rather than year groups to allow for more interaction and opportunity for extension work for more fluent teachers. Alternatively, classes may be taught by year group, but still streamed within that structure. Essentially we structure the lessons to differentiate in a way which best matches the children's needs.

Full classes are split to keep group sizes small and manageable. The younger children do more hands-on in-context lessons - with art, cooking and drama to help to understand. Dutch culture and traditions are also covered within all groups to help children properly integrate into the local Dutch community.