Schooling for families on the move: blended learning in the Rijdende School

In our first practice video, we turn our lens on the Rijdende School in the Netherlands: an educational organisation that provides flexible schooling for primary-age pupils whose parents have to travel for work.

Nora Booij (managing director): At the Rijdende School (Travelling School) we offer primary education to children aged 4 to 13, at those moments when their parents are travelling. Also to children who normally attend special primary education or special needs education. The Rijdende School is financed by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, just like all other primary schools in the Netherlands. Since 1985, there has been a separate ministerial decree which officially regulates the financing of education for children of professionally travelling parents.

Nina Crommelin (circus education and internationalisation coordinator): When children of foreign circus artists or funfair operators travel in the Netherlands for one season, the Rijdende School contacts the school in which the child is enrolled in their country of origin. In consultation, it is decided what the education will look like.

Alma van den Bos (remote education coordinator): Normally, we teach our children using mobile teaching trucks. These teaching trucks are placed near the funfair or circus site where the pupils are. The fact is that some of our pupils travel in somewhat larger groups, making it possible for the teacher to physically visit them and teach them in this mobile teaching truck. But perhaps a larger part of our pupils travel in smaller groups or even individually or abroad, and these pupils largely depend on our remote education. Of course, this is not the same for all pupils, so we also take a good look at these pupils’ needs. While one pupil may be completely comfortable with an instruction video about multiplication sums, another pupil might find this quite difficult and would much rather have you sitting next to them with concrete material to explain it in this way.

We do not always have pupils of the same year group or in the same development phase together in class, but they can of course be found elsewhere in the country. We have these pupils contact one another online to work on, for example, world orientation projects, or on their English speaking skills, or on a processing assignment in reading comprehension. Part of the year they attend a regular primary school – and during the year, but especially when they are travelling, we are in close contact with the school about the pupil’s development. In this way, the transition from one school to another will be as smooth as possible. And of course, we also have very close contact with our parents: when it comes to remote education, we are even dependent on them. They support their children during class, so they sit next to them while the webcam is on, but once the webcam is switched off, they also guide them through the teaching material.

Rick Gering (remote education teacher): Parents can also read the activities in our digital system, Navileren. They can read the learning design, and this is also differentiated, so they can go a step higher or a step lower. They can judge for themselves: what is my son or daughter able to do? Then, in the same system, they assess how well the child did.