Flemish strike deal on child allowance, the provinces and secondary education

The Flemish government has reached agreement on the reform of the child allowance system, the modernisation of secondary education and the down-sizing of the provinces.

Starting 2019 all newly-borns in Flanders will receive a basic child allowance of 160 euros. Children growing up in families on low pay with an income of less than 30,000 euros before tax or less than 60,000 before tax a year in a family with three children will receive a bonus.

Parents sending their child to the first and second year of kindergarten will receive a one-off payment of 150 euros. The new system applies to children born from 1 January 2019 onwards. Nothing changes for existing children.

In secondary education there are changes to the first grade. At the minute many pupils lose out on courses for which they may have talent. In future their potential will be explored during the first grade. Pupils who need extra hours to tackle subjects will be given extra lessons. The final two years of secondary school will be geared to making a decision on further studies or a switch to the labour market.

The provinces too are being reformed: the number of elected positions will fall and budgets will be cut.