School Heads lodge complaint against teacher shortages

Twenty school heads have lodged an official complaint with the Flemish Children’s Rights Commissioner Bruno Vanobbergen. They have done so as they say that teacher shortages mean that they are unable to offer all children the education that they have a right to. One of the Head teachers told the daily ‘Het Nieuwsblad’ that “The situation is dire and the measures that are in place are insufficient”.  

The association that represents 1,200 Flemish Head Teachers VLVO sent its members a model letter with which Heads could lodge a complaint with the Children’s Rights Commissioner. In the meantime 20 Heads have lodged an official complaint, while 200 other have said that they have issues, as they are unable to find replacement staff.   

VLVO’s Marie-Jeanne Baelmans told VRT News that  "The right to education can no longer be guaranteed in a lot of places as replacement staff cannot be found.

"The situation is absolutely dire, it is the case in so many schools. The rights of children are being violated”.    

The Children’s Rights Commissioner will look into how he will try and address the complaints. Ms Baelmans hopes that there will be a response from politicians.  

"The fact that there have been so many complaints will hopefully mean that it is put up a little higher on the political agenda”.

The shortage of teaching staff is not new.

“We have raised the issue of the shortage of teachers through the current legislature, but the Teachers’ Platform project is proving insufficient”.  

Through the Teachers’ Platform a teacher is given a temporary position until the end of the school year through which they can be used as supply teachers.

The Flemish Education Minister Hilde Crevits (Christian democrat) has already taken a number of measures to make a career in teaching look more attractive. Next year a new campaign will be launched to try and attract new teachers.