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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Continuing professional development for teachers working in early childhood and school education


9.Teachers and education staff

9.3Continuing professional development for teachers working in early childhood and school education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Organisational aspects

  • Schools for primary, secondary and special education have their own budgets for in-service training. They decide on both the actual content of courses and the institution that provides the training.

  • There are no specific in-service training institutions governed by law. Courses can be provided by institutions within both the public and commercial domain. Many are provided by teacher training institutions (HBO institutions and universities with teacher training departments). They are sometimes organised in cooperation with the school advisory services, one of the national educational advisory centres or experts from outside the education system.

Since the quality of education depends in large part on the standard of teaching, the government wants to improve teachers’ professional development and career prospects. The Teacher 2020 Action Plan introduces various measures to this end, including:

  • Teacher development grant: The teacher development grant enables teachers to follow a bachelor’s or master’s degree course in the context of continuing professional development.

  • Diversified system of posts and salaries: The diversified system of posts and salaries offers teachers who continue to develop professionally the prospect of promotion to more senior posts with higher salaries.

  • Register of Teachers: All qualified teachers in the Netherlands are eligible for enrolment in the Register of Teachers, where they can record their qualifications and activities undertaken to keep their professional development up-to-date.

Teacher development grant

Qualified teachers wishing to raise their professional level, deepen their specialist knowledge or specialise can apply for a teacher development grant. They may use it to study for a bachelor’s or master’s degree. The main conditions that teachers must meet in order to qualify for a grant are as follows:

  • they are qualified to teach in primary, special, secondary or vocational education or, for teachers in higher professional education, have at least a bachelor’s degree;

  • they spend at least 20% of their working hours on teaching duties;

  • they obtain at least 15 course credits per academic year while receiving the grant.

The teacher development grant helps to cover:

  • course fees or tuition fees (a maximum of €7,000 for statutory tuition fees or institutional fees*);

  • a maximum of €350 for study materials and travel.

*Applicants who do not meet the requirements for statutory tuition fees must pay the fees set by individual institutions.

The employer can also apply for funding to arrange a supply teacher during study leave.

As of 2013, peripatetic supervisors in mainstream or special education may also apply for a grant. Peripatetic supervisors do not teach but assist special needs pupils with a personal budget.

PhD grants for teachers

The PhD grant is for teachers in, for instance, primary, secondary and special education who want to obtain a PhD. The grant enables qualified teachers to conduct doctoral research at a university and write a doctoral dissertation. They are free to choose their own subject area and research topic.

Eligibility for PhD grants

  • A teacher who wishes to apply for a PhD grant first comes up with a research idea and then, with the help of a professor who is willing to supervise the research, develops it as a research proposal. The proposal is then assessed by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

Teachers who qualify for a PhD grant are exempted from teaching duties for two days a week, on full salary, over a period of five years, so that they can conduct their research. Their school receives funding for a supply teacher for the days in question.

Incentives for participation in continuing professional development (CPD) activities

Obligation to maintain standards

The competency requirements for teachers are laid down in the Education Professions Act. Schools are required to keep a record of the competencies of each member of the teaching staff, setting out agreements made between the employer and the teacher on, for instance, continuing professional development. This enables the government to keep a grip on the quality of teachers and thus the quality of education.

In 2006 employers’ organisations and trade unions in the primary and secondary education sectors signed a voluntary agreement on the professional development and training of staff, with provisions on training and support for:

  • students

  • trainee teachers

  • other education personnel.

Every teaching post in the Dutch education system has a corresponding salary scale. Extra funding from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science enables schools to offer their teachers better career prospects. Through promotion, teachers can earn a higher salary.