Children in class


A lot is going to change- for the better, if you ask me- regarding the transition from primary (basisschool) to secondary (middelbare) school. 

Transition test

First of all, the ‘end test’ will be called ‘transition test’ (doorstroomtoets), to indicate that the pupils will keep on developing themselves after group 8. 

Timing of transition test primary school


Also the timing of the test will change. Currently, in the end of group 7, the pupils get their preliminary advice for secondary school. In February of group 8, they get their final advice (from their teacher). Then they apply for secondary schools. Then, in April they take the end test. When the test results are higher than the teacher’s advice, their final advice may get adjusted and then they could apply for different schools at a higher level. However, many of these schools are already full by then. 

Advice in group 8

Preliminary advice

From next school year, between 10 and 31 January, all group 8 pupils get their preliminary advice (voorlopig advies) (so, not anymore in group 7). 

Girl taking test in primary school

Taking the test

In the first two weeks of February, all pupils will take the transition test. Schools may choose between a couple of certified test providers. 

test outcome

Final advice

Before 24 March, the pupils and parents will receive the final advice. If the test results are higher than the preliminary advice, the final advice will be increased, unless the school can strongly prove that a higher advice isn’t in the benefit of the child. 

Amsterdam secondary school guide 2023

Apply for secondary schools

Between 25 and 31 March, all pupils apply at the same time for secondary schools, with their final advice. This also takes away the different rules and policies between cities. In Amsterdam, for example, it could happen that the schools the children want to apply for with their new, higher, advice are already full through the lottery.

Additionally, primary schools have to explain more clearly in their school guide how they come to the preliminary advice. They also have to actively involve the parents in this process. 

I believe that all these changes are in the benefit of the children. I am curious to see the development here. 

explanation of the secondary school application procedure

Doodly video

I have made a Doodly video to explain the Dutch secondary school system and the options for higher education. I’ll have to update this video soon too!

If you want to read the exact rules, you could do so on the website of the government (Rijksoverheid), in Dutch.