More than one-quarter of all new students heading up to Flemish secondary schools in Brussels have still not been allocated a place, the VRT reports. Some 500 children are affected. More than 2,000 families used the digital registration system in January to find a school place for their child. Three out of four were successful, and almost all of those – 97% – were allocated a school from their top three choices.
However the remainder are still waiting to see where they will be going to school come September. At the same time, there are still 132 vacant school places, as a result of the system being unable to match an available place with a student’s choice. Those places will presumably be filled eventually, which still leaves more than 350 students without a place.
According to Bruzz, there are two possibilities for those kept waiting. Five schools in Brussels declined to take part in the digital system, including a Steiner school and two technical schools. In addition, some students may have applied for a place on the periphery of Brussels as well as in the region itself. If they obtain a place there, that leaves one more Brussels place open.
In Dutch-speaking primary schools, meanwhile, there is a shortage of 3,446 places, up from 3,300 last year. That is despite a 3% increase in capacity in the schools. And although demand only grew by 2%, leading to a percentage fall in the shortage, in absolute numbers the problem has got worse.
Among those children who were successful in finding a place, nearly 2,000 already have siblings at the school of their first choice, and so are given priority in the allocation of places. Of the remainder, 63% found a place in a school from their top three choices.
The good news for the rest is that some of those children are switching schools, so they will take up one place while liberating another. According to Nadine Engels, chair of the local consultation platform for primary schools in the region, every child is guaranteed a school place, although it may not be of their own choosing.