Primary school Gasselte is outgrowing, children are taught in the hallway

The number of pupils at public primary school De Dobbe in Gasselte has risen so much in recent years that there are not enough classrooms to teach. Children are therefore sometimes taught in the village hall, in the teachers’ room or even in the hallway.

To solve the lack of space, the school will receive emergency classrooms from the municipality of Aa and Hunze in January. A temporary solution, because De Dobbe actually needs more space permanently.

“It’s full here, it just doesn’t fit anymore,” says director Jantinus Esschendal, as he walks through the narrow corridor of the school. As he utters his words, a group of children passes him. This works just fine without anyone having to step aside.

The school has more students than there is space. According to Esschendal, more young families have come to live in Gasselte or neighboring villages in recent years. “Our education also appeals to parents from villages such as Gasselternijveen, where there is also a school. Children of people who temporarily live in holiday parks in the area also come here. As a result, we now have many more children in classes than a few years ago.”

Many more village schools in Drenthe are struggling with a lack of space, while previously schools had to close because there were not enough students. Research by RTV Drenthe previously showed that half of the schools in our province that were built after 2012 already need expansion. The school in Gasselte dates from the 1990s and the problem is also present there.

Education for students at De Dobbe regularly takes place outside the four walls of the classrooms. Children work in groups on projects more than before or are taught separately by another part of the class. That is not always possible in the same room as their classmates, but there is really no decent alternative, so the school has to improvise.

Toddlers are therefore sometimes taught in the teacher’s room or sit with their teacher on a rug in the hallway. In the adjacent village house De Trefkoel, space has also been made for a classroom. Nice, but that means that children and teachers always have to drag the teaching material through half the school. So far from ideal.

According to director Esschendal, the emergency buildings that the municipality is going to install are more than welcome, but he would prefer a permanent solution. “We want to make the corridors a few meters wider, so that there will at least be more space there. In the longer term, we want to build a completely new classroom in the village hall.”