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Bilingual Education - Tweetalig Onderwijs
Broaden your horizons with our:                                                                             
intellectually challenging, culturally rich and internationally orientated bilingual education programme at the Pontes Lyceum, Goes.

The Pontes Lyceum in Goes is a secondary school with 1500 pupils between the ages of twelve and eighteen. The school offers a broad range of educational programmes and curricula for a broad range of pupils. One of these programmes is bilingual education.

Bilingual education
This school offers an English bilingual educational programme the first three years of secondary education (junior school, onderbouw) and an International Baccalaureate English A2 programme the second three years of secondary education (senior school, bovenbouw). In the junior school pupils take fifty percent of their lessons through the medium of the English language. Beyond this the pupils take part in many culturally enriching and internationally focussed extra curricular activities in English, including a tea party, a “Week of the News” and a “”Day of the Languages”. On top of this each class gets to go to England, or another country that focusses on English language, on an educational trip or an exchange for one week in the year.

Why bilingual education?
The theory behind bilingual education is based on two discoveries made in the field of second language acquisition. The first is that the best way to learn a second language is in the same way that we learned our first language, i.e. through being exposed to it alot. The second discovery is that children under the age of 18 have an ability to spontaneously deduce and apply the grammatical rules of any language to which they are exposed. This ability tends to be lost as you reach adulthood, while the younger you are the more developed it is. School age represents a window of opportunity. It would be a pity to miss it.

Why English?
Why English? Through an accident of history English has become the international language. This means for the students who have English “under their belt” many more opportunities are available to them than would otherwise be the case. Not only jobwise but also opportunities to broaden their horizons and to take a more global perspective on life.

International perspectives, European and international orientation

This international aspect is an important integral part of the bilingual programme. Pupils not only have the ability to further acquaint themselves with the English speaking cultures but also with those many and important upcoming cultures such as the Indian, Chinese and East European for whom English is the language of international communication. Shortly there will be more English speakers in China than in any other country, whilst here in The Netherlands, most university courses are given in English. We also focus on European history and issues. The subject matter of many of our lessons has international relevance, we are frequently visited in the class by native English guest-speakers and go on excursions to broaden our horizons. We develop contacts with schools from other countries and enjoy a good relationship with the Roosevelt Academy in Middelburg which is a branch of the University of Utrecht.

Our experience
Our school has ten years of experience in giving bilingual education and is one of only 49 fully certified bilingual schools in the Netherlands, certified by “Het Europese Platform” whose job it is to coordinate, encourage, inspect and certify bilingual schools. Our staff have all passed their Cambridge exam and have been trained to work in a Content and Language Integrated Learning setting. We are supported by a native speaker. The progress of our pupils is measured against the Common European Framework of Reference. This means that their developement from year to year can be tested against an internationally recognised standard. Our junior pupils culminate their education with us by taking the Cambridge First Certificate exam at the end of the third year. This is an internationally recognised qualification and a worthy adornment for any C.V.

International baccalaureate
After the third year the pupils can choose to go on with bilingual education in the senior school and choose English A2 as a subject of the International Baccalaureate programme, (I.B.) This also culminates in an internationally recognised qualification. Whilst the senior pupils revert back to having most of their subjects in Dutch, to be able to take part in the Dutch national exams, they will be following an extra intensive English course.

The bilingual programme is presently designed for VWO standard pupils, those pupils who have scored highest in the intelligence and general knowledge test that they have to take in their last year at primary school, (the cito test)) and is meant for those children who relish a challenge. In order to be accepted we require that the pupils have a cito score of 545 or higher and that, more importantly, they feel intrinsically motivated to participate. We value enthusiasm. Some extra costs are involved. The rules for admission are guidelines and not set in stone and each case is judged according to its own merits. All pupils are taken on conditionally and are reassessed at the first Christmas. This allows pupils who may not feel comfortable the chance to switch back to the regular educational programme. The bi-lingual programme can be combined with either the Technasium or the Gymnasium programmes.

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