Individually tailored education at
Belgium’s only private boarding school
TEXT: STIAN SANGVIG | PHOTO © LUC DE CONINCK
“Our objective is for every student to set his or her own goals from an early age,” says director Koen Ringoot.
Leerwijzer Private School was formed by teaching staff in 1983 and is beautifully situated near Oostduinkerke on the coast of Flanders. Whilst Belgium has private schools offering an alternative to state education, Leerwijzer has a unique competitive advantage. It is the only boarding school in the country. “In order to educate our children academic skills going beyond the required state curriculum, we believe our Monday to Friday boarding school facilities provide our pupils with essential social skills,” Ringoot explains.
During its first ten years, Leerwijzer offered mainly primary education; but for the last 20 years it has also been teaching students up to the age of 18. The school highly focuses on providing a solution for boys and girls who are suffering from loss of motivation in the regular educational system. In addition to graduating students in preparation for higher or professional education according to high Belgian state standards, its staff is specialised in concentration and learning disorders. Pupils with high potential are welcome; they can go faster through the curriculum, which is in Dutch. “As globalisation continues to gather pace in a world that appears smaller and smaller, we are also keen on preparing our students accordingly,” adds Ringoot.
Today Leerwijzer Private School is home to approximately 120 pupils across 20 classes and 40 teachers. This means there are six or seven pupils per class and one teacher for every three students. Close emphasis is placed on recognising the individual strengths and needs of each pupil, in order to get the best out of everyone. “In order to secure the highest motivation of each child, we believe we need to understand them and teach them how to set their own personal goals at an early age,” Ringoot continues.
As interest in Leerwijzer is spreading and elsewhere in the country they are already preparing for future growth. A new school is currently under construction near Brussels and, if all goes to plan, it is due to open in 2017. “We aim to add value to our country’s future by offering the best possible education to as many of our children as possible,” Ringoot concludes.
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