The ‘Internationale Schakelklas’ (ISK) is a course for newcomers between 12 and 18 years old. Pupils who come from abroad and do not yet have a sufficient command of the Dutch language, learn so much, during a stay that varies from 1 to 3 years, that they can go to secondary education. The basic program in the intake phase mainly consists of Dutch, English, arithmetic / mathematics, sports, art and culture and digital skills. In the middle phase, subjects such as Humanities ,Physics and Chemistry are added. In the outflow phase, the subjects that are taught at the secondary school are offered as much as possible for each individual pupil. Preferably, the pupil goes to secondary school in phases.

The ISK offers a calm and challenging pedagogical climate in which the newcomer is stimulated to develop optimally – with all his capacities and talents – into a promising and valuable participant in our society.
In ISK education, the Dutch language is central, in addition to learning knowledge and skills, but certainly also values and behavior.
ISK education brings students into contact with core values of Dutch society. It prepares students for a place in that society. A place that offers freedom and demands responsibility.
The ISK falls under the management of OVO and is a division of the Saenredam.
Since the 2020-2021 school year, the ISK has been located in a separate wing (with its own entrance and exit) of the Trias in Krommenie, Saendelverlaan 1A.


The ISK prepares 12 to 18-year-old newcomers in a calm and challenging environment, with language and tools, for suitable regular further education and a good future in Dutch society.


For each pupil, the ISK establishes the link between previous education elsewhere and Dutch further education. To this end, ISK education has:

  • a challenging learning environment
  • individual progression profiles
  • communicative, interactive and cooperative working methods
  • coherent programs at different levels

Interacting with each other

At the ISK Zaanstreek we find it important that everyone interacts in a pleasant way. We want students to have a good time, feel safe and dare to ask questions to teachers, the concierge or the principal. However, we also believe that students should learn to be at school and in class on time, observe school rules and that students take their classmates and classmates into account. Good relationships at the ISK-Zaanstreek means: working together, making good agreements and keeping them. We are a public school where everyone is welcome, regardless of origin and religion. There are a total of 20 employees for 150 students.


The first-line support: mentors
The mentor is the linchpin in the primary process and provides basic support. The mentor monitors the student’s learning progress and well-being. This is first line support. In the structural meetings between the mentor, department leader and support and guidance coordinator (COB) it is checked whether this guidance is adequate. It is discussed here whether second-line support is needed.

Second-line support: specialist at school (COB)
The specialist at school is the COB (support and guidance coordinator) who coordinates the support. When first-line support by the mentor is not sufficient, the COB and the mentor draw up an action plan, which is then evaluated. The COB has discussions with the student and parents together with the mentor. The COB has coordination meetings with the manager and external assistance for advice on how to act for the pupil at school.

Third-line support: external specialists
Sometimes more support is needed than can be offered at the ISK. The COB advises, together with the department manager, on external assistance. The pupil and parents are provided a referral and register with external care, which is third-line support.

Preventive and basic support interventions

The mentors work with a transfer form, which follows the development of the student. The mentor discusses the flow-through form with the student and parents / caretakers at least 3 times a year. Signals are indicated here in a timely manner and a plan is drawn up by the mentor with the pupil and parents / caretakers that clearly shows who takes action on what.
There are teachers with a specialization in language problems not related to NT2 such as TOS and dyslexia.

Placement of ISK students and follow-up steps in terms of content and organization

Upon registration, an intake interview with the new student is conducted by the manager. During this conversation, as much relevant information as possible about the new student is collected. Afterwards a student is placed in the intake class. When tests have been conducted, observations have taken place, the language learnability has been researched and language proficiency has developed, the student is ready to continue go to the next class. You can move on to the next group at any time in the school year. The mentor takes care of the transfer to the parents and the new mentor.

Switching to regular education

The ISK manager contacts the department manager of the host schools
and discusses the placement proposal. The mentor of the student to be switched provides a good transfer to the mentor of the secondary school. A warm transfer also takes place where the ISK’s mentor and the new mentor together shape and implement the aftercare. The COB is consulted when third-line support is available.


If the pupils have switched to regular education, the ISK remains involved. The student is followed for at least 2 years. The relevant aftercare coordinator maintains contact with the host school to enable a “soft landing”. This is to make the transition to the regular education run smoothly. Agreements are made about this with the schools.

Non-verbal intelligence test

In the first year in the Netherlands, many students of the ISK receive the WNV (Wechsler Non Verbal) or the Raven administered by the psychologist / remedial educationalist of the Saenstroom service center. The outcome provides a picture of the cognitive possibilities and indicates a direction for placement in the correct ISK group.


The TOA (Toolkit Education and Labor Market) is a student tracking system that monitors student performance. The TOA language learnability test predicts the time it takes for the student to attain the desired language level for further education. Other TOA tests will be added in the course of the year as an instrument to follow the language learning process so that tailor-made and differentiated language levels can be worked.


The students at the ISK are seen by a youth doctor and a youth nurse from the GGD when permission has been given by the pupil and parents / guardians. Information becomes shared with the COB and the manager. The COB registers this information in accordance with the AVG in Magister. If necessary, there will be consultation about the help to be deployed by external parties.

Preconditions of education

The ISK uses the medical protocol of OVO-Zaanstad and acts accordingly if this is within the possibilities of the school. The ISK does not allow staff to perform medical or caregiver actions and does not provide medication.

The ISK does not provide education to students who are sitting at home or who are ill for a long time. Similarly, The ISK does not provide education to students who are in day treatment.