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Lighthouse Special Education


The Lighthouse Foundation for Special Education was established in 1998 to serve those members of the international community in The Netherlands whose children have special educational needs. Lighthouse Special Education has been operational since September 2000.  

Children may be admitted to Lighthouse Special Education if 1) they have documented special educational needs and 2) their parents are internationally mobile or 3) if student will be disadvantaged by having to change to the Dutch educational system due to the change in language.The number of students will always depend on the policy of the mainstream international schools to accept children with special needs.

Close cooperation with the international mainstream schools has been established. In some cases Lighthouse students are accepted in these international mainstream schools with the special assistance of Lighthouse. The HSV has the policy that brothers and sisters of Lighthouse students are considered preferentially for admission to the international mainstream primary department.

Lighthouse Special Education offers high quality education to children with complex special educational needs, developmental delays or behavioural challenges. Our educational approach is based upon identifying the specific abilities and educational needs of each student and then designing educational goals on an individual basis.

Lighthouse Special Education works in cooperation with its associated therapists and in cooperation with local Dutch special schools and other community organisations.

Given the mobile nature of the international community, we strive to make the learning process flow as smoothly as possible by communicating with the former school and by assisting with the transition process to the next school. This is an essential part of our policy. As children gain academic and social skills and are ready to access mainstream education, efforts are made to support their return to less specialized educational environments. Lighthouse encourages integration into mainstream education, giving children with special needs the opportunity to be educated with their typical peers and to learn to be part of the wider HSV school community.

Lighthouse Special Education is an international department of the Institute for Individual Education (IVIO) - a Dutch school for Primary Special Education (SBO). 

IVIO and Lighthouse Special Education are part of the Foundation of the Haagsche Schoolvereeniging (HSV).

Holidays, study days and early closures are organised in line with the other HSV schools.



Lighthouse has three classes: an Early Intervention group, Class 1 and Class 2.

  • The Early Intervention group is for students aged 2.5 to 5 years old and is situated within the Three Little Ships preschool. 

  • Class 1 is for students aged 5 to 8 years old. 

  • Class 2 is for students aged 8 to 13 years old. 

Young children up to 5 years of age with developmental delays or who are vulnerable to later special educational needs, may qualify to join the Lighthouse Early Intervention Program. This program is carried out within a mainstream preschool group. A maximum of 16 children are in the group and generally there are 11 typically developing students and 5 students with special educational needs. There is a staff:student ratio of 3 staff:16 children. An individualised program for each child is devised that may be preventive or remedial in nature. In some cases the child may be admitted for an assessment or observation period of up to a year, and the focus may be on diagnosis. 

The students attending the Lighthouse Education school have complex needs. The curriculum emphasis is on developing academic skills. However many students first need to acquire communication skills, social skills and skills in regard to how to learn (being part of a group, working independently, following instructions and so on.) 

Where Lighthouse students are able to integrate into lessons in the International Department of the HSV, this is arranged in conjunction with the teachers of the International Department. 

Music and gym in the International Department are taught by specialist teachers, as is handicraft from Year 4 upwards.



The HSV’s joint mission is “Global Citizenship, Lifelong Learning!”     

The HSV strives to promote global citizenship and to develop in the students the skills that they will need for lifelong learning. Students in the Lighthouse Special Education generally require adaptations and modifications to the curriculum because of their own personal challenges. Nevertheless, they are valued members of the HSV student community and our vision is that they will also become global citizens and will continue to learn throughout their lives.




In order to track students’ progress, the staff discusses every child individually and the class as a whole on a regular basis with the Learning Support Coordinator (IBer = Intern Begeleider). 

An Individual Educational Plan (IEP) is designed for every student, with goals based on their specific educational and didactic needs. Twice a year the IEP is reviewed and new goals are set based on the student progress. 

The IEP is shared with parents in a review meeting.

In addition to the IEP, the teacher writes two weekly goals for the students, breaking the IEP goals into smaller steps and focussing on behaviour skills that need to be acquired.

A short annual report is written by the teacher about the student and given to the parents at the end of the Summer Term. This report contains a brief summary of subject matter covered during the year and progress made by the student. It should be seen as complementary to the IEP.



Parents are responsible for the education of their children. The school is a partner, with parents, in the education of students. This partnership succeeds when parents work with the school from the start of the Admissions process to the student’s last day in school. The Lighthouse and Three Little Ships Preschool presumes that parents are prepared to be partners in the school program. 

The Lighthouse counts on the parents for an active and positive attitude towards helping with their child’s assignments or homework.

During the year we organize a range of activities that parents are welcome to join. School staff may ask you to help with some of the following: class trips; the annual whole school trip; Sinterklaas (5th December); winter celebrations; summer party; sports day.


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The application process and an application form for Lighthouse Special Education can be found on the website: https://lighthousese.nl  

Parents are asked to submit relevant assessment reports (psychological, speech and language, physiotherapy and school) to assist the Director in determining whether the Lighthouse may be a suitable school for the child. 

Once the application form and assessment reports have been received, the parents will be invited for an introductory meeting with the Director and the Lighthouse Leader for Learning. At this meeting, parents are given a tour of the school and they also receive more information abParents may bout the school and the admissions process. 

A second meeting is generally arranged to meet the child, once initial discussions have taken place.

e asked to sign a statement that authorises Lighthouse staff to request reports from other organisations supporting the child (Centrum voor Autism, CJG, Integrale Vroeghulp, Kentalis etc). Sometimes assessments may be necessary and these can often be completed by the Lighthouse Assessment Team. Assessment fees are posted on the Lighthouse website.

Based on information from the parents, supporting documentation and the information from the visits, a decision is made as to whether Lighthouse Special Education is an appropriate school placement for the child.