In 2009 Eric van ’t Zelf became director of one of the worst schools in Rotterdam. A school with only 34 new applicants, awful test scores, exhausted teachers and rampant criminality.

Van ’t Zelfde took a different approach. No less than 56 teachers left, of whom 34 in his first year as director. He introduced a brilliantly simple behavioral rule: ‘behave’. Against the law he removed a number of pupils and had to justify himself before the courts.

His unorthodox aproach brought trouble: threatening situations and body guards. But the results were real: after a few years the school started to score at, or above, the national average.

In five years from the worst school in the Netherlands to one of the best: who is the man who, together with his team, made this happen?

In Superschool Eric van ’t Zelfde tells the story of his life and his school and the people who played an important role in it. But his success did not come cheap; it’s a price that teachers pay, but which the Netherlands and its political establishment prefer to ignore. Superschool is a must for everyone who is involved with eduction, either as parent, teacher, policy maker or other interested party.

Original title:

Zelfde - Superschool

October 2015
200 pages
10,000 copies sold

Eric van ’t Zelfde (1972) was a teacher in The Hague, Scheveningen and Gorinchem, before 2009 when he became director of the Hugo the Groot school in Rotterdam.