Secondary education

Full-time secondary education is provided for young people from 12 to 18 years. There are six grades in secondary education. Certain study programmes include a seventh grade:

  • BSO (vocational education) includes this seventh specialisation grade;
  • KSO (arts education) and TSO (technical education) include the Se-n-Se (secondary after secondary) seventh grade;
  • ASO (general secondary education) includes a preparatory year for HO (higher education)

There are over 40 Dutch-speaking secondary education schools in Brussels.


    Structure of secondary education

    If your child has a certificate of elementary education, they start their secondary education in 1st grade A; otherwise, they start in 1st grade B. In the 1st and 2nd grades, your child will receive a broad basic education in a wide variety of subjects. Your child can also choose from an optional component that may differ significantly from school to school.

    From the second stage (3rd and 4th grade), your child must choose a study programme. Choose a ‘transitional route’ if your child wants to study further later on, a ‘labour-market-oriented route’ if they want to start work after completing secondary school, or a route that offers a combination of the two (dual purpose), enabling them to study further or to work.

    Forms of education and ultimate aims

    Find out more about the ultimate aims in the second and third stages of secondary education and the forms of education (ASO, BSO, KSO and TSO) in the Scholengids (schools guide) or on

    School for teens

    A school for teens brings together pupils in the third stage of primary school (5th and 6th grade) and the first stage of secondary school (1A and 2A). The first school for teens began in Brussels on 1 September 2018.

    Diploma of secondary education

    Students who successfully complete the 6th grade of ASO, KSO or TSO or the 7th grade of BSO receive a diploma of secondary education. This is also possible within the ‘Learning and Working’ system under certain conditions. With this certificate, students can go on to study in higher education.


      Modernisation as from September 2019

      The modernisation of Dutch-speaking secondary education began on 1 September 2019. The courses on offer in secondary education will gradually start to look different over the coming years.
      For more information about the modernisation, go to:

      The reform of secondary education for the first year of the second stage began on 1 September 2021. The schools are introducing many new study programmes. 

      The modernisation will continue in the second and third stages over the coming years. Not all the study programmes that are currently available will still be offered in the future. So be sure to ask secondary schools about their future provision.

      Looking for a school or study programme

      Also of interest

      Registering in a Dutch-speaking secondary school
      Inschrijven in Brussel - Secundair Onderwijs

      Registering in a Dutch-speaking secondary school

      You will find full details on how and when to register your child on the website 'Inschrijven in Brussel' [Registering in a Dutch-speaking school in Brussels].
      Onderwijs Vlaanderen (Education Flanders)

      Onderwijs Vlaanderen (Education Flanders)

      The Dutch-speaking schools in Brussels fall under Onderwijs Vlaanderen. See the general guidelines here.
      Schools for teens

      Schools for teens

      A school for teens brings together pupils in the third stage of primary school (5th and 6th grade) and the first stage of secondary school (1A and 2A).
      Scholengids (schools guide)

      Scholengids (schools guide)

      The Scholengids provides contact details for all the Dutch-speaking schools in Brussels, together with the courses available at the secondary schools for the 2020-2021 school year.
      Onderwijskiezer (education selector)

      Onderwijskiezer (education selector)

      Onderwijskiezer provides neutral information across the education network on the whole of the education landscape in Flanders and Brussels.