Secondary education

Full-time secondary education ('voltijds secundair onderwijs' or 'secundair onderwijs') caters for youngsters between the ages of 12 and 18 years. Secondary education comprises 6 grades (3 stages of 2 grades each). In Brussels, there are more then 40 Dutch-language schools offering secondary education.
Structuur secundair onderwijs

The structure of secondary education

In the first stage, secondary education offers a broad core curriculum which introduces your child to many different subjects. Your child will start in ‘1ste graad A’ (1st grade A) before progressing on to the second stage in general secondary education (ASO), artistic secondary education (KSO) or technical secondary education (TSO). Does your child have a particular interest in vocational secondary education (beroepssecundair onderwijs - BSO)? If so, we would recommend that you get him or her to start in ‘1ste graad B’ (1st grade B).

Starting the second stage (3rd and 4th grade), your child will have to choose a course of study within one of the four branches of education, i.e. ASO, BSO, KSO and TSO. Another option is ‘dual learning’ in a ‘Centrum voor Leren en Werken’ (centre for part-time education), an apprenticeship (leertijd) or through full-time education (TSO, BSO).

Diploma of secondary education

Youngsters who successfully complete the 6th grade ASO, KSO, TSO or 7th grade BSO obtain their diploma of secondary education. Depending on the course of study and subject to a number of conditions, youngsters who opt for dual learning can also obtain their diploma of secondary education. A diploma of secondary education is the gateway to higher education.


In September 2018, the first Tienerschool will open its doors in Anderlecht. Find out more about the Tienerschool on

Finding a school or course of study