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location_on Utrecht, Netherlands

Want to enhance teacher collaboration in your school?

A collaborative approach to teaching that improves the dynamic of the classroom and maximizes expertise of individual staff members.

HundrED 2018


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2018

Web presence






Target group
September 2017
Although you might have an old building with very thick walls there are opportunities to arrange your learning organisation in a completely new way!

About the innovation

What is Slimfit?

Traditional classrooms follow a formula of one teacher, a set number of students, uniform learning materials, walls and closed doors. Primary education tends to have one teacher, responsible for one class for a full year, being broadly competent across the curriculum rather than specialising in a chosen subject. With every teacher in the school working in this way, there can be lack of collaboration, duplicated efforts and wasted talent. In contrast, encouraging teachers to share the workload by teaching collaboratively and specialising could boost job satisfaction, expertise and learning opportunities for children.

Slimfit is a model for school development focusing on collaborative teaching. Traditional classrooms are replaced with a new model that seeks to organize learners, utilize employees and use the school building in the most effective way possible to lead to a better and more exciting education at no extra cost.

Learning is reorganized so that instead of small, one teacher classrooms it takes place in smaller or larger groups and with differing staff ratios according to the requirements for that lesson. Within this system teachers can establish small instructional groups of 10 - 15 learners. This aims to provide more attention to each individual in the group, allowing a stronger relationship and more tailored learning.  

Larger groups of 70-90 students can be taught collaboratively between teachers with different specialisms to best utilize teacher knowledge, using teaching assistants flexibly to provide more support. This flexible approach to learning can help to meet the requirements of every child in the classroom including those with special needs. A dedicated quiet room can also be used by children who benefit from silent study.

This approach makes use of expertise of in house specialists in the form of teachers and teaching assistants. Outside specialists also provide support, including trainees, volunteers and field specialists. Subjects like dance and drama are always taught by subject specialists to ensure the students receive enthusiastic and high quality learning opportunities. This can increase the quality of education, promote lifelong learning for staff and reduce individual work pressure.

The organization adopts a holistic approach to learning and wellbeing. Every learner is partnered with a mentor who becomes responsible for their learning progress throughout the school. Children begin and end the day in their mentor groups to discuss and evaluate learning opportunities that day. Every 6 weeks coaching sessions are held to fine tune the goals of the individual, monitor their learning and ensure their wellbeing.

Whilst Slimfit began in 2010 it has recently gained a lot of attention due to a debate opening up called 'Operation Education' in the Netherlands. This debate is centred on discussing new ways to approach education and this model is being discussed through media and politics as a new model for primary education. 

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability


Slimfit is a model for school development focusing on collaborative teaching. Traditional classrooms are replaced with a new model that seeks to organize learners, utilize employees and use the school building in the most effective way possible to lead to a better and more exciting education at no extra cost.


It has been reported that teachers using this model are more enthusiastic. They get less working stress because they are dividing the attention needed for each child and working in a team. Teachers also get out of the isolation which many experience when they are working in a classroom alone.


Slimfit is currently being used in nearly 200 schools throughout Holland.

Implementation steps

Think about the layers of school
If you have made a choice as a school to develop your model it's good to think about a number of aspects education.

This aspects can be:

  • General vision and organization: What vision does the team want? What does the organization currently look like during the day? How many overlaps are there between the different groups?


  • Staff: What roles do staff have during the day? To what extent are teaching assistants, class assistants and other staff employed?


  • Learning environment: How rich is the learning environment? In what way do you want to set up the learning environment?


  • Learning content: How are the lessons / instructions given? What room is there for students to have their own contribution? How well does this work?


  • ICT: How is ICT used in education? To what extent are laptops and tablets used? What is your vision of ICT in education?


  • Following Students: How are students following their development? How is their development recorded?


  • Differentiation: To what extent is it differentiated? What possibilities are there to give differentiation to group-crossing?


  • Professional Learning Community / Leadership: To what extent is there a professional culture? How do you learn from each other? What kind of leadership do you find in the school?


  • School, parents & society: What role do parents have in school? To what extent is there cooperation with external parties?
Implementation Routes
There are 9 routes a school could follow when restructuring learning using the Slimfit model guidance.

Check out the different routes here which explain different ways of implementing the ideas discussed in step 1.



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