Our Concerns - Secondary Class Size Averages
This spring the Ministry of Education has announced new government directions for school boards to expand secondary class size averages over four years.
As we work to meet that direction, we want to acknowledge with great thanks the work of our school administrators and staff for their extensive work and creative planning in providing our students with the broadest programming opportunities possible for next year.
We continue our efforts to ensure students receive the courses they need, but the reality with these changes is that students will ultimately have less flexibility and less choice.
This new provincial mandate has resulted in approximately 300 fewer classes available for our students next year. As we have expressed before, this speaks to our long-term concern with the increased class average direction – a significant loss of educational programming for our students.
The new expectations for student class size averages places at serious risk a school’s ability to offer specialized courses in skilled trades and technology, as well as adversely affecting other specialized courses, including those across the Arts and other disciplines, which are life-changing in their ability to keep students engaged in school.
Student course planning and learning challenges associated with this change, including:
- Student timetables will be less flexible.
- More courses may have to be offered in alternating years.
- There is a significant impact on trade-related courses that require lower enrolment and, therefore, these courses will be less available for, and accessible to, students.
- Small and rural secondary schools will continue to experience the greatest impact of reduced options for students.
- Multi-grade/multi-level classes will be the increasing reality for many schools. This potentially results in as many as three different grade levels (Grade 9, 10 and 11), or combined programming streams (Academic, Applied and/or Locally Developed) within the same classroom.
- Larger classes will include a wider range of abilities, with the teacher required to meet the needs of all students, including a greater number of students who require specific accommodations and modifications.
A submission from Jennifer Leclerc, Director of Education, as part of the government’s consultation on this issue, and further information on cancelled or combined courses is available below: