News

District adheres to provincial class size limits

Nanaimo school officials have kept all classes in the district within the legislated limit of 30 students or less except for those classes that require more students to be successful, such as band.

Deputy superintendent John Blain submitted this year’s class size report to trustees at Wednesday’s board meeting.

The report states that none of the 322 elementary school divisions include more than 30 students and just 14 of the 727 instructional blocks at the secondary level had more than 30 students.

The 14 oversize secondary classes include Planning 10 and music, dance and drama classes, where a larger grouping of students supports the needs of the program, reads the report.

In recent years, the district ran oversized classes at the secondary level in the interests of offering students as much program choice as possible.

For example, if only 20 students at a secondary school want to take Calculus 12, a principal could make up for the low enrolment by scheduling a few other classes with 31 or 32 students.

Last fall, one elementary class exceeded the limits and 95 secondary classes were over the size limit.

Earlier this fall, education officials anticipated that the new goal would mean some courses would not be available except through distance learning, especially at smaller secondary schools such as Cedar, John Barsby and Woodlands.

But Blain said there does not appear to be a significant increase in distance learning enrolment due to the goal of keeping classes at 30 students or less.

Jamie Brennan, school board chairman, said the push was on to keep classes at 30 or under when officials learned that another district was doing the same thing.

Also motivating the decision was new provincial legislation, which stipulates that extra compensation must be provided to teachers with oversized classes.

The district added 1.5 full-time equivalent teachers to make this goal possible.

Class size averages are now 19.5 for Kindergarten, 21.2 for Grades 1-3, 26.1 for Grades 4-7 and 25.5 for Grades 8-12.

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