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Services for students: 2019-20 school year

Growth in total number of classes

  • There are 77,015 classes in B.C. public schools this school year – 0.26% more than the year before and 14.7% more than there were in 2015-16.
  • For three years in a row, B.C. students have had some of the smallest class sizes in over a decade, as well as more educators and other supports in classes.
  • There are now 34% fewer classes with more than 30 students than four years ago.
  • During the 2019-20 school year, the average class sizes were:
    • 18 in kindergarten;
    • 19.5 in grades 1 to 3;
    • 23.3 in grades 4 to 7; and
    • 22.4 in grades 8 to 12.
  • The majority of classes with more than 30 students are classes such as choir, drama and physical education.
  • Since 2015-16, average class sizes are down 9% for kindergarten and 11% for grades 1 to 3.
  • Since 2015-16, class sizes are down 10% for grades 4 to 7 and 4% for grades 8 to 12.

Growth in education funding and in-class supports

  • Total education funding for the 2019-20 school year is $6.7 billion.
  • Over three years, Budget 2020 invests nearly $2.2 billion more for B.C.’s schools than Budget 2017.
  • Overall, education funding has risen by 19.4% since 2016-17, while enrolment has grown by 3.4%.
  • Government has invested over $400 million annually for direct services for kids.
    • This includes more than 4,200 new teaching positions, 700 special education teachers and 190 more teacher psychologists and counsellors.
  • There are about 9,082 (46%) more classes with an education assistant (EA) than in 2015-16.
    • EAs provide direct support to students and teachers in class, often providing one-on-one support for students with special needs.
  • This school year, there are more than 35,000 full-time teaching positions – an increase of 19% over 2015-16.
  • Students in special needs categories make up 11.8% of the total student population this school year – 0.4% higher than the year before.
  • Education funding has increased along with this growth. Next school year, school districts will receive an estimated $627.4 million to support students with special needs, a $162.8-million (35%) increase since 2016-17.
  • With an additional $133.4 million in operating funding flowing to public schools in 2020-21, and $151.1 million to fund the recently signed collective agreement with teachers, the ministry is creating more equity and stability in the system to support students.
  • 47% of all K-12 classes included at least one English language learner (ELL) this school year, compared to 48% last school year.
  • Funding to support ELLs is increasing to an estimated $104.1 million next year, a 24% increase compared to 2016-17.
  • Government provided $1.2 million to complete an additional 438 assessments of children with autism last year, to ensure they could access the services they need in school.

Inclusion and special education

  • The Ministry of Education focuses on ensuring all students have an equitable and inclusive learning environment.
  • This school year, 82% of all K-12 classes include at least one student with a designated special need.
  • The majority of K-12 classes include between one and three students with a designated special need maintained from last school year (54% in 2019-20 compared to 55% in 2019-20 and 52% in 2016-17).
  • The percentage of K-12 classes that include between four and seven students with a designated special need has been consistent over the past several school years (28% in 2019-20 compared to 23% in 2017-18 and 25% in 2016-17).
  • Only 7% of all classes include seven or more students with a designated special need, unchanged from the last school year and a 1% decrease from 2016-17. The majority of these classes are in grades 5 to 12, and most are special education or applied learning skills classes specifically catering to students with diverse needs.
  • While the proportion of students with special needs is consistent over the past two years, it has increased slightly over the past 20 years.
    • These increases are a result of more students being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities and serious mental illness. An increase in diagnosis means more students are receiving extra support in the classroom.
    • Every student who receives a diagnosis has an individual education plan (IEP) developed in collaboration with teachers, school staff, parents and the student.
    • IEPs set unique educational goals for students, ensuring increased services and supports are in place to help them reach those goals.

Momentum continues on improved student outcomes

  • Outcomes for students with special needs in B.C. show steady improvements.
    • Completion rates were 72.4% last school year, up from 45.6% 10 years ago.
  • 55% of students with special needs make the transition to post-secondary in two or fewer years after completing Grade 12, compared to 66% in the overall student population.
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