Growth in total number of classes
- There were 76,815 classes in B.C. public schools this school year – 2.4% more than the year before and 14% more than there were in 2015-16.
- For two years in a row, B.C. students have attended some of the smallest class sizes in over a decade, with more educators and other supports in classes.
- There are now 40% fewer classes with more than 30 students than just three years ago.
- The average class sizes this school year were:
- 18 in kindergarten
- 19.9 in grades 1-3
- 23.9 in grades 4-7
- 22.1 in grades 8-12
- The majority of the classes with more than 30 students are classes such as choir, drama and physical education.
- Average kindergarten and grades 1-3 class sizes are down 9% since 2015-16.
- Class sizes are down 8% for grades 4-7 and 6% for grades 8-12 since 2015-16.
Growth in education funding and in-class supports
- Total education funding is $6.6 billion – a $1 billion increase over 2016-17.
- Overall, education funding has risen by 17.1% since 2016-17, while enrolment has grown by 3.2%.
- Government has invested over $400 million annually for direct services for kids. This includes almost 4,000 new teaching positions, 500 special education teachers and 190 more teacher psychologists and counsellors.
- There are about 7,400 (37%) more classes with an education assistant (EA) than there were 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 were 34,000 full-time teaching positions – an increase of 12.5% over 2015-16.
- Students in special needs categories made up 11.4% 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 $570.9 million to support students with special needs, a $106.3-million (23%) increase over the past two years.
- 48% of all K-12 classes included at least one English language learner (ELL) this school year, compared to 45% last school year.
- Funding to support ELLs has increased to $97.8 million, a 16% increase over the past two years.
- 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, 81% of all K-12 classes included 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 (55% in 2018-19 compared to 56% in 2017-18 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 (26% in 2018-19 compared to 23% in 2017-18 and 25% in 2016-17).
- Only 5% of all classes include seven or more students with a designated special need, unchanged from 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 that are specifically catered 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. are showing steady improvements. Completion rates were 75.5% last school year, up from 63.5% ten years ago.
- 54% of students with special needs make the transition to post-secondary two or fewer years after completing Grade 12, compared to 66% in the overall student population.
See class composition data here: https://catalogue.data.gov.bc.ca/dataset/class-size-by-composition
See class size data here: https://catalogue.data.gov.bc.ca/dataset/bc-schools-class-size