A new school opens in Surrey next week, the third new school this school year in B.C.’s fastest-growing community, providing much needed classrooms for more than 600 students.
“This is excellent news for Surrey students and families that another new school is opening this year, reducing the number of portables needed in the district and providing another dynamic, 21st-century learning environment in the community,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education. “After years of underinvestment by the previous government, Surrey families are starting to see concrete results of our work to give their children a better place to learn.”
The ministry provided $23.8 million for the new Maddaugh Elementary, while the Surrey School District contributed $7.4 million toward the cost of the new school. Two other new Surrey schools, Edgewood and Douglas elementary, have opened since September.
To further benefit students with improved learning environments, new classroom additions have already opened this year at the Frost Road and Coyote Creek elementary schools. A school expansion at Sullivan Elementary is scheduled to open in June.
This means over 2,300 new student seats will have opened in Surrey schools in 2020-21, eliminating the need for nearly 100 portables.
“Families in Clayton North have been waiting a long time for a new school to open up in their community, and we are ecstatic for it to finally become a reality for children in the neighbourhood,” said Mike Starchuk, MLA for Surrey-Cloverdale. “Our government has stepped up to invest more funding to ensure students can benefit from the new Maddaugh Elementary school as soon as possible.”
More than $410 million has been invested in school expansions, seismic upgrades and land purchases for future schools in the last four years, helping create nearly 8,900 new student seats by 2024.
Another six expansion projects are currently supported by the Province and are expected to bring about 2,400 more new seats to the community once they are approved.
“The Clayton area is one the fastest-growing communities in our school district," said Laurie Larsen, chair, Surrey Board of Education. “Maddaugh Elementary is a much-needed addition to our school district that will ease capacity in neighbouring schools and provide a modern learning environment for our students.”
In addition to adding more classroom space to the district, the new Maddaugh Elementary includes space for before- and after-school child care programming, giving parents a more convenient way to have their children cared for outside of school hours.
“The new child care spaces at Maddaugh Elementary mean dozens of Lower Mainland families will benefit from the fastest creation of child care spaces in our province’s history,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “Offering child care on school grounds saves parents time with pickups and drop-offs, but more importantly, it helps provide kids with a smoother transition into the K-12 system.”
Even though the overall number of Surrey students continues to grow throughout the district, class sizes have been getting smaller every year since 2016-17. For example, in 2016-17 the average class size for grade 4 and 5 students was 27.2 children. In 2020-21, it is 23.7 students.
Building new and expanded schools in fast-growing communities like Surrey is a priority for the Government of B.C., as progress continues to reduce the need for portables as a solution to growth.
Since September 2017, the Province has announced more than $2.2 billion for school expansions, seismic upgrades and replacements, and land purchases for future schools. This includes almost $760 million to create 13,445 new student spaces in communities throughout B.C.
Bobbi Terrell, parent –
“Our neighbourhood is growing so quickly, and we are grateful that a new school has opened to support our young people. We as a family appreciate how inclusive Maddaugh has been, leading up to the move to the school there is a sense of community among the students, staff and parents. The community creates a sense of inclusion that isn't just among the people. The new school provides areas and elements that can support all levels of diversity, creating space for students who need different levels of accessibility. Both the indoor and outdoor classrooms allow for teachers to be creative in their curriculum and recognize that school isn't confined to a single space. The collaboration areas will allow students and classes to learn and explore together. Our child is so excited to explore the new school and experience inclusive, collaborative and innovative learning opportunities.”
Amanda Barton, parent –
“We are super excited to have a school close to our home within walking distance. The new school is beautiful, and our sons are excited because they will no longer be in portables and have their classrooms inside the school.”
For more information about class sizes getting smaller in Surrey:
A backgrounder follows.