The Ontario government says it is introducing modest changes to class size at the elementary level while student numbers will remain “effectively the same as last year” for the coming school year.
Despite a pledge to increase the number of students as early as this year, Education Minister Stephen Lecce said there will be no changes to class sizes for students in kindergarten to Grade 3 while one additional student will be added per class in Grades 4 to 8.
High school class sizes will average 22.5 students for the 2019-20 school year – which is about the same as last year – but that number is set to grow to 28 over the next four years.
The announcement comes as talks on a new contract with high school teachers are set to begin. While contracts are set to expire on Aug. 31, the head of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation says he doesn’t expect substantive to begin until mid-to-late September.
“I truly believe this reflects our commitment to cooperate with and to listen to our education sector, partners and to parents,” he explained.
“As we move forward with a new year, I look forward to continuing discussions about class sizes in good faith with our education labour partners at the bargaining table as we build on our world class education system.”
In answering reporters questions on Thursday, Lecce said there had been “misinformation” spread about class sizes possibly ballooning to as many as 40 to 50 students.
“Despite this misinformation students this fall will still be in smaller class sizes and still enjoy a variety of courses,” he said.
“I believe the changes we announced today will ensure we put our students first and enhance student achievement by investing in and defending Ontario’s publicly funded education system.”
However, when it comes to what will happen in future school years, Lecce said those decisions will be discussed at the negotiation table.
He indicated that if teachers were willing to give up some savings in contract talks then class sizes would not have to increase.
Story by 680 NEWS