PROVINCE MOVING FORWARD ON KINDERGARTEN TO GRADE 3 CLASS SIZE INITIATIVE
– – – Smaller Classes Will Provide Students with Quality Education to Help Them Succeed: Allan
The Manitoba government is moving forward on its commitment to parents to reduce the size of kindergarten to Grade 3 classes, Education Minister Nancy Allan announced today.
“Now, more than ever, success in life depends on having access to quality education early in life. Through this initiative, we are building a solid foundation for future success for our children,” said Allan. “We all know that smaller class sizes and investments in teaching contribute significantly to improving student achievement, as students do better when they receive more one-on-one time with their teacher.”
By September 2017, school divisions in Manitoba will be required to cap their kindergarten to Grade 3 classrooms at 20 students. While 10 per cent of classrooms per division will be allowed the flexibility to go beyond the cap of 20 students, no classes will be permitted to have more than 23 students in a kindergarten to Grade 3 classroom.
Where Grade 3 students are combined with students in higher grades, those classrooms will be subject to a 23-student class size cap, the minister said. School divisions will also be required to report class sizes to parents and the public as the initiative progresses.
School divisions are now eligible for funding based on their kindergarten to Grade 3 enrolment, Allan said. In applying for funding, school divisions must indicate how they would use that funding as part of the smaller class size initiative.
In the 2012-13 school year, funding can be used to hire additional teachers to reduce class sizes, provide professional development directly related to smaller class sizes or plan work directly related to achieving smaller class sizes where possible.
The minister noted the kindergarten to Grade 3 class size initiative complements other early learning and child-care initiatives including legislation which would require early learning or child-care facilities to be included in all new schools and major renovation projects. School divisions cannot displace school child-care facilities in their planning of how to achieve the class size caps.
Allan also said the government worked with an oversight committee, which included members from the Manitoba Teachers’ Society, Manitoba Association of Parent Councils, Manitoba School Boards Association, Manitoba Association of School Superintendents and Manitoba Association of School Business Officials, to develop the definition of Manitoba’s class size cap and provide recommendations for implementation.
“Parents have been well-represented in discussions about class sizes, as well as the recently introduced provincial report cards,” said Judith Cameron, president of the Manitoba Association of Parent Councils. “I feel confident this move will create a better learning environment for younger students.”