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Updated March 2019

Public Schools, Class Sizes, and Composition

Over the past two decades, the number of public schools in British Columbia has dropped by over 200.

Between 2000–01 and 2017–18, the number of elementary schools fell by 213, while secondary schools rose by only 43. The total number of other types of schools declined by 36.

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Source: Ministry of Education. (2019). Headcount
and School Count by Grade Range.

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Source: Ministry of Education. (2019). Headcount
and School Count by Grade Range.

Thanks to restoration of collective agreement languge, class sizes decreased in all grades after 2016–17. However, in 2018–19 class sizes are once again increasing.2

As a result of increased funding due to the Supreme Court of Canada decision to restore teacher bargaining rights and class size languages, class sizes fell in all grades in 2016–17 and 2017–18. However, due to increase in student enrolment, class sizes increased again in 2018–19. More staffing is needed to ensure that class sizes remain within restored collective agreement requirements.

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Source: Ministry of Education. (2019). BC Schools - Class Size.
Values are rounded to the nearest tenth.

The number of classes with over 30 students decreased significantly thanks to Bill 22 and restoration of collective agreement language in 2016.

Bill 22, introduced in July 1, 2012, provides compensation to teachers of classes that exceed 30 students in Grades 4 to 12.3 Previously, there were approximately 3,300 classes with more than 30 students. After the bill’s introduction, that number plummeted, and further decreased after the BCTF’s Supreme Court of Canada victory. There were 812 classes with more than 30 students in 2018–19.4

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Source: Ministry of Education. (2019). BC Schools - Class Size.

The number of classes with four or more students with special needs designations has continued to increase.

The number of classes with four or more students with Individual Education Plans (IEP). in BC public schools increased by 83%. In 2006–07, less than 14% of classrooms had four or more children with special needs. In 2017–18, close to one in four did.5

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Source: Ministry of Education. (2019). Class size by Composition.



1 Ministry of Education. (2019).Headcount and School Count by Grade Range.

2 Ministry of Education. (2019). BC Schools - Class Size.

3 BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils. Bill 22: The Education Improvement Act Information Sheet.

4 Ministry of Education. (2019). BC Schools - Class Size.

5 Ministry of Education. (2019). Class size by Composition.

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