More than 30 new front-line education positions will support the increasing needs of Prince Edward Island students.
The provincial government is investing an additional $1.4 million in the current school year for 10 new teachers, 19.5 Educational Assistants (EAs), and two Youth Service Workers.
The new positions include:
• five EAs and eight itinerant teachers, who will provide language, literacy and transition support to newcomer students;
• two kindergarten teachers to ensure class size targets continue to be met; and
• 14.5 EAs and two Youth Service Workers to support students with special needs.
“As the size and diversity of our population increases, schools play a very important role,” Education, Early Learning and Culture Minister Doug Currie said. “This new investment will give our teachers the added support they need to help newcomer students become successful learners. It will also ensure that children with special needs are safe and supported at school, and that classroom teachers can focus on teaching the entire class.”
The number of newcomer students in Island schools rose from 367 in 2007 to 1,455 in 2016. During the 2015-2016 school year, 435 newcomer students entered the public school system. Over the summer, another 231 new immigrant students enrolled; based on provincial government data, as many as 288 children aged 6 to 18 could arrive this school year.
Enrolment numbers also show that more students with special needs are entering the Island education system than leaving. The new 19.5 EA positions are in addition to the eight EA positions that were added last year to address increasing numbers of students with ADHD, autism, complex medical conditions, high-risk behaviours and other needs.