The province will hire more teachers as part of its commitment to ensure class sizes for the youngest students remain at the lowest level in a generation.
"I am pleased to announce that government will hire about 45 new elementary teachers," said Education Minister Ramona Jennex today, Sept. 27.
"Keeping class sizes low gives our youngest students the early attention and support they need. More teachers in our classrooms and smaller class sizes for students in grades Primary to 3 means every student will have an equal opportunity to be successful."
This month, school boards submitted class sizes. Those numbers showed that most Primary to 3 classes were well below historic averages, but some were too large.
"While 85 per cent of Primary to 3 classes have fewer than 25 students, some classes are simply too big," Jennex said. "Government said it would keep class sizes low, and today we are doing exactly that. It is not fair for young students to face higher class sizes because they live in an area of growing enrolment or other reasons beyond their control."
Jennex said the new board data shows that about 45 new teachers are needed to ensure Primary to Grade 3 classes won't exceed 25 students. School boards will begin reducing class sizes. To ensure they remain low, the province will require school boards to cap the number of students at 25, where possible.
"I talked to parents, teachers, and met with the new teachers' union president," said Jennex. "Together we were able to identify where support was needed and ensure class sizes will be low.
"Our students are lucky to have such passionate and dedicated teachers at the front of their classes. We value their hard work and are pleased to be able to bring more of them into our schools this year."
Nova Scotia Teachers Union president Shelley Morse applauded the announcement.
"We are pleased that Minister Jennex has listened to teachers and parents about the concerns with class-size caps in the lower elementary grades," said Morse. "This helps to ensure that our excellent educators in classrooms across the province are being supported in meeting the learning needs of students in grades primary to 3."
Reducing class sizes will mean changes in class makeups. Jennex asked that parents, students and teachers work together to ensure a smooth transition to smaller classes.
"Our young people need to have a good start at school," said Mat Whynott, ministerial assistant for Youth. "That's why government is taking this action, in addition to new initiatives under the Kids and Learning First plan, like programs to help struggling readers with literacy and a new curriculum for math.