The Vancouver School Board recently announced it would restore 100 Grade 1 French Immersion spaces for the upcoming school year, 2018-19. The announcement comes after a year long campaign by Vancouver parents who were angered by the Spring 2018 French Immersion cuts.
"This is remarkable news. Reversing the cuts will mean more Vancouver students will be able to participate in this wonderful life-changing educational program. We commend the Vancouver school board and staff for listening to the voices of Vancouver families and for working hard to find solutions," said Diane Tijman, Canadian Parents for French BC & Yukon President.
Glyn Lewis, Canadian Parents for French BC & Yukon Executive Director added, "We also recognize and thank the dozens of Vancouver parents who have spent months speaking out about this issue. Their tireless advocacy on behalf of their children made this incredible reversal possible."
In the Spring of 2017 the Vancouver School Board cut one quarter of its phenomenally popular French Immersion program. The VSB cited a shortage of French Teachers as the primary reason for the cuts.
Earlier this month Vancouver School Board Superintendent Suzanne Hoffman and BC Education Minister Rob Fleming visited France and Belgium to sign French teacher mobility agreements. Their trip came on the heels of the Federal Government announcing $64 million over five years for French Teacher recruitment and retention strategies.
Last month, the Vancouver School Board announced a 381 strong wait-list for French Immersion in their school district.
*The Vancouver School District began offering $1,500 in moving allowances to full-time French Immersion hires. The VSB is also offering housing and settlement support to teachers who come from out of province or out of country.
*In February the BC Ministry of Education announced funding for the training of 100 new specialist teachers in the highest-demand fields, such as French.
*From the April 17th Vancouver School Board release: "After an extensive twelve-month recruitment campaign, the district has been able to add about 100 spaces for Grade 1 in French Immersion schools as a result of staffing more efficiently."