Skip to content

StrongStart in Surrey staying — for now

Program to run at 23 sites instead of 25 for next school year
The persisting StrongStart issue in Surrey has gotten a promising, yet short-term update. (File photo)

The persisting StrongStart issue in Surrey has gotten a promising, if short-term, update.

Available throughout B.C., StrongStart is a pre-kindergarten service that is free for children from birth to age five that acts as a precursor to entering the public education system. In Surrey, the program has not received an increase in funding from the education ministry since 2008, according to the school board.

RELATED: Parents, educators push for StrongStart to stay in Surrey

This issue has left the program’s future in question for many weeks, with a decision finally arriving Tuesday afternoon (April 30).

Surrey Schools announced through their website that StrongStart will be continuing in Surrey, for at least the 2024-25 school year, with some changes.

“In response to the rising student enrolment, we have had to make the difficult yet necessary decision to repurpose classrooms at Georges Vanier Elementary and James Ardiel Elementary for kindergarten through Grade 7 students,” reads the district announcement.

“This strategic adjustment ensures that we can effectively manage the growing demand for education while continuing to uphold our promise of quality K-12 education across the district.”

Operating at 25 school locations currently, StrongStart will move towards being available at 23.

“We recognize the impact of these closures on families attending these two sites and are committed to ensuring a smooth and supportive transition to nearby StrongStart locations,” the district goes on to state.

“We will make this adjustment as seamless as possible for families, minimizing disruption and maintaining the high standards of care and education families have come to expect from us.”

SD36 adds that conversations with the Ministry of Education will continue so more funding can be provided for a “sustainable, long-term” solution.

In an emailed response to Peace Arch News, Education Minister Rachna Singh said she is “pleased” to hear the news, reiterating that provincial funding for StrongStart in Surrey is for 23 locations.

“It was great to see ministry staff working closely with the Surrey school district to ensure students in Surrey are supported to succeed and thrive in their education now, and in the future.”

Sobia Moman

About the Author: Sobia Moman

Sobia Moman is a news and features reporter with the Peace Arch News.
Read more