Young students from David Brankin Elementary in Surrey perform during a district dance showcase in 2013. (Now-Leader file photo)

Surrey tops B.C. school districts with highest growth in student numbers

Langley in second place on list publicized by provincial government

SURREY — There were 537,086 school-age students enrolled in B.C.’s public schools as of September 2017 and, not surprisingly, the largest percentage of them are in Surrey.

The latest numbers indicate 959 more students were enrolled in classes in Surrey at the start of the current school year than the previous September.

In fact, Surrey tops all B.C. districts with the highest growth in numbers of students, according to figures released by the provincial government on Monday (Dec. 18).

Surrey’s district 36 is followed on the list by Langley (439 more students than the previous year), Comox Valley (420), Sooke (372) and Nanaimo-Ladysmith (304).

More than 70,000 students are currently schooled in Surrey, according to surreyschools.ca, a hub for 101 elementary schools, 19 secondary schools, five learning centres and four adult education centres.

• RELATED STORY: NDP eliminate tuition for adult education, will end interest on student loans, from August 2017.

The majority of B.C.’s school districts continue to grow this year as more families are moving to B.C., a government release states.

“In the September 2017 enrolment count, school districts reported that B.C.’s public schools had 4,974 more school-age students, compared to September 2016,” the release notes.

“Government is committed to funding this growth, so this means an extra $106.8 million in school district funding.”

• RELATED STORY: Surrey union decries ‘epidemic’ level shortage of education assistants in B.C., from Nov. 23.

Compared to last year, 43 of B.C.’s 60 school districts had enrolment increases, while 17 saw declines, according to the release.

“In many districts, the number of students was stable, with the changes being relatively small. For example, 23 districts had fluctuations of fewer than 25 students either way.”

The Ministry of Education is conducting a review of the education funding formula, “to ensure that students get the quality education and opportunities they deserve and so parents can have peace of mind that their children are learning in properly supported classrooms.”

Also of note, student enrolment is up for the third year in a row in B.C. Approximately 15,000 students have been added in that period.

Independent schools enrolled nearly 83,500 students in 2016-17, according to the numbers released Monday.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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