The following facts provide a snapshot of British Columbia’s education system, which has 1,581 public schools and 350 independent schools:
- This coming fiscal year (2015-16), total funding to school districts will reach $5.06 billion – up 31% since 2001.
- The average per-pupil funding is now an estimated $8,902, an increase of 42% since 2000-01.
- Last school year, total funding for all students (public and independent) with special needs was approximately $920 million.
- This year, school districts will receive $51.7 million through CommunityLINK, which help them fund programs to support vulnerable children and youth. Districts use this funding to fund breakfast and lunch programs, inner-city and community school programs, school-based support workers and counselling.
- Government has increased the Learning Improvement Fund (LIF) allocation to school districts by more than 66% since 2013-14 – to $100 million in 2015-16. The LIF was established to address complex classroom needs and ensure learning conditions are appropriate for all students.
- Under the new agreement with teachers, LIF will be maintained at $100 million in each of the next three years, and will rise to more than $106 million in 2018-19.
- This past school year (2014-15), districts told the Ministry they intended to use the LIF to:
- Hire 1,100 new teachers;
- Hire 352 new support staff; and
- Increase the hours of nearly 2,600 support staff and teachers from part-time to full-time.
- Estimated 521,038 full-time public school students this September.
- Since 2000-01, there has been a decrease of nearly 77,000 students.
- Estimated 58,513 English Language Learning (ELL) students – 640 fewer than last year.
- Estimated 55,414 Aboriginal students – 252 fewer than last year.
- Estimated 25,337 students with special needs (eligible for supplemental funding) – 277 fewer than in last year.
- Estimated 3,415 non-graduated adult students – 103 more than last year.
- Nearly 78,500 students took at least one online (distributed learning) course in 2014-15. That compares to approximately 33,000 students in 2006-07.
- The provincial six-year completion rate has increased by more than 10% since 2001 and was at 84.2% in 2013-14 (public and independent schools). Over that same period:
- The six-year completion rate for Aboriginal students has increased by 45.6% and now is at 61.6%;
- The six-year completion rate for ELL students has increased by 12.5% and now is at 86.6%;
- The six-year completion rate for students with special needs has increased by 86.2%and now is at 62.2%.
- Budget 2015 provides $1.4 billion over three years to replace aging facilities, build more student spaces in growing communities and improve school seismic safety where needed.
- Since 2001, government has committed more than $4.2 billion in new and improved schools, including $2.2 billion in seismic upgrades.
- To date, government funding has built 42 new schools, replaced 70 aging schools, added space through 186 schools additions and seismically upgraded 146 schools.
- New schools that have recently opened include the:
- $7.4-million NorKam Trades and Technology Centre in Kamloops;
- $23.8-million École Qayqayt Elementary in New Westminster;
- $26-million Yorkson Creek Middle school in Langley;
- $51.6-million Oak Bay High in Victoria;
- $56-million Chilliwack Secondary.
- The BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional program provides snacks of fruits and vegetables right in the classroom to children, allowing them to sample B.C. produce such as plums, blueberries, apples, tomatoes and carrots. The Ministry of Health and the Provincial Health Services Authority have provided combined funding of $21.5 million to the BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation since 2010-11 to support the program.
- In May 2015, government announced $3.5 million in new funding for the program to ensure it continues to bring fruits, vegetables and milk to more than 489,000 children in 1,463 public and First Nations schools.
- The Guidelines for Food and Beverage Sales in BC Schools are to be used in every school district to maximize students’ access to healthier options and fully eliminate the sale of unhealthy foods and beverages in B.C. schools.
- Through the Daily Physical Activity requirements, students in all school districts are required to achieve daily activity targets:
- Students in kindergarten to Grade 7 will engage in 30 minutes of daily physical activity at school;
- Students in Grades 8 and 9 will engage in 30 minutes of daily physical activity or 150 minutes of physical activity per week;
- Students in Grades 10 to 12 will engage in 150 minutes of physical activity per week as part of their Graduation Transition program.
- Class sizes in B.C. remain low and stable. The average number of students per class was near historical lows last school year (2014-15) and well below the maximum size allowed in provincial legislation.
- Of the 66,596 K-12 classes in B.C. public schools last year:
- 41% had fewer than 24 students;
- 57% have between 24 and 30 students;
- Only 1.6% of classes had more than 30 students and the majority of these are classes such as band, drama and gym where it is appropriate and beneficial to have a larger number of students.
- Average class sizes:
- 19.5 students for Kindergarten;
- 21.5 students for grades 1-3;
- 25.6 students for grades 4-7;
- 23.2 students for grades 8-12.
- There were nearly 9,400 full-time educational assistants working in schools in 2014-15, an increase of 42% compared to 2000-01. Approximately one-in-three classes in B.C. have an assigned educational assistant.
- Independent schools enrol nearly 81,000 students, which is approximately 13% of B.C.’s K-12 population.