(File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / tomwang)(File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / tomwang)

Cancelled programs, loss of teaching positions expected with increased class sizes: report

One-quarter of Ontario's secondary school teaching positions will likely be eliminated due to the provincial government's plan to increase class sizes, according to a recent report from education professionals.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) released a detailed report on Friday that indicates that secondary schools will see a 25 per cent reduction in teaching positions by 2023.  The federation said this is the direct result of the increase of class sizes from 22 to 28 over the next four years, which was announced by Minister of Education Lisa Thompson on March 15.

For the report, the OSSTF acquired data from 23 bargaining units representing 60 schools in Ontario. The report highlights the impact on small, medium and large sized schools based on their average daily enrollment or number of students attending a school.

"The data includes the loss of teaching positions, the loss of teachers over and above the number of retirees projected, and the loss of teachers with specific qualifications in these schools, which would threaten the loss of specific curricular programs," the OSSTF said in a statement. "In order for school boards to meet the new average class size requirements, schools will be hard pressed to accommodate the same number of students."

According to the report, school boards may be forced to cancel course options, which would force students into classes that do not align with their requirements to get into post-secondary programs. As well, core programs such as science, technology and math could face cancellation. And in some instances, classes may be amalgamated between multiple grades or courses, "making curriculum delivery and providing of individual attention much more difficult." In some extreme cases, it could also mean the closure of some schools, especially those in rural communities if they are unable to provide minimum core programming.

To read the OSSTF's full report, click here.

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