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Posted: September 2, 2019

Education by the numbers in B.C.

The following information provides a snapshot of British Columbia’s education system, as submitted by the Ministry of Education.

Enrolment and schools

  • There are 1,578 public schools and 364 independent schools in B.C.
  • Pending final enrolment count in fall 2019, it is estimated there will be 545,805 funded full-time equivalent school-age students in public schools in the 2019-20 school year. This would be an increase of 3,155 students from 2018-19.

Based on student head count in the 2018-19 school year, there were:

* 73,107 students with special needs in the province – 3,422 more than the year before;

* 71,983 Indigenous students in the province – 1,230 fewer than the year before;

* 68,982 English Language Learning (ELL) students in the province – 1,587 more than the year before;

* 6,087 francophone students in the province – 147 more than the year before;

* 54,568 French Immersion students in the province – 505 more than the year before;

* Since 2015-16, public school class sizes have become smaller, while enrolment has increased by more than three per cent.

* Average kindergarten and grades 1 to 3 class sizes are down nine per cent since 2015-16.

* Class sizes are down eight per cent for grades 4 to 7, and six per cent for grades 8 to 12, since 2015-16.

The average class sizes this past school year were:

  • 22.1 in grades 8 to 12
  • 23.9 in grades 4 to 7
  • 19.9 in grades 1 to 3
  • 18 in kindergarten.

Achievement – Six-year completion rate 2017-18

* 85% of all students in B.C. are completing high school.

* 88% of English language learners are completing high school.

* 98% of francophone students in Conseil scolaire francophone School District are completing high school.

* 96% of French immersion students are completing high school.

* 69% of all Indigenous students are completing high school. In the 2017-18 school year, the completion rate for Indigenous students increased by 3% over the year before – the largest one-year increase since 2010-11.

* Outcomes for students with special needs in B.C. are showing steady improvements. Completion rates were 75.5% last school year, up from 63.5% 10 years ago.

* 54% of students with special needs make the transition to post-secondary within two or fewer years after completing Grade 12.

* 43% of Indigenous students in public schools attended post-secondary within two or fewer years of completing high school, compared to 60% of all students.

Investments in learning

* The province is investing $6.6 billion for K-12 education this year, which is $1 billion more than in 2016-17.

* This is a total increase of 17.1%, while enrolment has grown 3.2%.

* For the first time since 2006, all 60 school districts are forecasted to see an increase in funding for the 2019-20 school year.

* Government has invested more than $400 million annually for school districts to hire almost 4,000 new teaching positions, including 500 special education teachers and 190 more teacher psychologists and counsellors.

* An additional 1,000 education assistants have been hired in the past two years. The number of classes with an education assistant has increased by 37%.

* Government has invested $3.5 million to create about 250 new seats in teacher education programs in B.C., including training 70 special education, 20 secondary math and physics, 74 French and about 85 Indigenous educators.

* This year, the ministry estimates school districts will receive $570.9 million to support students with special needs, a 23% increase since 2016-17.

* Targeted funding to support Indigenous students is estimated to rise to $88 million next school year, a 27% increase since 2016-17.

* Rural school districts are receiving $295 million for the next school year to assist with the unique challenges they face supporting students and staff. This is $23 million more than in 2016-17.

* School districts receive about $53 million through CommunityLINK and $11.2 million via the vulnerable student supplement each year to help fund programs that support vulnerable children and youth.

Capital investments

  • Government will invest a record $2.7 billion in school capital projects over the next three years.
  • Since September 2017, government has announced 71 school capital projects, for a total investment of $1.55 billion.
  • This includes 20 new or expanded schools, seven site purchases for future schools and 37 seismic upgrades or replacements.
  • These projects will create 9,720 new student spaces and 22,000 seismically safe seats.
  • Government has created an ongoing $5-million annual playground equipment fund for school districts to buy new or replacement playground equipment. This will reduce parents’ need to fundraise for school playgrounds.
  • Since the Playground Equipment Program started in 2018, more than 25,000 children are using new playgrounds at 101 B.C. schools. This school year, the program will fund 50 new playgrounds in 34 school districts.

Ministry of Education


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