Update: Surrey French immersion class cancelled before it starts

Only a dozen parents signed up for the usually sought-after language program.

A new early entry French immersion program planned for Cougar Creek Elementary in Surrey has been cancelled due to low enrolment.

A new French immersion (FI) program that was to start at Surrey’s Cougar Creek Elementary next week has been cancelled before it could begin.

Surrey School District officials announced last week that the program was in peril due to low enrolment – just eight kids were signed up to start the kindergarten language program. Early this week, that number had risen to 12.

But that’s where enrolment stalled, forcing the district to halt the program as it fell far short of the 22 students preferable for a full class. Even with 18 or 20, the class may have proceeded, said Surrey Board of Education chair Shawn Wilson, who was shocked at the low interest in the new FI location.

“I would’ve expected there would be a full take-up of that program,” he said. “To ask the questions and go to the public… and include it in a facilities plan and open it and not have anyone commit to it was a disappointment.”

In June, after years of parents lobbying for better access to FI, the school district found available space at the Newton area elementary school and gave the go-ahead to open a new program there. Cougar Creek would have been the seventh elementary school in Surrey to host an early French program.

Heather Bartlett, Acting Executive Director the Canadian Parents for French’s B.C. & Yukon branch, says the Surrey situation doesn’t indicate a lack of interest in FI, but the fact access to programs remains an issue.

“While we recognize that opening a new program was a step in the right direction, it is unfortunate that the first program expansion in over 20 years was placed at the city’s border (with Delta) and not more centralized within the district where there is high demand.”

Every year, dozens of children are put on waitings lists as the demand far outweighs the number of student spaces available for FI in Surrey schools. From spring to mid-August, parents of the 229 families on the waiting list were contacted and offered a spot at Cougar Creek.

Most, said the district, indicated they didn’t want to drive to the school.

Generally, the waiting lists are significantly longer at the South Surrey schools that offer French immersion. But Wilson said the program has to be offered in all areas of the city.

“We have to establish these things in a fair and equitable way,” he said.

“We’re responsible for responding to the public’s demands and then we do and no one responds.”

 

– with files from Kevin Diakiw

 

Just Posted

City of White Rock hosts official pier reopening

Event included ribbon-cutting, speeches, live music

Surrey school district to allow students to miss class for global climate strike

Students must be excused from school by parents; will be able to make up missed work without penalty

Surrey rallies for change in global climate strike

Holland Park event part of marches around the world Sept. 20

Surrey RCMP need help to find missing man

Denis Godard, 64, who was reported missing on Sept. 19

Little library stolen in Clayton Heights

Thieves permanently check out family’s book collection

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Westbound crash on Highway 1 in Langley causing extreme traffic delays

Collision occured just after Glover Road, cars backed up all the way to 264th Street

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Takaya, B.C.’s intriguing lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

Most Read

l -->