East Kensington Elementary has started the school year with its lowest enrolment in at least five years.

Student numbers dip at South Surrey heritage school

Discussions planned to explore how to boost enrolment at East Kensington

As the Surrey School District continues to grapple with overcrowded classrooms across the city, a heritage South Surrey school is struggling with the completely opposite dilemma – how to turn around its lowest student enrolment in at least five years.

District spokesman Doug Strachan confirmed Friday that discussions will get underway this fall around ways to attract students to East Kensington Elementary.

Parents were warned before the summer that enrolment at the 2795 184 St. school may be an issue, Strachan said.

Friday, officials sent a newsletter home advising that just 40 kindergarten to Grade 7 students were enrolled for the 2016-17 school year, and that as a result, staffing would be reduced by one teacher and the grades would be reconfigured into two classes: one for kindergarten and Grade 1 students, and one for students in Grades 2-7.

“I know over the years, our school has had its ups and down with enrolment, and our hope is we will bounce back and that this will be only a short-term challenge,” principal Jennifer Tarnowski writes.

“We are looking for a sustainable long-term solution for East Kensington and will come back to the community this fall with suggestions and ideas for moving forward. We also welcome suggestions and ideas from our community.”

Strachan said the sole Grade 7 student opted this week to change schools, and enrolment may dip further next week if any or all of the three registered Grade 6 students follow suit.

While one parent contacted Peace Arch News Friday to express concerns with the wide spread of grades in one class, Strachan said multi-age classrooms are not a new concept in the district.

“East Kensington has always been like that,” he said.

And given the small number of students overall, it’s “manageable.”

“There’s not going to be any deficiency in education,” he said.

Strachan said it’s too early to say what options may be explored for boosting enrolment, but that officials are hopeful.

“The enrolment has faced its challenges over the years,” he said, describing parents’ concerns as “understandable.”

At the same time, the tight-knit community is the school’s strength, he said, and it’s hoped as word gets out about what it has to offer, enrolment will again climb.

 

Just Posted

UPDATE: Man arrested in fatal stabbing near Clayton Heights gas station

Victim pronounced deceased at the scene; RCMP cordon off area

Semiahmoo Peninsula outing was for the birds

Dozens of bird species logged during field trip to South Surrey and White Rock waterfront

Candidate ‘mixer’ draws 100-plus to South Surrey’s Semiahmoo House

Accessibility, affordability and housing top of mind for self-advocates

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau outlines education promises at SFU Surrey

Trudeau spoke about the Liberals’ plan to ‘make education more affordable for students’

VIDEO: Langley woman’s security camera records its own theft

Langley family discovers early morning grab was recorded

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

B.C. VIEWS: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou

B.C.’s largest herds turn the corner from extinction

Vancouver Giants wrap up prairie road swing with a 4-2 win over Regina

Milos Roman paced the Langley-based Giants with two goals, goaltender David Tendeck made 34 saves

Pearson nets shootout winner as Canucks clip Flyers 3-2

Vancouver picks up second straight home win

Map on Elections Canada website sends Nanaimo-Ladysmith voters to landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

BC Children’s Hospital launches 2 new virtual care sites bringing total to 19 across province

Provincial initiative allows pediatric patients to see health specialists through video

Most Read