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

Surrey district cop station closed by sewer backup

People seeking criminal records checks and other services can get help at any of the other stations

SURREY EVENTS GUIDE for Sept. 19 and beyond

Concerts, festivals, plays and more in our weekly calendar

Giant-Hawk name swap for Major Midget League hockey teams

League leaders last year, Valley West squad starts season on the road this weekend

ELECTION QUESTIONS: How do candidates form their opinions on transit in Surrey?

Who is on the right side of Surrey’s transit debate? That’s for voters to decide come Oct. 20.

Surrey wants BNSF to slow Crescent trains

Mayor Linda Hepner said ‘it’s the least we can do’

64 cats seized from ‘bad situation’ now in BC SPCA care

The surrender is part of an ongoing animal cruelty investigation with BC SPCA Special Constable

B.C. hockey product eyes shot at Olympic spot with China

Fletcher is one of 24 who travelled to Shenzhen, China for the first official Olympic dev camp.

Are you feeling lazy? That’s OK – it’s just science

UBC study shows that humans are hardwired to prefer being sloth-like

LETTER: Who do we blame for the tragedy of Marrisa Shen’s death?

The B.C. girl was killed in a Burnaby park last July

Competition tribunal to hear B.C.-based case on airline food starting in October

The competition commissioner argued Vancouver airport authority had exploited its market position

Trudeau says Canada wants to see ‘movement’ before signing revised NAFTA deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is back in Washington in search of a way to bridge divide

Seek compromise with U.S. on cannabis at border, lawyers urge Ottawa

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency sent tremors through Canada’s burgeoning cannabis sector

Young people need us to act on climate change, McKenna tells G7 ministers

Catherine McKenna led off the three-day Halifax gathering Wednesday

UPDATE: Man arrested in shooting on Abbotsford street near Aldergrove

Nobody injured in shooting, which is not believed to be related to gang conflicts

Most Read