Update: Surrey French immersion class cancelled before it starts

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

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

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

White Rock Playhouse, Bell Centre lit up red in support of entertainment workers

Facilities across Canada participated in national Light Up Live movement on Sept. 22

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

UPDATED: Surrey RCMP make multiple arrests after reports of fight in Newton

Huge police response to reports of fight, possibly a gun, in the area of 82nd Avenue east of Scott Road

Surrey youth protest throne speech as part of Global Day of Action

Group marched to Liberal MP Randeep Sarai’s constituency office

Fraser Health lists COVID-19 exposures at two more Surrey schools

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

VIDEO: COVID won’t dampen Lower Mainland woman’s Halloween spirit

Langley’s Tanya Reid posted video offering suggestions of how trick-or-treating might look for her

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

VIDEO: Mounties looking to catch Chilliwack bike-riding teen groper

Man caught on video slapping the backside of girl near CSS riding a bicycle

Most Read