REID: School programs’ relocation is symptom of what ails Surrey

This just seems to be yet another case of Surrey’s overcrowding impacting children negatively

I can’t stop thinking about a recent decision by the Surrey School Board.

Trustees voted to relocate two programs: the French Immersion program from Lord Tweedsmuir to the new Salish Secondary when it opens in 2018, and the Inter-A program from Kwantlen Park to Queen Elizabeth Secondary.

I understand the logic behind the moves. But the context of the situation is what has me upset – and I can’t seem to shake it.

The impetus for both moves is extreme overcrowding. Lord Tweedsmuir, with a capacity of 1,400, currently has 2,055 students. Kwantlen Park has 1,536 students, well over its capacity of 1,200.

The school board’s stance is that space issues must be addressed.

“We get that people get agitated and upset when you’re moving schools,” Shawn Wilson told the Now earlier this month before the decision was made.

“Kids get comfortable in a school, they have their friends…. It’s something we understand is difficult to accept but the board is required to provide space for people who live in the catchment area.”

Sometimes, Wilson added, “moving the program is really the only sensible or logical thing to do.”

I can appreciate that.

But having been a student in a “choice” program, I can speak to how much the relocations will impact the students involved.

I attended the Inter-A program at Kwantlen Park, which is being moved to Q.E. This program is a community, a family. Offered to high school students, it provides leadership opportunities while offering all the usual academic courses.

Students also have a chance to work on special activities and projects. Many choose the program because they like the smaller environment and Inter-A “encourages the development of socially responsible students within a co-operative learning environment,” according to its website.

I’m told of the roughly 180 students in the program, only about 50 will be able to make the move to Queen Elizabeth to continue.

I feel for the more than 100 students who will simply not be able to get themselves to Queen Elizabeth Secondary, where the program will be moved to.

I can only imagine the instability and interruption this will create in a student’s learning experience. And, they’ve lost out on all that program has to offer – and take it from me, it’s a lot.

It’s safe to assume the same would apply to those in the French Immersion program.


When even trustees say curb growth in Surrey, it’s time to listen

Adversity is exhausting our city

Surrey school trustee’s call to curb growth ‘hit a chord’

Surrey’s Cindy Dalglish has been a driving force of opposition to the French Immersion move – and an advocate for all of the school district’s overcrowding troubles.

“How can we tell our students to invest their energies into these programs… if we aren’t investing and providing the stability for them ourselves?” Dalglish said after the decision.

“It’s simply ludicrous to think that our children will thrive in an environment where stability is not at the forefront.”

While the school district notes its responsibility to the students in the catchment area, Dalglish says that “the majority of families purchase their homes in their school catchment of choice” where these programs are offered.

Compounding her frustration is that she expects the French Immersion program in question will move a second time.

“The French Immersion feeder schools are close and on the other side of Lord Tweedmsuir Secondary,” said Dalglish. “Within a few short years, Salish Secondary will be overcrowded and then the French Immersion program will be moved again.”

A logical assumption, of course, given school overcrowding woes show no end in sight.

Regardless of future dilemmas, the current decision has been made.

This just seems to be yet another case of Surrey’s overcrowding impacting children negatively.

And why are we in this spot?

We’re simply growing too fast.

Infrastructure is not keeping up.

My message to Surrey council? Please, please slow things down.

And to the province? Cough up more money. And quickly. This simply isn’t right.

This community’s children – who should come first – are paying the price.

Amy Reid is staff writer with the Now. She can be reached at


Just Posted

Mother’s death causes singer to cancel Surrey Fusion Festival performance

Revised schedule released with Mankirt Aulakh replacing Sharry Mann

Toilet, bathtub among junk dumped behind Scott Road thrift store, costing operators money

‘I wish people would appreciate what we do, and not dump their stuff,’ frustrated manager says

Cars keyed on BC Ferries after alarms bother dog on board

Delta police arrested one passenger on suspicion of mischief

TONIGHT: Eagle Eyes to headline Concerts for the Pier in White Rock

East Beach event to feature The Fab Fourever

New day camp for Surrey children living with cancer, blood disorders

West Coast Kids Cancer Foundation running another session at Surrey school

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Two toddler siblings found drowned on First Nation in Alberta

The siblings were found drowned on their family’s property, according to RCMP

Most Read