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North Vancouver schools see surge in enrolment

The number of students is up 270 over projections, and most of that increase is driven by immigration
kids raising hands
An increase in immigration has resulted in a surge of new students in North Vancouver schools.

The North Vancouver school district has had a surge of enrolment this fall, resulting in 270 more students than expected attending local schools.

The equivalent of 16,163 full-time students are enrolled in North Vancouver public schools this fall, compared to 15,795 students last year.

A significant portion of those new students were newcomers to the country, district principal Justin Wong told trustees recently.

An increase in the number of English Language Learner students closely mirrored the enrolment increase, going from 1,245 students last year to 1,592 ELL students this year.

The increase in enrolment has also resulted in more secondary school classes in North Vancouver containing more than 30 students, with 103 classes in the school district currently recording more than 30 students.

The biggest increases have been at Handsworth Secondary, where 38 classes have more than 30 students, and Sutherland Secondary, where 29 classes have more than 30 students.

Those include out-of-timetable and fine arts classes, staff told trustees. They also include classes that are yet to take place, in the second semester of high school. “It’s a snapshot. These numbers change,” said secretary treasurer Jacqui Stewart.

When classes go over 30 students, school districts are required to provide extra help for teachers. Trustee Cyndi Gerlach, warned, however, that only works if there are staff available to provide that help.

Enrollment in West Vancouver schools is also up this fall. The number of students is up by 116 over last year in West Van, also fuelled by immigration, according to the school district.

The number of English Language Learner students is also up in West Vancouver public schools this year – at 1,543 students compared to 1,373 ELL students last year.

At the same time, the number of fee-paying international students is slightly down, at 364.