School district to cap French immersion enrolment

Difficulty in recruiting enough qualified teachers prompts limits on numbers of new French Immersion students

Chief Dan George Middle School is one of several in Abbotsford with French Immersion programs.

Chief Dan George Middle School is one of several in Abbotsford with French Immersion programs.

The Abbotsford school district is moving to cap enrolment in French immersion classes this fall due to difficulties in recruiting qualified teachers.

This year, 1,376 students are enrolled in French immersion, including 161 kindergarten students in nine divisions.

A review of the program this year, though, has revealed ongoing difficulties in recruiting and retraining Francophone teachers. That has led administrators to limit enrolment of new students to the nine existing divisions, along with two late-immersion Grade 6 classes at Chief Dan George Middle School.

“We want to provide our students with the best French immersion experience,” school district spokesperson Kayla Stuckart said in an email. “Limiting the number of students enrolled allows us to provide customized learning opportunities for our students and offer rewarding teaching experiences for our French immersion educators.”

Seats are assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis.

As part of the review, the district will be creating a plan to increase teacher recruitment.

The board and superintendent will also be asked to decide whether to try to increase French immersion programming in east Abbotsford and whether to establish a single-track program and, if so, how to do so.