Skip to main content

B.C. Conservatives plan to remove portables in Surrey schools, teachers call it 'impossible'

Surrey, B.C. -

The B.C. Conservative Party is promising to eliminate portable classrooms in Surrey by increasing class sizes.

Leader John Rustad discussed the policy on Tuesday, saying the 360 portables in the district impact students' ability to learn.

“Even a 20-per-cent increase (in class sizes) would have the ability to remove a tremendous number of the portables and give parents what they are looking for," says Rustad.

The Surrey Teachers Association says even contemplating increasing class sizes is ignorant and would greatly impact both students and teachers.

“Nobody who is serious about what students learn and students' well-being in classrooms would even contemplate or consider increasing class sizes," says Lizanne Foster, vice-president of the association.

Foster adds recruiting teachers is becoming increasingly difficult with already poor working conditions and complex student needs.

“We are constantly losing people from the profession because it is extremely difficult," she says. "People understood at the beginning of the pandemic just how difficult our job is and that just all evaporated.”

She says the focus should be on the learning environment and how to best serve students.

“If you see kids as numbers and you just see them as empty vessels in the room, then of course you can entertain ideas that we can just have more of them,” Foster says.

Annie Ohana is a teacher at L.A. Matheson Secondary School in Surrey. She says mental health among teachers is at an all-time low and she worries for what could happen if class sizes were to increase.

“You're making less money, longer hours and you are teaching so you have to make sure students understand," she says.

Teachers say the only solution is more funding, and anything else is just a Band-Aid.

This comes after the Surrey school district announced students at five Surrey high schools will move to an extended-day program to combat overcrowding.

The five schools are Grandview Heights Secondary, Fleetwood Park Secondary, Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary, Kwantlen Park Secondary, and Tamanawis Secondary. Top Stories

Stay Connected