Students across the province will have access to 173 more inclusive education specialists, teachers and non-teaching staff this September.
“This is another expansion of supports for students as part of our new model of inclusive education in Nova Scotia,” said Zach Churchill, Minister, Education and Early Childhood Development. “We are changing our entire approach to inclusive education. And, it’s not just about more funding and more people – we’re changing how we work, so all regional and school staff share best practices and problem solve together to support the achievement and well-being of all students.”
Some of the additional student supports coming to the system this year include:
18 guidance counsellors
11 autism teacher specialists
11 resource teachers
30 education assistants
32 child and youth care practitioners
13 African Nova Scotia and Mi’kmaw student support workers
11 pre-primary inclusion coaches
8 schools plus facilitators
8 school psychologists and speech language pathologists
3 student health nurses
4 transition supports for youth in care
For a full list of the positions go to https://www.ednet.ns.ca/inclusiveeducation.
“I am excited to see the infusion of additional resources to support inclusive education in Nova Scotia’” said Sarah Shea, former chair, Commission on Inclusive Education and co-author of the Students First report. “The focus on increasing direct services to students and on building skills and capacity in the education system workforce fits with the vision laid out by the commission. “Major changes such as those being undertaken take time. It will be important to evaluate the impact of changes as they take place and to build on successes.”
This year’s $15 million in inclusive education funding includes more than $3 million for training and development. Government is also partnering with Autism Nova Scotia on a pilot program to train education assistants on working with students who have autism. “We are very encouraged to see the diversity of positions and training partnerships in this announcement,” said Cynthia Carroll, executive director of Autism Nova Scotia. “Building diverse and multi-disciplinary teams that work in collaboration with classroom teachers, along with enhanced training opportunities will benefit all students.”
This will be year two of a five-year rollout of changes for inclusive education. In 2018-19, 191 positions were added to schools. The new supports bring the total to 364 new, inclusive education positions added to the education system.
“We are very grateful and pleased with the additional supports that our son Nicholas received through this year’s funding for inclusive education,” said Trevor and Roxanne Hume, parents of Nicholas, a Grade 8 student in the South Shore Regional Centre for Education. “This year has been game changing for Nic.
“He is in a completely different place than he was last year. We have gone from not knowing how he was going to successfully receive his education to him looking forward to going to school.”