Inclusive Education Supports Hired

Your Liberal government knows the model of inclusion needs to change so that all of our kids have the supports they need to help them succeed. We’ve started with on-the-ground resources that parents and teachers have told us are needed most urgently.

We’re pleased to announce all education assistants, parent navigators, autism and behavioural support specialists, school psychologists, and speech-language pathologists have now been hired to better support students in the classroom.

One remaining student health partnership nurse remains to be hired through the Nova Scotia Health Authority.

These new supports hired are over and above what already exists and this is just the beginning. We expect to add even more classroom help as we continue to reshape the inclusive education model.

The classroom supports hired include:

• 100 additional Educational Assistants and Child and Youth Care Practitioners
• 70 new autism and behavioural specialists
• 11 parent navigators
• six school psychologists and speech-language pathologists
• three student health partnership nurses

Your Liberal government committed $15 million in funding for the 2018-19 school year toward increasing inclusive education supports. In addition to more human resources, eight alternative education programs were added throughout the province and are designed to help students who learn best in a non-traditional setting.

Funding also included two, new Achieve programs at NSCC. Achieve programs help students with complex needs better transition to life after high school. As well, more than $3.5 million is allocated for additional teacher training, professional learning, workforce development and assistive technology to promote student participation and access to curriculum.

A key recommendation of the Commission for Inclusive Education was to develop an overall guiding policy on inclusive education, and a mechanism to track results. We have partnered with Inclusive Education Canada and retained Gordon Porter, director of Inclusive Education Canada, to lead development of an inclusive education policy framework, including oversight and measurement.

Your Liberal government has also opened 130 new pre-primary classrooms this year, which brings the total to more than 180 classrooms that are now open. This means approximately 2,800 four-year-olds and their families are taking part in free, early learning opportunities.

By 2020, all communities across Nova Scotia will have access to pre-primary.