More Examples of Class Size and Composition in BC Classrooms

The following information was gathered by a BC teacher to help people understand how serious the class size and composition issue has become for teachers AND students all across BC. The information was gathered from teachers around the province.

The hope is that this information will help clarify for people exactly what it means when “class size” and / or “composition” is raised.

Class size is simple, how many students in a class at any given time.

Composition means what kind of students make up a class.  Not all children are created equal and all children come with different strengths and weaknesses.  This is the composition of a class.  What kind of students a class is made up of.

I reached out to my colleagues and asked them provide three pieces of information on any of their classes;

Class size – how many students do you have in your class?

Composition – what types of students do you have in your class, do you have students with learning disabilities, do you have students with behaviour challenges, please list all the students who are not your average typical boy or girl learner

Amount of Support – explain the amount of support you currently receive in your class, this could be in-class support or in-school support

I didn’t ask for names of teachers, students or schools, only facts and figures have been provided.

I hope this draws attention to what exactly a regular public school classroom looks like right now.  There is a reason the teachers are demanding improvements and the proof is right here.  Every single submission I received outlined the diversity of need displayed by each class.  Couple that with a lack of support through less EAs, LA time, etc etc, it’s a recipe for disaster.  Our students are being short changed and undervalued and it’s time to say no more.

I have provided a legend for easier understanding, please refer to this if you’re unsure of any of the explanations below. [Editor – I moved the legend to the end of this blog post]

Current Class Compositions for 2013/14 school year.

Grade 5/6 – 30 students, 5 special needs (1 autistic who receives 2-45 minute blocks of support each week during PE only)

Grade 6 – 29 students, 75% of class where English wasn’t their primary language, 3 with emotional/behavioural disorders, 2 severe anxiety, 1 compulsive defiant

Grade 4 – 28 students, 21 ESL, 1 FAS, no EA support

Grade 5/6 – 24 students, 5 special needs (2 autistic, 1 is non verbal autistic, 1 deaf, 2 learning designations, 1 complex behaviour)

Grade 8 Science – 29 students, 13 designated (10 LD, 2 autistic, 1 FAS)

Grade 9/10 Metal Work – 28 students, 11 designated (5 with behaviour designations)

Grade 1/2 – 23 students, 2 autistic (violent outburst, self-harming), 1 moderate intellectual disability, 1 severe behaviour, 1 EA provided

Grade K/1 – 20 students, 1 awaiting autism designation, 1 ADHD, 3 needing speech therapy, 1 runner

Grade 3/ 4 – 24 students, 15 ELL (1 receives language support regularly), 2 mildly severe behaviours, 2 Aboriginal students who receive support once every 2 months

K – 22 students, 21 ELL, 1 IEP designation, 2 behaviour designations, 4 awaiting designations, 2 gifted

Grade 2 – 20 students, 1 high functioning autistic child who has frequent meltdowns (50% support provided by 3 different EAs), 1 possible LD (learning designation), 16 ESL, 1 speech/hearing concern, 2 not reading at current grade level

Public school of 1500 students, 65 students with designations ranging from learning disability to autism and mental health, 2 LST provided

K – 22 students, 17 ELL, 1 speech and language but has received no support this year, 1 gifted, 1PTSD/severe behaviour (has seen counsellor twice this year), 5 behaviour concerns (biting, hitting, scratching), 2 recommended to pediatricians for autism, 2 with fine motor delays, no in-class support or LST support, 5 students “at risk” for reading comprehension

Grade 5/6/7 – 30 students, 8 IEPs (1 chronic, 1ADHD, 2 behaviour, 2LD, 1 ELL, 1 gifted), 3 hours of EA support a day

Public School – 46 students wanted to take French 12 but 16 were turned away as the district could not run two courses of it, so they only ran one with a class of 30, 16 lost out

Grade 4/5 – 29 students, 5 Ministry designations (delays, mental health, behaviour), 2 students working two full grades behind (currently on modified programs), 1 Aboriginal, 1 health (tube fed twice a day), EA support – 3 mornings each week

K – 22 students, 2 special needs, 2 extreme behaviours, 9 identified for assessments

Grade 1 – 22 students, 6 Ministry designations, ESL students, students who require counselling due to behaviours, social service concerns, no EA support

English 10 – 29 students, 5 IEPs, 3 ESLs, 1 cutter / diabetic, 1 EA in-class support

Grade 6 – 28 students, 1 intensive social learning therapy (depressed, suicidal), 1 student mild intellectual disability, 3 students three grades below grade level, 1 autistic student receives one hour each day of support, 1 counsellor in school of 600

Grade 1/2 – 24 students, 20 ELL with minimal language support, 1 ELL received 30 minutes a day support, half time EA support in class, 2 Ministry behavior designations, 5 referred to school based team, 3 students caught stealing, 1 kleptomaniac, 7 grade 2s well below grade level, 4 grade 1s well below grade level

Grade 6/7 – 29 students, 5 Ministry designations, 4 ELL students, 15 other “grey ducks”, support included one half hour of EA support each day, 45 minutes of SEA time and a bonus of 45 minutes three times a week due to high need / social and emotional behaviour student

Grade 1 – 18 students, 8 ELL, 1 Aspergers, 1 severe behaviour, 3 reading at grade 4 level, 1 reading at pre-K, 2 students going to speech therapy, 5 on attendance watch program, no EA support, 1.5hr week of early numeracy and early literacy support, 4 students go to LST for a half hour each day

Grade 4/5 – 24 students, 2 with diabetes, 1 gifted, 1 designated LD, 1 severe behaviour, 2 medium behaviour, 1 mild behaviour, 3 students which are two grades below grade level in literacy, 3 students with anxiety receiving outside help through Youth and Family workers once a week, no additional in-class support

Adapted Math 9 – 20 kids, 14 LD (2 severe behaviour, 2 moderate behaviour, 2 considered “at-risk” and 1 falls on the autism spectrum), the other 7 have learning designations, no in-class support, 1 Youth Worker assigned to the school (1250 students)

Grade 1/2 – 23 students, 17 ELL, 1 with no English, 1 autistic, 1 pending behaviour designation (pending since November), 1 with double hearing aids, 8 considerably below grade level, 2 on testing lists to determine LD, approximately 1.5hrs / day of EA support

Grade 2 – 23 students, all were ELL, none designated so no support provided, 4 identified as needing testing, 1 choker and assassin (would try and choke other students and threatened to kill teacher), 12 who couldn’t read at grade level, 1 could not print, no in-class support

K – 20 students, 13 ELL, 1 with genetic disorder, 1 severe anger, 1 with familial depression

Grade 8 – 36 students in a class, huge safety concerns

Grade 10 – 30 students, 9 ELL, 1 legally blind student with learning struggles due to moving around so much, no direct support

Grade 6/7 – 24 students, 5 ELL, 1 beginning language learner, 4 Aboriginal, 5 IEP academic and behavior challenges, 2 untested gifted, no EA time provided, 45 minutes LST and 45 minutes ELL support, both once a week

Grade 7 – 26 students, 3 designated learners, 1 moderate behaviour, 1 low incidence/chronic health/anxiety/moderate intellectual disability (sees a counsellor for one period every two weeks), 1 ADHD on medication, 12 ELL (range of language levels from severely low to capped)

Grade 8 (all subjects) – 30 students, 5 IEPs at start of the year, 7 at the end of the year

Socials 9 – 28 students, 2 suspended due to dealing drugs, 8 IEPs (identified challenges and Ministry designated), 1 cutter / diabetic, 1 EA in-class support, however she could only work with 1 student because if she didn’t, the student would disrupt the entire class

Grade 6/7 – 28 students, 4 IEPs (3LD, 1 autistic), autistic child gets 6hrs a week with SEA, 1 ELL, 1 clinically depressed but doesn’t take medication, 1 attendance issue (is either away or late 50% of the time), 2 students reading at grade 3/4 level, support = 3x30min/week, support teacher is the VP so lots of support time is lost due to VP being busy with other school stuff, counselling support offered once every three weeks due to lack of counselling support offered at the school

Grade 4/5 – 26 students, 5 IEPs (2 severe behaviour with LD, 1 chronic health, 2 LDs), 2 ELL students, 2 others waiting for testing and 2 with safety plans, 1 autistic, support – 1 full time SEA due to the health coding, covered by another support teacher when SEA is on break

Grade 4/5 – 11 ELL, 1 autistic, 2 LD students, support – 1 EA provided for the autistic student, additional support of 60 minutes a week

Grade 3/4 – 7 IEPs, 3 LD (30min/day support), 1 LD has significant speech problem but no support, 3 students with medical diagnoses (diabetic, cerebral palsy, FAS), 1 gifted student (gifted support has been decreased from 1 full day a week to 80% of one day once a week)

Grade 3/4 – 22 students, 1 student with anxiety/impulse control, 1 with severe family dysfunction / abuse, 1 high functioning autistic student, 1 ADHD/ODD/behaviour, 1 student with hearing loss, 1 severe LD, 1 genetically based neurodevelopmental disorder, borderline intellectual disability, language disorder, ADHD, anxiety (parents paid for private assessment because they didn’t want to wait on school district), no support for this child as they are not designated (yet), 1 moderate LD (receives support 3xweek), 1 student seeing counsellor, however very infrequently

K – 21 students, 18 ELL (no services provided), 2 autistic (both share 1 full time EA), at some points there are 3 autistic children in the class as each EA must cover the others’ breaks throughout the day, no learning resources for kindergarten teachers, an Early Learning teacher will see 7 K/1s twice a week for 20 minutes, but this teacher is constantly pulled to cover other classes, at last estimate, this teacher saw these children 8 times from January to June

Grade 6/7 – 28 students, 8 IEPs (1 low incidence w/ safety plan, 4 LDs, 1 ESL, 2 moderate behaviors), 1 LD parent paid for testing out of pocket in order to get testing done faster, 1/4 of the class utilizes breakfast and lunch program, support – 1 EA shared between this class and 2 others

Grades 8-12 – 21 students, 5 LDs, 4 intensive behaviour/mental illness, 3 designated requiring support and / or mental illness, 2 autistic (1 is gifted), 1 visually impaired and FASD, support – EA provided for 2.5 of 4 blocks

Grade 6/7 – 29 students, 2 ESL, 3 Ministry designated, 5 in need of designation, 2 borderline gifted

Grade 6/7 – 28 students, 9 IEPs (behaviour, ELL, LD, chronic health), support – no direct in-class EA due to EA being pulled for other more disruptive students in the school

Grade 7 – 29 kids, 2 moderate behaviour (1 LD), 1 gifted, 3 identified but not diagnosed gifted, 4 high needs students (anxiety, stress)\

Grade 4 – 28 students, half of class on breakfast and lunch program, 19 ESL, 1 autistic with safety plan, 3 Ministry designated behaviour, 1 social development, 3 LD, 5 identified lower level learners, 4 Ministry calls over the year, support – 1 EA 7 hours a week, .5 counsellor

English 8 – 22 boys, 2 LD, 1 chronic health, 3 behaviour, no support

Library for K to Grade 4 – approximately 70 students, support = 20-40 minutes a day, to none at all, some students have 3 SEAs each day, biggest challenge are refugee students (PTSD, stress, anxiety)

Alternate Ed – approximately 100 students, identified struggles include chronic health, mental health, autism, self-harm and anger aggression issues, no prep time as position is only .375, one class includes 16 students w/ 9 IEPs, no EA support for this class

Grade 4/5 – 25 students, 4 special needs (autism, digeorge syndrome, two LD), two students awaiting testing, two more with recognized LD and 2 more with behaviour challenges

Grade 6/7 – 28 students, 4 LD, 2 mildly intellectual, 3 gifted, 1 autistic, 1 foster care, 1 insomiac, 1 undesignated LD, 5 behaviour identifications

Online Teacher / Distance Ed – 738 student case load

Grade 4 – 26 students, 4 chronic lates, 3 regular absences, 3 Ministry designations, 3 students non-diagnosed autistic, 5 students on ADHD/ADD medication, 3 students with parents who keep them home for “family days” on a regular basis, support – 1 EA for six students

Grade 4 – 30 students, 3 Ministry designated students, 1 student dual designated (violence/learning), 4 students recognized for testing and future designation, support – LA 45 minutes a week

Grade 6/7 – 26 students, 5 FAS, 2 on autism spectrum, 1 behaviour designation, 2 waiting for assessment and testing, support – 1 full time EA and 1 EA shared with another class

Grade 9 Drama – 29 students, 6 intellectual disabities (4 LD), 1 serious mental illness, 1 severe behavior intervention, 21 ESL, no EA support

Art 10/11/12 – 12 students (small yes, needy yes).  Check this out.  1 student with tourettes, 1 student with cystic fibrosis and emotional and behaviour difficulties, 1 severe emotionally challenged, 1 low cognitive skills (does not live at home and has poor attendance), another student with low cognitive skills who travels on a bus over an hour each way to school, 1 student 20 years old but can’t count and will require 24/7 help for the rest of her life, support – 1 Aboriginal support worker helps for 4 out of 5 classes each week

Communications 11/12 – 24 students, 15 ESL, 1 autistic, 2LD, 1 attendance concern, support – 1 half time Ab. Ed. EA

Grade 3 – 21 students, 1 LD (writing), 18 ELL students, 1 severe language processing disorder, 2 students with serious math deficiencies, 3 Aboriginal students (2 poverty stricken), 1 selective mute, 1 behaviour challenge, 2 gifted (suspected), support – LST 1 hour each day, no EA support

Communications 12 – 24 students, 5 ELL, 5 Ministry designated, 2 more were both ELL and Ministry designated, 1 severe emotional / mental illness, several more with below grade level ability and unmotivated, no EA support

Grade 2/3 – 23 students, 4 ELL, 1 student reading at K level and 1 reading at gr. 1 level, 1 suspected autistic, 1 PTSD due to abuse, 1 ODD, 2 high anxiety, support – LST ½ hour each day for 3 students, no EA support

K/1 – 22 students, 1 autistic, 1 diabetic, 1 severe speech delay, 3 receiving early literacy intervention, 2 counsellor referrals, 4 on waitlist for LA time, support – full time EA time cut to half time mid-way through the year in order for the EA to help another struggling child in the school

K – 17 students, 4 ELL (1 with no English whatsoever), 1 speech/language delay, 3 who require regular speech therapy, 2 sever anxiety, 2 severe behaviour, 3 potentially gifted, support – in class EA half hour support twice a week, school counsellor one afternoon a week

Grade 4/5/6 – 25 students, 8 IEPs (1ADHD, 2 behaviour, 1 chronic health, 1 gifted, 2LD, 1 ELL), support – 45 minutes of EA support a day


The Legend to help with the acronyms 

IEP – Individualized Education Plan (these are plans designed to help students who have a learning disability, behaviour challenges, social/emotional problems, or chronic health problems), the plans are put together by the school-based team which usually consists of the teacher, parent, principal, LA teacher and others involved with the student

ELL – English Language Learners (these are students where English is not their native language, they know very little English)

ESL – English as a Second Language (same as ELL)

LD – Learning Designation (students tested and found to struggle with learning concepts at current grade level)

FAS – fetal alcohol syndrome

ODD – oppositional defiance disorder

EA – Educational Assistant (usually direct in-class support)

SEA – Special Education Assistant (same as EA but may come with specialized training such as signing)

LST – Learning Support Team

LA – Learning Assistance (usually where students go to a learning assistance room, outside of their regular class)

Ministry Designated / Identified – this means the students have been tested by the school district / Ministry of Education and found to be significantly below age / grade level in either academics or social skills (behaviours), or both