FREDERICTON (GNB) –  Premier David Alward presented a progress report today on education initiatives in the k-12 system, highlighting the importance of education in rebuilding New Brunswick.

“Investing in safe, inclusive and innovative classrooms is a key part of our plan to rebuild New Brunswick and create jobs,” said Alward. “Our children are the future of the province and by supporting them early and helping them excel we are building a strong foundation for generations of growth and prosperity.”

Last year, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development began a renewal process with a mission to think differently and strategically about the education system and the services and programs it provides.

As a result of this process, school districts have been re-organized to create a simpler, streamlined and more efficient administration. The new model focuses on collaboration, on creating an environment where education and early childhood development can come together,  and on bringing resources and responsibilities closer to schools.  

“We are committed to encouraging collaboration between the classroom, the school, the district and the department to provide the best learning environment for our children,” Alward said.

Earlier this spring, an Action Plan on Inclusive Education was launched to address the recommendations developed following an extensive review of inclusion practices across the province. Investments to improve inclusion in schools will total more than $62 million over the next three years.

“Every child, no matter what their differences, has the right to learn with their peers to his or her potential and to feel safe, secure and respected while doing so,” said Alward. “Our government is committed to ensuring every child, regardless of where they live or the challenges they face, has the opportunity to learn and grow in a positive learning environment.”  

The inclusion agenda is part of a larger strategy to provide a safe and healthy learning environment in New Brunswick schools.

The provincial government has also introduced several multi-faceted initiatives to address bullying in schools to make the learning environment safer. These initiatives include:

●    amendments to the Education Act to place more emphasis on prevention, reporting, investigating and taking action when bullying occurs in schools;
●    creating two provincial anti-bullying co-ordinator positions;
●    developing an annual Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week; and
●    designating more guidance teachers to work on school bullying.  

“The provincial government supports anti-bullying initiatives at all levels of the school system by working with school districts, schools, principals, educators, students, parents and communities on a multi-phased approach to create safe and healthy learning and working environments,” said Alward. “We must work together to put an end to bullying.”

The government remains committed to working with its partners to continue to improve education while focusing on priorities that make the greatest difference for students, such as:

●    assuring that the education system is structured to teach children the skills they need to get ahead;
●    providing safe and healthy school environments;
●    supporting all children by embracing inclusive education practices; and
●    working together to put an end to bullying in schools.  

“I am proud of the work we have accomplished to rebuild education together over the course of the last two years,” said Alward. “I am confident we will continue to build upon the partnerships we have established with New Brunswickers to create jobs and enhance our quality of life.”