Save Queen Elizabeth Annex Elementary & support public French immersion education in B.C.

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We, the undersigned, oppose the Vancouver School Board recommendation to close Queen Elizabeth Annex (QEA) Elementary French immersion school.

On September 23, 2019, Vancouver School Board (VSB) made a recommendation that the Vancouver Board of Education considers the closure of Queen Elizabeth Annex school effective July 1, 2020. The recommendation is brought forward following a 2016 BC Supreme Court ruling in favor of one of the plaintiffs, the Counseil scolaire francophone de la Columbie-Britannique ("CSF"), that the government's accommodation of francophone linguistic community in Vancouver West was "substandard".

Shortage of French Immersion spots in Demand

Currently, in British Columbia and specifically in Vancouver, French immersion schools suffer from overcapacity and understaffing.  CBC News reported on September 3, 2019 that "During the 2018-2019 school year, the report by Canadian Parents for French found 53,995 students were enrolled in the program, marking a provincial record. The number has continued to rise over the past 21 years, the report says...Enrollment in French immersion is at an all-time high in B.C., with more than 53,000 students or almost 10 per cent of the entire student body."  

  • The Ministry of Education has approved funding for 37 additional (for a total of 74) French teacher spots for the 2019-2020 school year, supporting the clear demand for French immersion. 
  • The VSB is not meeting French immersion demand and reflected by the high waitlists across the city.
  • VSB reports that QEA enrollment is declining although waitlists of 50/+ repeat year after year.  Families on the waitlist have been known to turn away a spot due to lack of childcare, constant threat of closure and staffing issues.

Shortage of Physical Space at proposed relocation site

The VSB proposal to relocate QEA students to EJQ is short-sighted and does not address the lack of sufficient classroom space at EJQ to accommodate (4) additional classes of QEA kindergarten to grade 3, leading to class(es) being eliminated.  

QEA is a part of the solution 

QEA is part of a growing Vancouver West community.  This includes the redevelopment project of Jericho lands, the redevelopment of the Squamish lands south of Burrard Street Bridge (originally served by Henry Hudson Elementary), the growing population at UBC and the continued growing residential communities rezoned to increase density.

The Parent Advisory Councils (PAC), District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) and supporting communities of QEA and EJQ are united in opposition to VSB's recommendation to close Queen Elizabeth Annex.  We, the undersigned, call on the VSB to keep Queen Elizabeth Annex open, in light of the high and increasing demands for French immersion education in our community, the special educational resources that QEA provides and the unique learning environment for our children.