New Education Act comes into effect ahead of beginning of school year
The new Education Act and regulations are now in effect, says Education, Early Learning and Culture Minister Doug Currie.
“Government has made significant changes in our public school system in order to empower all partners to collaborate to provide a better education for Island students,” said Minister Currie. “The new Education Act is a modern piece of legislation designed to support these changes, and provide a framework for improving student learning by setting out roles and responsibilities for students, parents, community members, educators and government.”
The new Education Act spells out the role of a student, which includes their responsibility to treat peers with respect and report bullying, whether or not it occurs within the school building, during the school day or by electronic means.
Parents and community members
The new Act empowers parents and guardians to take an active role in their child’s education success, ensure attendance, and to engage in the school community. The Act also entrenches the roles and mandate of the District Advisory Councils in providing advice to the minister on education policy.
The Education Act provides a modern and transparent licensing process for teachers. Principals will be required to work with school staff towards the implementation and achievement of school achievement goals, with the support of the Department.
The Public Schools Branch (PSB) of the Department has begun operations. This branch will be responsible for day to day operations of English public schools, including staffing, supervision of principals and school staff, maintenance, and bussing. The Public Schools Branch will be one of two education authorities in the province – along with the Commission scolaire de langue française (CSLF). There is no change to the Department’s relationship with the CSLF.
“As a next step, the Department will be working with school principals to develop and implement school improvement plans that are focused on improving student achievement and wellness,” added Minister Currie. “These school plans will include significant and measurable goals for improving reading, writing and math, so that all partners are focused on moving the markers on student achievement in this province.”
About the restructured Department of Education, Early Learning and Culture
The divisions responsible for K-12 education within the Department have been restructured to better support students in schools, and to pursue focused work on innovation, school health and the incorporation of 21st century skills into the curriculum. There is a new Leadership and Learning division that is responsible for leading the improvement of student achievement, along with supporting instructional leadership for principals and vice principals.
About the new Public Schools Branch
The Director of the Public Schools Branch will work closely with the Deputy Minister and senior leadership at the Department, so that supports for educators and students at the department are aligned with day-to-day school activities and learning.
The PSB is mandated to ensure students experience a quality education within a safe and secure student-centered learning environment. The PSB leads the administration of all English public schools, handles school finances, supervises principals and school staff, and manages staffing and labour relations.
Education Act regulations
Most of the new regulations are housekeeping in nature, updating the content of regulations found in the old School Act.
Five things to know about the new Education Act
1. The new Act spells out the roles and responsibilities of students, including their responsibility to treat their peers with respect.
2. One student responsibility that is outlined in legislation is that they are to report bullying, whether or not it occurs within the school building, during the school day or by electronic means.
3. District Advisory Councils and the Principals’ Council are recognized in the new legislation and these councils are mandated to provide advice to the minister on education priorities.
4. The new Act requires schools to set focused goals to improve student success, share those goals with their school communities, and principals will be working with the department to achieve these goals.
5. The Act creates a new education authority – the Public Schools Branch – which is responsible for the operations and staffing of the 56 English public schools in the province.