All students deserve support that meets their needs and nurtures their well-being. The Province continues to enhance that support by hiring more staff and specialists for classrooms and acting on recommendations from the ongoing review of inclusive education.
In this school year, the Province is funding an additional 277 inclusive education positions to better support students’ diverse learning needs. These positions include teacher assistants and school counsellors; autism and behavioural support specialists; school psychologists and speech language pathologists; and African Nova Scotian and Mi’kmaq student support workers.
“We are focused on ensuring every student has the opportunity to succeed,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Becky Druhan. “Inclusive education supports the mandate of the Students First report. This is about building a strong network around students, teachers and families so that everyone has the opportunity to thrive.”
The education system is adapting its inclusive education work plans based on the findings of the research team who are conducting a three-year review of Nova Scotia’s Inclusive Education Policy. The team has completed its Year 1 interim report.
The researchers, led by Jess Whitley and Andy Hargreaves at the University of Ottawa, have found widespread support for the policy. They have suggested better collaboration inside schools and clearer communications across the school system related to inclusive education.
Nova Scotia’s Inclusive Education Policy was created in response to a recommendation from the Commission on Inclusive Education and has been in place since September 2020.
“We are immensely appreciative of the deep engagement of families, school staff, educational leaders, community associations and unions in this evaluation. Their voices are key to successful implementation of the policy. A passion for inclusive education that can ensure the success of all students in Nova Scotia has emerged in every conversation we’ve had. We look forward to further collaboration with Nova Scotians as we continue to gather evidence to inform the successful realization of inclusive education in the Province of Nova Scotia.”
– joint statement from Jess Whitley and Andy Hargreaves, lead evaluators of the inclusive education review team
“Having specialized supports makes a big difference in our school. It’s great to have our SchoolsPlus team, social workers, guidance councillors, and other student support staff available for day-to-day consultation and as partners to help support our students’ learning and well-being. It needs to be a team effort.”
– Stephen Corkum, Principal, Millwood High School
“Addressing the needs of students with disabilities continues to remain a top priority for Inclusion Nova Scotia. We are pleased that the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has been following the recommendations of the Students First report to add new staff positions to support students with disabilities. There are additional improvements needed which we expect to be revealed as a result of the current review, and we look forward to our continued collaboration with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to ensure all students, regardless of ability, are given the opportunity to reach their full potential.”
– Patricia Neves, Executive Director, Inclusion NS
“We have come a long way in terms of adding inclusive education support professionals to the education system. Now, it is time to integrate these professionals into the classroom so that students, teachers and families can fully realize the benefits. We are collaborating with school sites to support the diverse needs of students and seamlessly implement wraparound supports.”
– Augy Jones, Executive Lead for Inclusive Education, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
— in total, the Province has funded 890 inclusive education positions since 2018