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For Immediate Release
September 28, 2018

ALLOCATION OF STUDENT ASSISTANT HOURS
INSUFFICIENT TO ADDRESS NEEDS IDENTIFIED BY NLESD

St. John’s, NL… The Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association (NLTA) is concerned that information acquired through an Access to Information (ATIPPA) request clearly shows that the level of need for student assistant supports, as identified by the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD), is not being met.

In June, NLESD program specialists for student support services assessed student profile information from schools and determined that the required hours of student assistant support for the District was 4001.5 hours per day. Later that same month, the NLESD allocated 3583.5 hours per day of student assistant time to schools. This represents a shortfall of 418 hours per day less than the documented and identified needs. “There is clearly a gap between identifiable, measurable needs and the allocation of supports,” states Dean Ingram, President of the NLTA.

The NLTA raised concerns in June, immediately upon hearing of the impending cuts, and these efforts were successful in seeing approximately 100 hours per day of student assistant time reinstated to the school system. However, the evidence now available through the ATIPPA request demonstrates that the allocation was and remains insufficient to meet the identified needs in our schools.

Student assistants provide an essential support for students and teachers. According to a survey conducted by the NLTA in June 2018, 71% of principals indicated that their school was faced with a cut to student assistant allocations for 2018-19, 84% of principals feared that the cuts would negatively impact student programming, and 87% were concerned there would be an impact on student safety.

“When there are insufficient allocations of student assistant time to support and provide for the physical needs of students, that work then falls to the teacher in the classroom,” says Ingram. “When this occurs, it means that the teacher has less time for instruction or to provide academic supports to the rest of the class. In these situations, everyone loses.”

The NLTA is encouraging all parents of students who require student assistant supports to contact their school board trustee and School Council if they are concerned about this gap between identified needs and the allocation of student assistant supports.

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For further information contact:
Lesley-Ann Browne, NLTA Communications, Tel: 709-726-3223, ext. 228; 682-3751 (cellular); labrowne@nlta.nl.ca