FREDERICTON (GNB) – The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has released an implementation plan and accountability framework for a steering committee’s long-term recommendations to improve the anglophone education sector.

“The implementation plan and accountability framework provide a clear pathway on how we will achieve the long-term recommendations our government accepted in November,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Bill Hogan. “We look forward to the continued support of the New Brunswick Teachers’ Association, educators, families and other education stakeholders as we tackle head-on the root causes of some very challenging, long-standing issues.”

In collaboration with school districts, parent school support committees, educational partners, and the teachers’ association, department staff have assessed the scope of work and resources required to develop a plan and timeline for implementing each recommendation. Project teams associated with each recommendation will soon begin their work, which involves consulting with stakeholders involved in the education system.

“The actions we will be taking to implement the long-term recommendations are clear, practical and manageable,” said Hogan. “I am extremely proud of the work undertaken to date in developing this road map to guide us forward in building a better education system.”

The department has established a panel of educational leaders who will offer their guidance, research and insights during the project’s development and implementation. Biographies of the panel members – Andy Hargreaves, Imelda Perley, Michael Fullan and Beth Keyes – are available online.

As part of the accountability framework, progress on the recommendations will be shared online regularly.

Formed in April 2023, the executive steering committee is composed of people representing educators, students, district education councils and First Nations. The committee is co-chaired by the executive director of the New Brunswick Teachers’ Association and the assistant deputy minister of the anglophone sector. The committee established two working groups: one focused on improving the English prime program and one focused on improving French-language learning.

“We are grateful and honoured that these panellists have chosen to lend their expertise to our ongoing collective efforts,” said Ardith Shirley, the committee co-chair and the association’s executive director. “The New Brunswick Teachers’ Association hopes that the government will remain focused on actioning the recommendations and that necessary resources will be targeted over the long term to support the important work of the project teams. The association is looking forward to supporting the work of the project teams and hopes all New Brunswickers will join us in supporting and monitoring the progress of these important recommendations.”

From May to September 2023, these working groups engaged with education partners through virtual and in-person sessions and submitted recommendations to the committee. Feedback was also received from more than 3,000 New Brunswickers through an online survey.

Since July 2023, the government has been implementing eight actions in response to the committee’s report on near-term recommendations; Hogan said this work has had an immediate positive impact in the province’s schools. In November, the government accepted the committee’s long-term recommendations to create environments where students thrive and focus on learning; to engage communities; and to ensure the right expertise is in each classroom. The long-term recommendations were:

  • Move to address the emerging critical concern of chronic absenteeism and reinforce a culture of learning by working with school districts and stakeholders to draft a provincial action plan on school attendance.
  • Develop a new classroom composition model and a reasonable timeline to implement an improved inclusive and equitable system.
  • Leverage technology to enhance learning and personalization.
  • Place a focus on middle school learners aged 11-14 by working to identify actions and programs to improve academic engagement, achievement and well-being.
  • Establish a clear plan (benchmarks/goals) for strengthening French-language learning in New Brunswick’s anglophone kindergarten-to-Grade 12 system, including expanding course options and opportunities for high school students, and exploring options for students to enter French immersion with greater flexibility based on readiness.
  • Encourage movement and getting outside, including embedding 30 minutes of physical education for kindergarten-to-Grade 8 students daily in addition to outdoor education opportunities.
  • Have the recently announced Centre of Excellence for Language Learning develop a communication and support plan to help families and communities assist children in their success in French immersion.
  • Improve retention and recruitment of qualified teachers and specialized health-service professionals in education.
  • Support educational assistants in receiving dedicated training, professional learning and opportunities to further collaborate with teachers.
  • Ensure teachers who work with early readers have specific training designed to maximize the development and outcomes of these students.
  • Develop and implement equitable access to professional learning for educators in resources, strategies and interventions to best support each learner in English prime and French-language classrooms.
  • Create, with partners where appropriate, a detailed scope and implementation plan as well as an accountability framework for each of the recommendations no later than March 31, 2024.

“Our recent investments in the 2024-25 budget demonstrate our government’s commitment to these recommendations,” said Hogan.