Next Steps: Provincial and Demonstration Schools

Minister Hunter's statement on next steps

We are committed to the success and well-being of every child and student across Ontario.

Earlier this year, we consulted with students, families, staff and education and community partners, which included looking at ways to provide a range of quality programs and services that effectively meet the needs of students who attend the English-language demonstration schools, Robarts School for the Deaf and Centre Jules-Léger.

Throughout the consultations, we heard from parents and students about how vital these programs and services are for students. The consultations also gave us valuable insight and feedback about how to best meet students' needs so they can reach their full potential in school, and in life.

In response to the consultation feedback, today I am pleased to announce that we will not be closing the provincial and demonstration schools, and have no plans to close them.

I am also announcing that we will be piloting intensive reading intervention projects in school boards. These pilots will increase the availability and responsiveness of supports for students with severe learning disabilities in their local communities. We want to learn from these pilots to build further capacity across the system so that even more students can benefit from these programs. We will also be establishing a reference group to provide guidance and input on strengthening supports for students who are Deaf or hard of hearing and pursuing legislative changes to transfer the governance structure of Centre Jules-Léger to the 12 French-language school boards.

We will continue to find innovative ways to deliver better outcomes for our students and learners so they have the skills they need to succeed.

Consultation: Provincial and Demonstration Schools

Statement from Minister Hunter on consultations

The Ministry of Education is committed to the success and well-being of every child and student, giving them access to the supports they need to succeed.

Earlier this year, we consulted with students, families, staff and education and community partners, which included looking at ways to provide a range of quality programs and services that effectively meet the needs of students who attend the English-language demonstration schools, Robarts School for the Deaf and Centre Jules-Léger. Our objective was to better understand the set of knowledge and skills that would best prepare our students for their various pathways in school and in life.

The robust consultation process gave us valuable insights and feedback from students and families, staff and education and community partners about how to best meet students' needs. Input was collected through face-to-face sessions and on an online survey.

Summaries of the feedback have been compiled into two consultation summaries – one on English-language Demonstration Schools and Robarts School for the Deaf, and one on Centre Jules-Léger – which are available below.

In response to the consultation feedback, next steps were announced to strengthen supports for students who are Deaf, hard of hearing, or have severe learning disabilities. As we move forward, our focus remains on improving programs and outcomes for all students. We will continue to work with school staff, students, their families and other stakeholders to serve the needs of our students so they can reach their full potential.

Context for the consultation

In 2014, Ontario released its renewed vision for education – Achieving Excellence. This vision builds on the education system's priorities and reached deeper and broader, raising expectations for the system and the potential of our students.

We are committed to the success and well-being of every child and student, giving them access to the supports they need to succeed in school and in life.

Provincial and demonstration schools provide programs and services for students who are Deaf or hard of hearing, blind or have low vision, deafblind, or have learning disabilities. The ministry consulted with our education and community partners to explore ways to provide a range of quality programs and services that best meet their needs.

By working directly with students, families and education and community partners, the consultations explored how students currently attending selected provincial and demonstration schools can be best supported to develop the knowledge, skills and characteristics to be personally successful, productive and actively engaged citizens.

Discussion papers were developed to gather input. The public was invited to provide online input by responding to the surveys that were attached to each of the discussion papers. The deadline for written submissions was April 8, 2016.

Students, families and education and community partners were also invited to attend face-to-face meetings so their perspectives could be shared.

Consultation summaries