For two weeks in April, the BC Parents of Special Needs Kids – Action for Equitable Access to Education group invited parents and caregivers from across the Province to share their thoughts on public education. The survey was targeted towards parents/caregivers who currently have children who experience extra support needs attending public school, as well as those parents/caregivers who had removed their child with extra support needs from public bricks and mortar school.
The survey results should only be used as a reference point to further discussion regarding current opinions of parents who have children who have extra learning support needs in public bricks and mortar education in their community. Parents/caregivers who have children who are accessing a public bricks and mortar school (or had accessed in the past) were invited to participate via the survey being posted on a number of Facebook groups for parents who have children with disabilities. The survey was also posted on twitter and shared via email.
Three additional reports were generated for the communities of Vancouver, Abbotsford and Surrey.
Some highlights from the survey:
- The majority of respondents have children who are elementary school age
- Of the respondents who indicated they had removed their child from a bricks and mortar school, more stated they had been ‘forced out’ versus choosing to leave the public bricks and mortar system.
- Children being sent home early from school due to lack of support continues to be a concern, with 20% of respondents indicating this has been a challenge for them.
- Specialized services such as Occupational Therapy and Speech Language Therapy continue to be recommended for children, but families cannot get access to these in the public bricks and mortar schools.
- Deteriorating emotional health of child (anxiety, depression) due to lack of support continues to be a significant concern for parents and caregivers
The Ministry of Education recently invited parents to complete an online satisfaction survey regarding their child’s education. The survey was generic and only allowed for comments regarding special education in this province. We would like to encourage the Ministry of Education and all School Districts across the Province to consider designing a survey specifically for parents who have children with special needs, in order to get a clearer picture of the challenges (and successes!) they are experiencing in the public education system.