Ottawa area students head back to school facing larger classes and labour uncertainty

Mike Hamilton taught a Grade 10 civics and careers course last year to a class of 33 students at St. Francis Xavier Catholic High School in Hammond.

Another class at the rural school east of Ottawa contained just eight students studying Grade 12 physics.

St. Francis Xavier might be small — “cornfields and cows were our neighbours!” says Hamilton — but he says both courses were necessary to the students in the Clarence-Rockland community.

The civics and careers course was compulsory. Physics is a prerequisite for students planning to attend some university programs, including engineering.

The example shows how the average class size of 22 students in Ontario high schools worked in practice, with some courses well over and others well under.

Hamilton says it also illustrates why he’s concerned about the province’s plan to increase high school classes from an average of 22 to 28 students.

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