Thames Valley District School Board restricts French immersion entry to Grade 1

The Thames Valley District School Board says it is limiting entry to its French immersion program to Grade 1 only. Matthew Trevithick / Global News

The Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) has announced a change to its French immersion programming that will only allow students to enter the program at Grade 1.

The change was announced in a news release on Monday and will see the TVDSB do away with former entry points in Grade 7 and senior kindergarten.

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“These changes were required to address a nationwide shortage of qualified French-language teachers and avoid limiting admission,” a release from TVDSB said.

“We heard from our communities that limiting enrolment was not a favourable strategy to managing the French-language staffing shortage.”

The change marks the conclusion of the first phase of an ongoing review into the school board’s French immersion program.

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TVDSB said it will consider Phase 1 feedback from school communities during the second phase of its review, which may look into dual-tracking schools, meaning that a particular school could teach French immersion students while also providing instruction for non-French immersion students.

The second phase of the review may also explore including English kindergarten programming in French immersion schools, TVDSB said.

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