Temporary change to French Immersion kindergarten application process

Programs, Schools & Students

December 22, 2017

VSB has removed the French Immersion priority registration zones for children applying for kindergarten for this coming year in response to uneven demand across the city.

The move, approved by Vancouver Board of Education at its December meeting, is a temporary one-year measure until the district completes a review of French Immersion programs, which starts in early 2018.

“For next year, parents wanting to enrol their child into French Immersion can apply for any of our schools offering that program, no matter where they live in Vancouver,” says director of instruction Adrian Keough. “This suspension of priority registration zones is being done to address concerns brought forward by parents about the perceived inequity of the existing zones. We heard they want to be able to access any French Immersion site for their child.”

Priority registration zones for French Immersion, which are like catchment areas, were introduced in 2001 as the program grew in size and popularity. They were a response to families expressing a desire to have students attend a French Immersion school close to their home.

While VSB is seeing demand for places in French Immersion schools across the district, spaces in some schools are in more demand than others. Last year, families told the district they wanted a more even playing field because they believed priority registration for in-zone students was lowering their chances of successfully applying for some schools.

Other options were considered, such as adjusting priority registration zone boundaries or using a weighting formula, where proximity is just one factor in determining which students can attend a French Immersion school, but they could not be implemented in time for 2018 entry.

“The suspension of priority registration zones for the 2018-19 school year is a temporary measure that will allow us time to complete a comprehensive and thorough review of French Immersion across the district,” says Keough. “The French Immersion review will work in tandem with a broader district review of school catchment boundaries.”