IGBF-R: Second Language Instruction

I: Instructional


Second Language Instruction 


In second language programs, the target language is offered as a subject for a specified number of minutes per week.  Second language instruction is mandated from Grades 5 to 8 under the provisions of the Provincial Language Education Policy and is an optional subject in the preceding and subsequent years. Offering a specific language program is the decision of the school and its community, following procedures established by the Board. A minimum of 80 minutes per week of instructional time is required at the elementary grades; 12.5% of instructional time at the secondary grades.  The goals of this program are to enable students to acquire skills in the language, develop positive attitudes towards the language and language learning, and to gain insight into the culture of the target language. 

An exemption to the Language Education policy (Grades 5-8) will apply only to a student who is both:

  • enrolled in an educational program specified by the Minister, for students with special needs 


  • receiving English as a second language services as defined by the 1701 form.


  • unable to demonstrate his or her learning in relation to the intended outcomes of the second   language program e.g. French 

Vancouver students capable of successfully challenging the intended learning outcomes of any language curriculum will be encouraged to do so at the Grade 11 and 12 levels as per the Ministry's Challenge and Equivalency Policy.Immersion and Bilingual Programs

In the immersion programs, the target language is taught not only as a subject but is also used as the language of instruction in other subjects. The aims of the program are to enable students to obtain the same education as in the English-language program and to acquire fluency in the target language.  Students completing French Immersion to grade 12 will receive a Bilingual Dogwood Certificate upon graduation. 

Early French Immersion: offered from Kindergarten through grade 12. French is the language of instruction in K-3. English Language Arts is introduced in grade 4 and Mathematics is usually taught in English at the intermediate level. Most other subjects are taught in French in grades 4 to 7 to ensure that 60% or more of the instruction is in French. 

In the secondary school the amount of French language instruction from grades 8 to 10 is 50%.  The amount of French is 25% in grade 11 and 12.5% in grade 12.       

Late French Immersion: begins in grade 6. All classroom instruction is in French in grade 6 and English Language Arts is reintroduced in grade 7.  

Early Mandarin Bilingual Program:  begins in Kindergarten.  From the beginning and through grade seven, 50% of instruction will be in Mandarin.  As students enter Secondary schools, the amount of instruction in Mandarin will decrease.  The goal of this program is ultimately to have students graduate with a level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Mandarin Bilingual Program: begins in grade 4.  The amount of Mandarin language instruction is up to 50% from grades 4 to 7.  In Grade 8 and 9, students have two courses in Mandarin:  Mandarin Language Arts and Communication. In grade 10 students move to Grade 11 Core Mandarin.  


Admission procedures for entry into Kindergarten and grade one choice programs are outlined in the Student Admission and School Choice Policy (JECC-R).

French Immersion 

Extended temporary absences 

  • Parents planning an absence of one year's duration or less (i.e. sabbatical) who wish their child(ren) to re-enter French Immersion are requested to observe the following procedures:
    • Prior to departure, parents must indicate in writing to the principal their intention to return on a particular anticipated date.
    • Places at a particular school may not be "saved".  However, returning students will have the equivalent of a sibling's priority for return to the program.  This gives priority placement in a particular school only if a place is available.
    • Upon return, parents must contact the school to apply.
    • Prior to being re-admitted to any French Immersion program, a student must demonstrate the requisite proficiency in French and English. This is done through an assessment at the receiving school.
    • Only in exceptional circumstances can a child, absent from French Immersion beyond one year, return to the program. 

Late French Immersion:  Students in grade 5 may apply for admission to Grade 6 Late French immersion.  Application forms must be submitted to the late French immersion school and the application form is available online.  In addition, a copy of the most recent Grade 5 report cards must be attached.

Mandarin Bilingual Program:  Any child who has little or no prior knowledge of Mandarin, and who is entering grade 4 is eligible for the Mandarin Bilingual program. This is a District program.


DMT Responsibility: AS-DLS

Adopted Date: 
Wednesday July 19, 1978
Revision Date: 
Aug 1990
Oct 1990
Sep 1994
Jun 2003
Jan 2005
Nov 2010
Jan 2016