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Province to boost high school class sizes as part of sweeping series of changes to education system

They're also introducing new sex ed and math curriculums, and banning cellphones from classrooms

The province announced Friday it is maintaining current class sizes in primary grades but increasing them in high school, as well as introducing a new sex-ed curriculum, as part of a sweeping series of changes to the education system.

The Progressive Conservative government announced the changes after a series of consultations with education stakeholders and the wider public.

They also announced March 15 they're introducing a new math curriculum, banning cellphones in classrooms and plan to revise teacher hiring practices.

"Our plan will modernize the classroom, will protect the future of our education system, and will ensure Ontario's students acquire the skills they need to build successful lives, families and businesses right here in Ontario," Education Minister Lisa Thompson said at a Friday press conference.

The cap for high school classes will be raised by six students, from 22 to 28. Cap sizes for kindergarten and primary grades are not being changed. In Grades 4 to 8, the average will increase by one student.

The new sex ed curriculum will teach students about consent in Grades 2 and 3, and gender identity and gender expression in Grade 8. 

It is also emphasizing that the new document will include teaching on abstinence, lessons on cannabis and earlier discussions on body image.

Last year, the PC government told school boards to use an interim sex ed document based on the 1998 curriculum while it worked on replacing the previous Liberals' contentious 2015 sex ed curriculum.

The province also announced a new math curriculum, focusing on basic concepts and skills. The first changes come into effect in the fall.

As announced earlier this week, the province will also ban cellphones in the classroom during instructional time.

-With files from Canadian Press and The Globe and Mail 


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