P.E.I. student enrolment growing faster than expected

The P.E.I. Public Schools Branch is teaching more students than it thought it would be this year, and it's not just about immigration.

The final fall count for registered students is 19,690, 312 more than at this time last year.

Significantly, that's about 200 more than the school board was projecting. Public Schools Branch director Parker Grimmer said immigration has made a significant contribution to enrolment growth in recent years, but this year looks a little different.

"It would appear that we have both a number of families hopefully returning to P.E.I. from elsewhere, as well as immigration," said Grimmer.

"Our economy is robust and we do seem to have more and more families returning."

He said growth has not only been in the Charlottetown and Summerside areas but also in some rural areas, such as Tignish where enrolment was up about 10 per cent. Growth was also particularly strong in kindergarten and Grade 10, he said.

The province provided 29 new teachers and 39 educational assistants in June, and with that new staff the Public Schools Branch has been able to handle the growth, Grimmer said.

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