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London Catholic school board putting end to JK French immersion

By Jane Sims, The London Free Press

London District Catholic school board. (DEREK RUTTAN, The London Free Press)

London District Catholic school board. (DEREK RUTTAN, The London Free Press)

No new junior kindergarten registrations will be offered at the four local French-immersion Catholic schools beginning in September.

That's the fallout from a board vote Monday, even after one trustee added language in hopes of saving the program at the London District Catholic school board’s four French-immersion schools.

Monday, the elimination of the program was on the agenda, primarily because of a lack of available French-immersion teachers.

Trustee Mary Holmes, from Oxford County, argued that losing the children at the JK level would result in fewer families choosing the Catholic schools for their elementary education and opt for the public French system instead.

Holmes asked that the clause “when and where necessary” be added to the motion, which passed. That caused some confusion -- which LDCSB officials sought to clarify in a statement Wednesday morning.

There are four French immersion schools in the board – St. John's and St. Anthony's in London, St. Anne's in St. Thomas and Holy Family in Woodstock.

The board said three of the four schools are operating above capacity. The two London schools started capping registration in the summer of 2017.

In the statement, Vince Romeo, the LDCSB superintendent of education, said the decision “aligns the start of our French Immersion program with most of the other school boards in the province.”

The board is hoping families will register their children in an English Catholic school for JK and then move to one of the four French schools.

jsims@postmedia.com

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