Union says larger class sizes would lead to 'less individualized attention' for students

The president of the Sudbury local of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario says she’s hoping the province doesn’t lift the cap on class sizes.

Ford government launches consultations with education partners on class sizes

The Progressive Conservatives are starting a review of the education system that will look at classroom sizes. (Radio-Canada)

The president of the Sudbury local of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario says she's hoping the province doesn't lift the cap on class sizes.

On Wednesday, education minister Lisa Thompson announced she is launching consultations with education partners about class sizes and teacher hiring practices.

A government consultation document puts forward several questions about whether cap sizes on classes should continue, and if they were to be removed, what would be an appropriate way to set effective class sizes.

"I think that would be a big mistake," Barb Blasutti, president of the Sudbury local said.

Currently, kindergarten classes are capped at 29 students, while grades one through three have 23 students per class.

Blasutti says small class sizes make a positive difference.

"Nowadays we are seeing so many more students with special needs and so many students with mental health issues and they require a great deal of additional individual attention by the teacher and support staff," she said.

"It's just common sense that the more bodies you have in a classroom the less individualized attention students can get."

Blasutti says if the government lifts the cap on primary classes in Ontario, then additional staff would be needed to help with the extra students.

Barb Blasutti is the president of Rainbow Teacher Local with the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO), representing 650 public elementary school teachers in Sudbury, Espanola and Manitoulin. (Barb Blasutti/Supplied)

"It is much easier to manage a class of 20 and to focus on the individual needs, be they academic, be they social, emotional, be they behavioural, that kind of thing," she said.

"So yes, a smaller class size was always welcome news for elementary teachers."

The education minister says no final decisions have been made. Lisa Thompson posted on Twitter that she looks forward to the education sector sharing their perspectives to ensure tax dollars have the greatest impact in the classroom.

With files from Angela Gemmill