At this time, Surrey Schools' summer programs are on. The online registration system remains open for district students. District office staffing is limited for walk-in registrations during the strike.
June 12 letter from superintendent to parents and guardians
(A PDF version of this letter is available here)
Yesterday evening, we learned that the BCTF has served strike notice which includes a full walkout at all schools in the province beginning Monday. For parents and students, today is the last day that schools will be in session unless an agreement is reached between the BCTF and BCPSEA. This update is to give you the best information we have in the current context.
Monday is a “Study Session” - what is that?
Teachers are on strike and will not be on school sites. There will be no pickets and this is part of teachers’ phase 2 job action of rotating strikes. In essence, they are striking all schools in the province on the same day as the scheduled rotation for next week. The main difference between the typical rotating strikes and a study session is that there will be no pickets. Schools will still be closed as we have no teachers to provide instruction.
We have always said that report cards will likely come home and will be in truncated form. This was in the context of a limited lockout with rotational strikes. Without a settlement and today being in effect the last day of school, report cards look highly unlikely.
In elementary schools – we cannot complete report cards without our teachers. We will need to consider as a district what information has already been provided to parents or what form we may consider an end of year report, but the information needed to create report cards is in the hands of teachers and they will no longer be at work.
For secondary students – the Labour Relations Board has found that the submission of marks required for grade 12 students is an “essential service” meaning that teachers will do this work. However, we have no such ruling for other secondary grades and we expect there is more to come on this topic. We do have a significant amount of data but we have yet to consider what we can produce in light of a full scale strike.
The Labour Relations Board has determined that it is essential for teachers to carry out grade 10, 11, and 12 exams. This means that as stated previously, students will write exams as scheduled. The details of marking are still being determined but we believe that we will be able to mark the exams.
We know that the government has written to the BCTF stating that the lockout that was imposed will not carry into the summer. We have not heard anything from the BCTF on the status of the strike and whether it will continue into summer. With this information, all we can do, at this time, is hope for a resolution and that our summer programs can continue as normal. The district will not be cancelling summer school. If the strike continues into the summer, then the BCTF will have to determine whether pickets will continue and if summer school will run. If there are picket lines at summer school locations, those locations would likely be closed.
What if there is a settlement?
If there is a negotiated settlement and any way to provide instruction to students, we will be having students return to classes. With each day and with the provincial exam schedule beginning on June 18th, it is looking unlikely that there will be any more secondary instruction, but for elementary schools which have traditionally gone until late June, it is still possible to have some instruction if a deal were imminent.
Is a settlement likely?
The BCTF and BCPSEA are certainly at a critical place in bargaining. We cannot speculate how close or far apart the parties are in their talks. I do know that anything is possible and encourage parents to stay tuned to the media and our website.
End of year activities and celebrations
Without teachers, the activities that normally make up a school year and its culmination will not happen. This is unfortunate but we are in the middle of a labour dispute and what is now a full scale legal strike. Schools will be closed.
As stated before, the situation is indeed unfortunate. Many of our teachers, administrators, district staff and support staff are, of course, parents with children in Surrey Schools. I have a young child in primary school and as a parent I am also feeling the same angst as many. We are all impacted by the situation and decisions. Once again, I believe we all hope for a speedy resolution at the bargaining table.
Jordan TinneySuperintendent of Schools/CEO
Today may be last day of school in Surrey
Unless an agreement is reached between the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the government represented by the British Columbia Public Sector Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) before the end of June, today will be the last day of school for students this school year.
The BCTF, which had already announced a rotating strike in Surrey for June 13, has now given notice to the province that all teachers will be on strike beginning Monday, June 16. Monday is termed a “Study Session” where there will be no pickets at school but schools will not be in session as there will be no teachers on site. Tuesday begins a full province-wide strike with pickets at all schools as parents have seen on the rotating strike schedule.
Surrey Schools will post further updates here as information is updated and confirmed. Please keep checking www.surreyschools.ca for more details.
June 9 letter from superintendent to parents and guardians
(A Punjabi version of the letter is available here)
(A PDF version of the letter in English is available here)
I wanted to bring you an update on our current labour situation between the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the government represented by the British Columbia Public Sector Employers’ Association (BCPSEA). It has been an eventful week and there are things that you should know or anticipate.
I must start with good news and that is to say how much we and our Board of Education appreciate all the work of volunteers who helped with various events within the district, including graduation and commencement ceremonies and track and field events, these past two weeks. At the track and field events, these volunteers included secondary students, parents, administrators, retired administrators and, of course, numerous teachers. Despite the current labour context, teachers also played a huge role in these events moving forward. Students enjoyed the sun, competed in their events and fun was had by all. Again, a big thank you to everyone that made these events happen – our students were the winners.
Rotating Strikes Continue
I want to remind parents that there is still no resolution in the labour dispute and rotating strikes are set to continue this week. Friday, June 13th is the next scheduled day when all Surrey schools will be closed with teachers on the picket line.
Full Strike Vote
On June 9th and 10th, teachers will vote on whether to provide the BCTF the mandate to move to phase three of their job action which includes a full walkout province-wide. This is a major change and parents will want to listen to media and watch our website for updates. If the vote results provide the BCTF with a mandate to increase their strike activity beyond the current one day per week rotations, the BCTF must provide BCPSEA with not less than 3 days’ working notice before additional strike days (with teachers fully off the job) can occur.
In the last update I stated that more information would be coming on report cards. We have developed plans in our district for a reduced report card to be provided at year end. The report card will not look like those in a normal school year and they will likely be distributed in a different manner (e.g. mail). We have shared our plan with the Surrey Teachers’ Association and our schools and are making final adjustments based on their feedback.
Students and teachers have prepared hard for the writing of provincial exams. The issue of writing the exams is completely separate from the issue of marking the exams. At this time, the district continues to plan for students to write provincial exams as scheduled. Even if our schools are behind picket lines, we are able to provide space (and supervision) for students to write required exams. At this time, the Surrey Teachers’ Association has advised that they do not intend to interfere with students writing exams regardless of their strike activity.
Different provincial exams are marked in different ways. Some marking, such as multiple choice, is done electronically and some marking is normally done collaboratively by teams of teachers both in school in June and over the summer at locations away from schools. There is still much to consider and discuss on how exams get marked and clearly the current labour dispute will have an impact on how exams are marked.
Most importantly, we will be ready for students to write exams according to the published provincial exam schedule.
End of year activities
As communicated previously, it is fair to say that that the current labour dispute may impact many of the normal year-end activities. There may be schedule changes, there may be cancellations or in some cases events may proceed as normal. Decisions to cancel events will be made on a case-by-case basis reflective of our ability to ensure student safety.
We do not believe it is the intent of BCPSEA for the lockout of teachers to extend into the summer break. Again there is much to come before the end of June but, at this time, we anticipate that summer learning will proceed as normal. If anything changes on this matter, we will update parents through our website and, if possible, by letter/email.
In closing, we appreciate that the situation is challenging. When we talk to teachers on the picket line, to administrators in schools, to our support staff and to trustees and government, everyone I know hopes for a quick resolution at the bargaining table. Please continue to monitor our website for the most current information we have.
June 5, 2014
Picket lines return to Surrey schools on June 13
The B.C. Teachers’ Federation has announced a schedule for a third week of rotating strike action across British Columbia. The federation says all teachers will be off the job and picketing school sites in the Surrey school district on Friday, June 13. This is the only day of action it has announced in Surrey for next week.
As a result, on June 13 all classes at schools throughout Surrey school district will be cancelled. Parents are asked to find alternative care arrangements for their children during the strike because schools will not be able to receive and supervise children. School bus transportation will also be suspended on that day.
Schools remain open and operating for the rest of the week.
Surrey Schools will post further updates here when they become available. Please check the district website at www.surreyschools.ca regularly.
June 2, 2014
June 2 letter from superintendent to parents and guardians
(A Punjabi version is available here)
(A PDF version of the letter in English is available here)
Last week I sent home a letter intended to update parents and our community about the current labour dispute which is impacting our schools and your children. I want to provide a reminder that June 3rd is the second full day of strikes in our schools and all Surrey schools are closed.
Please continue to monitor our website at www.surreyschools.ca for the most recent information. If the rotating strikes continue and we expect they will, we will have the schedule posted as soon as we are notified.
We regret the disruption to your child’s education. I have talked to numerous parents, teachers and administrators and everyone is hoping for a quick and amicable resolution at the bargaining table.
May 30, 2014
Picket lines at Surrey schools on June 3
The B.C. Teachers’ Federation has announced that it plans a second week of rotating strike action across British Columbia. The federation says all teachers will be off the job and picketing school sites in the Surrey school district on Tuesday, June 3, 2014. This is the only day of action it has announced in Surrey for that school week.
As a result, all classes at schools throughout Surrey school district will be cancelled on June 3. Parents are asked to find alternative care arrangements for their children during the June 3 strike because schools will not be able to receive and supervise children. School bus transportation will also be suspended on that day.
Details regarding extra-curricular activities and field trips can be found below in the superintendent’s letter to parents and guardians.
May 28, 2014
Teachers' union announces a second week of strike action
The BC Teachers' Federation has today (May 28) announced a second week of rotating strikes and scheduled its action in Surrey for June 3.
Surrey Schools will assess the potential impact of this announcement and post updates here when they become available. Please check the district website at www.surreyschools.ca regularly.
May 26, 2014
Superintendent's letter to parents and guardians regarding strike action and extra-curricular activity
(A Punjabi version is available here)
(A PDF version of the letter in English is available here)
As you know and as previously announced, on May 29th Surrey teachers will be on full strike and all our schools and sites will be behind picket lines. All Surrey schools will be closed. There is also additional information that is important for parents to have to understand the impact on students.
We now know that starting Monday, May 26th, teachers will be on partial lock out and their hours of work are restricted. This will impact some student activities. In addition to the partial lockout, teachers’ wages will be reduced by 10% and BCPSEA has informed teachers that they will be locked out for the full day at secondary schools on June 25th and 26th and then for all schools in the district on June 27th.
One of the immediate impacts of these events and restrictions on the work day is that some teachers are withdrawing from extra-curricular activities given that most activities are impacted by the restrictions on hours. We have been working hard to determine which events and activities may continue and which need to be cancelled.
With the restrictions on teachers’ hours of work, teachers will not be providing support and assistance to students at recess or lunch. BCPSEA has informed teachers that they are not to work during these times.
Graduation ceremonies and commencements will proceed. We have made adjustments to plans and, at this time, these events will occur per their original schedule and venue. Likely these events will not include teachers as planners or participants.
The track and field season is well underway and we have made adjustments so that these events can occur with teachers volunteering during the regular day and respecting the restrictions on hours. Teachers are largely the organizers and facilitators of these events as volunteers in addition to their normal classroom duties and this will continue.
It is our hope and at this time we believe that provincial exam schedules will not be impacted. Exams normally occur during instructional time and we expect that students will attend and write exams.
We have work to do on the timing and processes for report cards at the year end and have a team considering our options. Teachers will continue to teach and mark but clearly with the partial lockout, the routine completion of report cards may present challenges that we will have to address. Look for more information to come on this topic.
Field trips that are already planned and organized may continue if adequate supervision for student safety is in place. There are, however, many field trips which will need to be cancelled since without teacher participation, appropriate supervision of students cannot be ensured. Where there is a cancellation, you will be notified by your school principal.
Communications with our parents is important, particularly under the current circumstances. Our website at www.surreyschools.ca remains the best place for up to date information concerning the impacts of the current teacher job action. As always, your school principal is a great source of information for any need specific to your circumstance.
We regret the impacts associated with the current labour dispute and appreciate your patience as we continue to navigate through June. Once again, we all hope for a speedy resolution at the bargaining table.
May 20, 2014
Surrey Schools Behind Picket Lines on May 29
The B.C. Teachers’ Federation has given notice today (May 20) that teachers will begin phase two of their strike action across the province beginning next week. Phase two includes picket lines at selected districts across BC on different days.
According to the BCTF, all teachers will be off the job and picketing school sites in the Surrey school district on Thursday, May 29, 2014. This is the only date announced by the BCTF for strike action in the Surrey school district next week.
Therefore, during the teacher strike action through-out the district on Thursday, May 29, all classes in the Surrey school district will be cancelled and there will be no classroom instruction. Parents are asked to find alternative care arrangements for their children during the strike on May 29 as schools will not be able to receive and supervise children. School bus transportation will also be suspended at this time.
The district is seeking clarification from the union regarding potential impacts of strike action on school graduation ceremonies and extra-curricular activities scheduled in the coming weeks and will post updates here when they become available.
Information will also be posted in the next few days regarding the status of the following services and programs on Thursday, May 29:
• Surrey College classes• Child care centres operated on school sites• StrongStart early learning programs• Before and after-school care services (i.e. JumpStart Academy, RBC program)• Adult and continuing education centres• Community group facility rentals
As always, the Surrey school district is committed to timely communications with parents, students and other stakeholders. Please check the district website at www.surreyschools.ca regularly.
For information about the impact of phase one of the job action, please see this article from April 17.