The Langley School District is seeing record-breaking enrolment for the second year in a row, with about 1,100 new students arriving in September.
The new numbers put the district’s total enrolment at 23,228 students for the 2022/23 school year.
At this time last year, the district counted 21,900 students, with early enrolment numbers rising by 917 students, with more students trickling in throughout the course of the year. The district had conservatively estimated an increase of 237 students for that school year.
The growth in student numbers is happening in most neighbourhoods of the district, but the sharpest increases are in the Willoughby neighbourhood in Langley Township, and in Langley City. Both areas have been booming with new housing construction in recent years.
Adding about 2,100 students in two years has meant the school district is working to expand, said district spokesperson Joanne Abshire.
“The district is continuing to work with the Ministry [of Education] on capital projects such as new schools to help accommodate and meet the demands of our growing student population,” Abshire said.
She also noted that the district has hired, and is continuing to hire, new teachers and support staff to keep up with the needs of students across Langley.
In the early 2000s, Langley saw enrolment drop at many of the older rural schools, as well as in some neighbourhoods. Schools like South Carvolth and Aldergrove Elementary were shut down entirely, and H.D. Stafford Secondary was reconfigured as a middle school.
But around the time those schools were closing, development in Willoughby was ramping up, and that has led to rapid growth and high enrolment ever since.
Although development has meant concentrated growth in a few areas, almost every school saw rising enrolment last year.
Earlier this year, in April, Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside visited Langley to announce a new high school and middle school were to be built in Willoughby.
A new version of R.E. Mountain in Willoughby opened in 2019, with the old, 1970s-era building revamped to become Peter Ewart Middle School.
In September 2021, Donna Gabriel Robins Elementary opened its doors in Willoughby.
Newly-elected Contract with Langley councillors and school trustees – who will make up three of the seven-member board of trustees when they are sworn in in November – have also promised to move and replace Willoughby Elementary with a new school.
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