Class Sizes, Teacher Shortage Worry Parents in British Columbia

Three-in-ten parents describe their own child’s class size as “too big”, while 60% say it is “about right.”

Vancouver, BC [June 5, 2019] – While a sizeable majority of parents in British Columbia are content with the education their children are receiving in school, certain concerns about the system persist, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of parents who have a child enrolled in K-12, 83% of respondents say the experience of their child with the education system has been “very positive” or “moderately positive.”

A majority of parents say they are “very satisfied” or “moderately satisfied” with the quality of instruction their child is getting in English (73%), Science (72%), Social Studies (also 72%), Math (68%), and French (60%). 

In addition, half of parents (50%) are satisfied with what their child is learning in other languages, but 21% are either undecided or say this particular subject is not applicable to their child.

One-in-five parents (21%) identify “large class sizes” as the biggest problem facing the education system right now, while 16% mention a “shortage of teachers” and 15% say it is “lack of safety in schools and bullying”. 

Other issues detected by parents as pressing concerns are an “outdated curriculum” (12%), “inadequate resources and facilities for children” (11%), “labour disputes between teachers and the government” (also 11%) and “bureaucracy and poor management” (9%).

“The education system faces different challenges across British Columbia,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Large class sizes are an enormous anxiety in Northern BC, while residents of Southern BC are more likely to point to bureaucracy and mismanagement.”

Across the province, three-in-ten parents (31%) say their child’s class sizes are or have been “too big” while 60% describe them as “about right.”

Parents in Northern BC are more likely to say that class sizes are or have been “too big” (43%), followed by those who reside in Southern BC (35%), Vancouver Island (33%), the Fraser Valley (30%) and Metro Vancouver (28%).


Results are based on an online study conducted from May 20 to May 28, 2019, among 700 parents in British Columbia who have a child enrolled in Kindergarten, Elementary School (Grades 1 to 7) or High School (Grades 8 to 12). The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.7 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.