An annual report by People for Education, has identified weaknesses in access to mental health services at the province’s public schools. People for Education is an independent community organization that conducts research and makes policy recommendations about public schools in Ontario.
Surveys across the province show that 14 per cent of elementary schools and 17 per cent of secondary schools are not connected with a psychologist. Additionally, 24 per cent of elementary and 19 per cent of secondary schools rated their access to mental health services as “poor.” In addition, the student teacher ratio in special education classes between 2000/2001 and 2010/11 has increased from 22:1 to 36:1 in Ontario, and many schools have a cap for the number of students they will assess for special needs.
The report recommends that the government provide increased funding for community-integrated schools as an incentive for schools to create stronger links between students and community services. It also recommends the development of policy that supports mental and physical health promotion in schools as well as a public review of special needs education policy for the province.
See “Making Connections Beyond School Walls,” atwww.peopleforeducation.ca.