One in ten Canadians reportedly suffers from some kind of learning disability, and between 2% and 4% of Nova Scotia’s public school students – numbering 2,500 to 5,000 – are struggling at school with serious learning challenges. In this paper, Paul W. Bennett of Schoolhouse Consulting writes that rescuing and properly educating learning disabled kids has proven a challenge in the province’s regular Primary to Grade 12 schools. Demand for such schooling grew to the point where the Nova Scotia Department of Education looked at implementing a provincial tuition support program serving students with more acute learning difficulties.

The Tuition Support Program (TSP), initiated in September 2004, provides an option for students with special needs who cannot be served at their local public school. It was intended to be short-term and assumes students can eventually be transitioned back into the regular system. The TSP provides funding to cover most of the tuition costs to attend designated special education private schools and any public alternative education centres.

This AIMS research report explores the origins of Nova Scotia’s TSP, assesses its current status, and examines the potential for expanding in Nova Scotia outside the Greater Halifax-Truro region. It reviews the successes and challenges facing the TSP and discusses the increasing demand for such services throughout the province.

In A Provincial Lifeline, Bennett recommends a robust provincial policy initiative to close the service gap by expanding the program and extending an educational lifeline to hundreds of students currently marginalized in the public school system.


Click here to read the full paper.