A new report calls on New Brunswick to adapt a Nova Scotian program that helps students with learning disabilities or certain behavioural disorders attend school at designated private facilities.

Paul Bennett, director of Schoolhouse Consulting, published a new study on Wednesday with the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS).

The study, “Extending the Education Lifeline: The benefits of adopting Nova Scotia’s Tuition Support  Program (TSP),” suggests New Brunswick should adapt this program, which helps families whose children attend specialized learning school when they can’t be served at their local public school.

Bennett makes several recommendations at the end of his report that are directed at all Atlantic Canadian  provinces, but his major target is New Brunswick, a jurisdiction that doesn’t have a program like this in place.

In another recommendation, Bennett uses a Moncton school as an example of a specialized learning disabilities school that would benefit from the program.

He says extending tuition support “would certainly help broaden accessibility in New Brunswick, a province where an estimated 1,000 children suffer from these challenges.”

“It is now recognized (as) an essential component of the full continuum of provincial special education support services,” he says.

The program costs the government $2.5 million a year, broadening accessibility by covering most of the tuition costs for some 225 students to attend three approved designated special education private schools in Nova Scotia.

School districts should develop’ closer partnerships with special education advocacy groups and other schools, he recommends, “to ensure that students with (learning disabilities) do not slip through the cracks in the system.”

AIMS president and CEO Marco Navarro-Genie says, “It would serve New Brunswick well to look closely at this study and learn from the positive experience in Nova Scotia.”

The Times & Transcript requested comment from Department of Education and Early Childhood Development as to whether government has ever thought of implementing this program, or a similar one, providing them with an embargoed copy of the recommendations. Read the full article in Times & Transcript