14 JUNE 2012


AIMS Author recommends NB introduce alternative special education schools

Halifax: One in ten Canadians reportedly suffers from a learning disability. 2,100 – 4,200 New Brunswick public school students are struggling with serious learning challenges. In AIMS’ latest research paper, Dr. Paul W. Bennett calls for a review of New Brunswick’s public education system, with the goal of creating a truly inclusive environment for learning disabled students.

“Many findings in New Brunswick’s 2012 report Strengthening Inclusion, Strengthening Schools raise serious questions about whether the existing ‘full inclusion’ model can ever serve the diverse and complex needs of today’s students.” says Bennett. “There is a place for specialized learning programs where provincial education authorities build a bigger tent.” 

In his latest paper, Building a Bigger Tent: Serving all special needs students better in New Brunswick’s inclusive education system, Bennett references the Nova Scotia Tuition Support Program (TSP) as a model for New Brunswick to follow, providing per-student grants for learning disabled students to attend specialized schools that meet their unique needs.

“Bennett highlights that the Nova Scotia Tuition Support Program has proven effective as a funding model,” says AIMS President and CEO Charles Cirtwill. “It supports families from all walks of life. Students with complex needs in New Brunswick would be better served by introducing new forms of schooling, utilizing evidence-based programs like this.” 

“It’s time for New Brunswick to join other provinces, US states and many other countries in rethinking Special Education for the 21st century,” says Bennett.

Bennett recommends a provincial review of New Brunswick’s current model of special education delivery, and ultimately the development of a new continuum of service, including self-contained classes and special education alternative schools.

A truly inclusive education system meets the unique needs of every student. New Brunswick’s Department of Education and Early Child Development should begin exploring the changes that will make specialized education programs a reality for the students who need it most.  

Building a Bigger Tent can be found online at:



For more information, please contact:

Paul W. Bennett
Contributing Author
Atlantic Institute for Market Studies
[email protected]

Charles Cirtwill
President and CEO
Atlantic Institute for Market Studies
[email protected]
ext. 225