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Province introduces stay-in-school legislation

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WINNIPEG - The province introduced its promised legislation today to require young students to stay in school until they are 18.

Education Minister Nancy Allan said the legislation is aimed at better preparing students to succeed in life.

"This bill is about giving young people every possible opportunity to succeed," Allan said in a release. "In the modern economy, nothing is more important than keeping young people engaged in school and in their education. Parents, educators and communities all have a part to play in building a stronger education system."

The legislation would require school boards to support students with difficulties in attending school. Regulations under the act would outline the format and timing of reporting absences to parents and school attendance officers.

Plus, existing guidelines around truancy will be clarified to ensure attempts are made to engage the student at school or in an alternative activity prior to any warning or a fine being issued. A new $200 maximum fine would be created for 16- or 17-year-olds who refused to attend.

Allan said the legislation, called the "Preparing Students for Success Act," builds on the province's recently released assessment policy by prohibiting school divisions from adopting 'no fail' policies.

Amendments would also provide the minister with regulation-making powers concerning the form and content of pupil report cards and the scheduling of non-instructional days for teachers.

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