Colwood gets new private school

Colwood is getting a new private school. Brookes Westshore will welcome 300 students from Grades 6 through 12 when it opens in September 2018.

It will be a sister school to the existing Brookes campus in Shawnigan Lake, and is part of the International Baccalaureate network.

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“As a parent on the West Shore, I’ve seen the growth here, but the infrastructure and, particularly, school options have not kept pace,” said Graham Brown, chairman and co-founder of Brookes Education Group.

In addition to the Shawnigan Lake campus, Brookes has campuses in Cambridge, U.K.; Seoul, South Korea, and Silicon Valley, California.

Brown said exchanges between campuses will be one of the goals of the Brookes Education Group, which he co-founded with director Jerry Salvador, who has 28 years of experience working at Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific in Metchosin.

“Our values are connectivity, creativity and character,” he said.

Brookes Westshore will open as an International Baccalaureate World School, offering the middle-years program for Grades 6 to 10 and the diploma program for Grades 11 and 12. It will offer both full boarding and day-student programs. Tuition fees at the Shawnigan campus vary, including $38,900 for full-year boarding for B.C. students and up to $11,496 a year for day students.

Brown said the program takes a holistic approach to education, with an emphasis on critical thinking and interdisciplinary learning. Class sizes will average 18 students, he said.

The campus will be built on a site next to the Royal Roads University entrance on Sooke Road by general contractor Kinetic Construction. Construction represents about 1,400 man-weeks of work, and about 100 people will be employed at the school.

Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton said the school will bring more educational choice to the West Shore, which is positive.

The Sooke School District has plans for as many as four new schools in the West Shore, which is where the bulk of growth is occurring in the region. Langford is expected to grow to 42,100 people by 2026 from 29,288 in 2011. Most schools in the district are at or near capacity and year-old Royal Bay Secondary has had to add portable classrooms.

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